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Thread: Phone unlocking is now illegal

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    Phone unlocking is now illegal

    As of Saturday, your options for owning an unlocked phone become far more limited. You can ask your carrier to unlock it—and good luck with that—or you can pay a premium to manufacturers like Apple or Google for a new unlocked phone. You just can’t unlock your phone yourself—at least, not legally.That decision was made not by voters, the courts, or even Congress. It was made by one man, 83-year-old Congressional Librarian James Hadley Billington, who is responsible for interpreting the meaning of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Billington decided last October that unlocking your phone yourself is a violation of the Act, which was originally written to prevent digital piracy.
    Phone unlocking ban could could hit you in the wallet | PCWorld

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    I would say "good luck prosecuting that" but some jackass out there will do it.
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    You don't actually own your phone. According to manufacturers and carriers that intentionally try to prevent root access to them. Would you buy a computer and be told you're not allowed to have administrator privileges to it? You're allowed to install software and use it but you aren't allowed to modify any settings. Nobody would stand for that with computers but we do with phones. You need to be a hacker to get that access by root or jailbreaking your phone. Thankfully this latest bit of stupidity from the federal government doesn't make it illegal to unlock the bootloader or root your phone, it only makes it illegal to switch carriers. This is the equivalent of buying a car and being told it's illegal to use any gas station except Exxon.
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    Hi, we are from the goverment and are here to help.
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    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xiphos View Post
    You don't actually own your phone. According to manufacturers and carriers that intentionally try to prevent root access to them. Would you buy a computer and be told you're not allowed to have administrator privileges to it? You're allowed to install software and use it but you aren't allowed to modify any settings. Nobody would stand for that with computers but we do with phones. You need to be a hacker to get that access by root or jailbreaking your phone. Thankfully this latest bit of stupidity from the federal government doesn't make it illegal to unlock the bootloader or root your phone, it only makes it illegal to switch carriers. This is the equivalent of buying a car and being told it's illegal to use any gas station except Exxon.
    There's actually a lawsuit along those lines going on. I can't dig up the details at the moment, but I heard about it on the radio around Christmas, I guess. Something about whether you actually own your phone and can sell it or not...
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    What was unexpected was the Library of Congress stepping up in the first place. I enjoyed their intervention to allow first sale owners of DVDs to make backups for personal backup use - a provision anyone with a kid and an easily scratched Disney DVD would use, and millions of practical parents do daily - except you still weren't allowed to crack the encryption under the DMCA. So that never happens. (nudge nudge) In this you could, sorta, with some phones, during a limited time. Once again, thanks for the thought.

    Back in reality land, nothing changes. Ok sure, a few hundred thousand people will be felons for doing things to their own devices against their carrier's ToS.... small detail. Hardly worth mentioning.

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    Xiphos's Avatar
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    If you leave your carrier before the end of your contract you pay an early termination fee. Nobody is going to confiscate your phone. So what if you use it on a different network? If the early termination fee doesn't cover the subsidy the carrier can work that into the contract. Instead the federal government wants to make you a felon.
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  8. #8
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    Sometime back Microsoft zapped a bunch of XBox's that people had been modifying. Microsoft could tell once they logged into the XBox live service if the machine had been tampered with.

    I could see the phone companies doing something like that, maybe not legal action.

    The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft cracks down on Xbox modifications

 

 

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