Cellphone Unlocking to Become Legal Again

by | Mar 7, 2013 | Hardware

PadlockAt the end of January it became illegal to unlock your smartphone for use on a different provider network. The expiration of exemption to part of the Digital Media Copyright Act (DMCA) by the Librarian of Congress meant people who purchased a smartphone could not circumvent the software locks on a phone to take the device with them if they decided to change providers. The ire of the internet was stirred and a petition on the White House’s website was initiated. After receiving over 100,000 signatures in less than a month, it elicited a response from the White House stating their agreement on this interpretation of the anti-circumvention clauses in the DMCA. So, hopefully soon we will see this overturned.

UPDATE: The Library of Congress issued a clarifying statement in response to the White House response. They had put in a 3 year exemption in the DMCA for cell phone unlocking, but decided to remove it as it would, effectively, change the legislator’s intent; it is the Library of Congress’s job to execute laws, not necessarily to alter them as they see fit. Ultimately, their removal of the bandage is allowing law makers to fix the problem.