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  1. xFalk's Avatar
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       #1  
    Smartphone unlocking illegal as of January 26th | BGR

    The Librarian of Congress determined in October of last year that certain actions involving mobile phones were illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The rules were revised to state that while it is legal to jailbreak smartphones, it is illegal to jailbreak tablets and illegal to unlock phones without permission from your wireless provider. A 90-day window was put in place that allowed consumers to purchase a phone and unlock it, however that window closes on January 26th, TechNewsDaily noted. Most carriers lock their phones to prevent them from running on competitors networks. Starting next week, U.S. consumers will no longer legally be allowed to unlock their carrier-locked devices without permission, though some smartphones such as Verizons iPhone 5 and the Nexus 4 are unlocked to begin with.
  2. tim3804's Avatar
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    #2  
    Can you unlock a Verizon Nokia 822
  3. HeyCori's Avatar
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    #3  
    Como?
  4. erzhik's Avatar
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    #4  
    How the **** will carriers know if you are running an unlocked phone? As far as I know, there is no way of telling unless you physically have the phone in your hand.
  5. palandri's Avatar
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    #5  
    Just buy an unlocked phone.
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  6. Alex Kj's Avatar
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    #6  
    Soo... I guess this also means any businesses who do phone unlocking will also become illegal or will be restricted in some way (their websites will be blocked, eBay will remove all of their listings, etc.)?
  7. erzhik's Avatar
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    #7  
    So apparently this law applies ONLY to phones that are purchased after January 26th. If you bought your phone before this date, this law doesn't apply to your phone. Still, ******ed law that will never be enforced.

    And why is this not front page? Everyone should know this.
  8. ohgood's Avatar
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    #8  
    Pffft. Another stupid lobby based law. Ill disreguard this one just like the others. Arrest me.
    ttsoldier and snowmutt like this.
  9. SnailUK's Avatar
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    #9  
    Don't see the issue myself.

    If you mortgage a house, the house is not your property until you've paid off the mortgage, you have to ask your mortgage provided for permission to do most things. Same for a contract mobile, until you are out of contract, the phone is still property of the telco. I'm sure if they've subsidied the phone, they don't want you using it on other networks.
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  10. Etyrnus's Avatar
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    #10  
    Reading thru it, it applies to jail breaking, not unlocking the phone. That's what the exemption was in place to protect.
  11. The_Traveler's Avatar
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    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by SnailUK View Post
    Don't see the issue myself.

    If you mortgage a house, the house is not your property until you've paid off the mortgage, you have to ask your mortgage provided for permission to do most things. Same for a contract mobile, until you are out of contract, the phone is still property of the telco. I'm sure if they've subsidied the phone, they don't want you using it on other networks.
    I disagree.

    I've entered into an agreement with a carrier, whereby they give me a phone for a discounted rate and I promise to stay with them for the duration of my contract, or buy out the difference and leave.
    If I have not violated the terms of the contract, it doesn't matter to them or the government what the **** I do with that phone. If I only upgraded so I could give my friend/child/spouse a phone to use on their network, that's my business.

    Thank god I don't live in the States.

    EDIT: It's not a mortgage, it's not their property (unless otherwise stipulated in the contract.)
  12. erzhik's Avatar
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    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by Etyrnus View Post
    Reading thru it, it applies to jail breaking, not unlocking the phone. That's what the exemption was in place to protect.
    No, it actually applies to carrier unlocking. Jailbreaking is still legal.

    Unlocking Cellphones Becomes Illegal Saturday | TechNewsDaily.com
  13. Etyrnus's Avatar
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    #13  
    I was reading the dcma itself. Missed the unlocking part. But after the article you linked to it still seems like it only affects you if you're under contract. If you buy the phone outright you're fine it sounds like. Not saying I like it, though.
  14. Florin Anghel's Avatar
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    #14  
    So that's just stupid..I mean you own the device and you are not allowed to use it on another network. What happens if you have a locked smartphone you go to another country and buy a prepaid sim, you cannot use it because of this bullsh*t.

    Unlocking Cell Phones in U.S. to Become Illegal January 26
  15. mrmdj31675's Avatar
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    #15  
    Actually, if you are out of the US, the SIM will work on a carrier locked device. The lock is to disable use on another carrier with GSM technology in the US, even if the device is a global (CDMA included) device.

    I bet there will be someone trying to blame the CDMA carriers for this.

    *Gets ready for more Verizon, USCC, and SPRINT bashing*
  16. cgk
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    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by SnailUK View Post
    Don't see the issue myself.

    If you mortgage a house, the house is not your property until you've paid off the mortgage, you have to ask your mortgage provided for permission to do most things. Same for a contract mobile, until you are out of contract, the phone is still property of the telco. I'm sure if they've subsidied the phone, they don't want you using it on other networks.
    This sounds sensible and right but it's wrong - especially in the UK where I guess you are from? Yes, they do subside it in the price but in the actual contract, the only equipment that they own is the SIM card, you own the phone free and clear from the day you buy it - it's your. Your network contract very specifically does not mention the phone - this is because if you have a duff phone, they do not want you to use it to get out of your contract.
  17. HeyCori's Avatar
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    #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by SnailUK View Post
    Don't see the issue myself.

    If you mortgage a house, the house is not your property until you've paid off the mortgage, you have to ask your mortgage provided for permission to do most things. Same for a contract mobile, until you are out of contract, the phone is still property of the telco. I'm sure if they've subsidied the phone, they don't want you using it on other networks.
    However, the house belongs to you once you're done paying off the mortgage. You can sell it, rent it, heck even burn it.

    In contrast, I can (and did) pay full price for my Lumia 900. It was completely paid off, no contract. Despite all that, the phone was still SIM locked to AT&T. The carriers completely dictate how we use our device and what network we can use it on. They decide what phones they will unlock and when they're going to unlock them. Furthermore, there's no guarantee a carrier will ever unlock your phone.

    Pay off a mortgage and you can do what you want to the house.
    Pay off a cell phone and you're still at the mercy of the carriers.
    snowmutt likes this.
  18. mrmdj31675's Avatar
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    #18  
    To add to what HeyCori mentioned in regards to carriers refusing to unlock devices, I have an idea on how to standarize the process, and add a way to force Qualcomm, manufacturers, and CDMA 2000 based carriers to unlock devices:

    1. If a contractual obligation is fullfilled for a certain device, carrier must give you an unlock code (whether the contract is fullfilled by reaching the completion date, paid the termination fees, released of a contract due to excessive roaming, loss of home coverage from a specific carrier, or by choosing to end service with a carrier which acquired the carrier the customer had prior to such takeover).

    2. CDMA carriers, manufacturers and Qualcomm must come with a system to allow devices out of contract to be carrier unlocked, and have them listed in a database accessible to all CDMA carriers (listing IMEI, ESN, and MEID related to each device), in similar way as they currently do for lost/stolen devices. Also, GSM carriers must find a way to have devices listed on the lost/stolen database CDMA carriers use.

    3. Carriers CANNOT REFUSE to unlock a device for any reason when contractual obligations for the line where a specific device is being used are fullfilled. Refusal to unlock can result in fines by the FCC and FTC.

    4. All devices must be global (GSM/CDMA) and must have programmed all frequencies for both radios, as well as the operation and network configurations for every carrier programmed, but defaulted to the carrier where the device is sold (the database should be ready and online by the time the changes are implemented). Featured phones must be global as well.

    5. Developers for all smartphone operating systems must allow carriers which do not sell their devices to be activated on their networks. (this one is more directly to Microsoft and Apple when it comes to Windows Phone and iOS devices)

    6. Carriers must unlock SIM slots for International Use at activation of any device (or have them that way from factory). No embbedded SIM devices can be sold in the US (this one will hurt Sprint, USCC, and some of the regional CDMA carriers). This applies to all GSM and CDMA carriers.

    I know some of you will suggest the FCC should ban CDMA networks, but that is not happenning. I am also aware there are groups lobbying for the end of CDMA based networks, but those have not provided a reasonable transition period (those groups want 2 years, while the FCC suggests at least a decade to make sure every carrier in the US would be in compliance with such order if it ever happens).
    HeyCori likes this.
  19. Etyrnus's Avatar
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    #19  
    More thinking that to implement your idea you would see the price of phones jump astronomically, kill battery life even more, and be blocked at every turn by the carriers.
  20. mrmdj31675's Avatar
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    #20  
    Prices of all mobile devices go up every year due to advancements in technology. Battery life is not compromised if the locked commands remain unlocked, and there are ways to hide configurations from other networks after unlocking. They don't have to appear nor be active after using one carrier in particular (like on/off switches for each network). What will happen for sure is needing more space (not really that much in terms if bytes) for network settings and types of frequencies.)

    Also, LTE, TD-LTE, and VoLTE standards have to be universal or be coded properly on those LTE chips. That may be a problem right now, but not in years to come.

    It's possible to do, it's just about how much time to come up with the standards, and making sure GSM and CDMA carriers are in line with this potential solution, and how much time is needed by manufacturers and the ones setting the standards for GSM and CDMA for interplorability and figuring a standard that would work and meet standards. GSM will need a way to add ESN and IMEI numbers, and CDMA must find a way to unlock devices to meet standards (Qualcomm needs to figure this out).
  21. taucherguy's Avatar
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    #21  
    Just signed. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by baldfrend View Post
    You people can rescind this law by signing in at the petition from https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/pet...legal/1g9KhZG7 before 23rd of February 2013
  22. WorzelGummage's Avatar
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    #22  
    This may or may not be news to some but new legislation prevents people in the US from unlocking their phones themselves. It is now against the law to unlock your phone if you want to put in another SIM for use on another network. You can still ask your carrier for an unlock code, but you can't legally do it yourself.

    Phone unlocking ban could hit you in the wallet | TechHive
  23. alpinestars1z's Avatar
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    #23  
    Quote Originally Posted by erzhik View Post
    How the **** will carriers know if you are running an unlocked phone? As far as I know, there is no way of telling unless you physically have the phone in your hand.
    I don't think they'll know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Kj View Post
    Soo... I guess this also means any businesses who do phone unlocking will also become illegal or will be restricted in some way (their websites will be blocked, eBay will remove all of their listings, etc.)?
    I think eBay is already removing listings. Basically, instead of suing people who unlock their phones, they'll go after the people who sell phone unlocks because it'd be impractical to sue every single person who unlocks their phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by erzhik View Post
    So apparently this law applies ONLY to phones that are purchased after January 26th. If you bought your phone before this date, this law doesn't apply to your phone. Still, ******ed law that will never be enforced.

    And why is this not front page? Everyone should know this.
    I'm sure the DMCA will be enforced. It's just that we're probably not going to get in trouble, the unlocking services are probably going to be the ones paying the fines.

    Quote Originally Posted by ohgood View Post
    Pffft. Another stupid lobby based law. Ill disreguard this one just like the others. Arrest me.
    I agree, the DMCA is stupid. It's so broad that the Library of Congress has to make exceptions every three years. So every three years, blind people have to lobby the Registrar of Copyrights/Library of Congress so that it isn't illegal for them to have their ebooks read to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by SnailUK View Post
    Don't see the issue myself.

    If you mortgage a house, the house is not your property until you've paid off the mortgage, you have to ask your mortgage provided for permission to do most things. Same for a contract mobile, until you are out of contract, the phone is still property of the telco. I'm sure if they've subsidied the phone, they don't want you using it on other networks.
    And if I buy the phone no commitment from the carrier? Or if I've complete my contract? Problem is, the DMCA doesn't make any distinction between whether I paid full price for the device or whether it was subsidized, and neither does it say anywhere that carriers are obligated to unlock the phone after the contract is up. I could complete a two year contract, ask for a phone unlock, the carrier can say no, and that would be legal.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmdj31675 View Post
    To add to what HeyCori mentioned in regards to carriers refusing to unlock devices, I have an idea on how to standarize the process, and add a way to force Qualcomm, manufacturers, and CDMA 2000 based carriers to unlock devices:

    2. CDMA carriers, manufacturers and Qualcomm must come with a system to allow devices out of contract to be carrier unlocked, and have them listed in a database accessible to all CDMA carriers (listing IMEI, ESN, and MEID related to each device), in similar way as they currently do for lost/stolen devices. Also, GSM carriers must find a way to have devices listed on the lost/stolen database CDMA carriers use.

    4. All devices must be global (GSM/CDMA) and must have programmed all frequencies for both radios, as well as the operation and network configurations for every carrier programmed, but defaulted to the carrier where the device is sold (the database should be ready and online by the time the changes are implemented). Featured phones must be global as well.
    Are CDMA phones locked? I don't think they are. I always thought that the problem was that CDMA carriers would refuse to activate phones that weren't sold by them even if it supports the proper bands for their network.

    And I don't like forcing devices to be global. It'd add to the cost of the device when maybe someone doesn't need a global device.
    palandri likes this.
  24. Microsoftjunkie's Avatar
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    #24  
    If you're on Tmobile, they usually unlock their phones after 45 days with no current balance. I've always got mine unlocked this way.
  25. squire777's Avatar
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    #25  
    If it is illegal to unlock phones then it is only fair that phones bought at full price should be unlocked automatically without paying extra, or having to jump through any hoops.
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