iPhone Unlocking

U.S. Senators Introduce New Cellphone Unlocking Bill

Al Franken and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have introduced a new bill that aims to make cellphone unlocking legal again. The new bill entitled Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act would allow cellphone owners to unlock their devices by themselves, or via a third-party. The bill was introduced after FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the recent unlocking ban “raises competition and innovation concerns". The bipartisan legislation is also backed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT.), Committee Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)

iPhone unlock illegal DMCA

"Right now, folks who decide to change cellphone carriers are frequently forced to buy a new phone or risk the possibility of criminal penalties, and that’s just not fair for consumers," said Franken. "This bipartisan legislation will quickly allow consumers to unlock their current phones instead of having to purchase a new one. I support this commonsense solution to save consumers money."

AT&T Responds to Smartphone Unlocking Controversy

AT&T has responded to the smartphone unlocking controversy sweeping the nation. If you do not know the story, here is a quick recap: On January 26, 2013 the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption that made unlocking your cellular phone legal expired. This made it illegal to unlock your device without your carrier's permission. Smartphone users responded by posting a petition on the White House's We the People website. The petition gained over 100,000 signatures before 30 days, which prompted an official response from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

iPhone Unlocking

Genachowski said the ban “raises competition concerns,” as well as “innovation concerns", and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) responded by creating the Wireless Device Independence Act. This bill ensures people can unlock their devices without a carrier's permission.

White House Must Respond to Cell Phone Unlocking Petition

Earlier this year, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption that made unlocking your cell phone legal expired. This made it illegal for owners to unlock their cellular phones without their carrier's permission. Of course this did not sit well with most cell phone owners, and over 100,000 people have already signed a petition to make unlocking cell phones legal.

iPhone Unlocking

The petition was started on the "We the People" website where anyone can petition the government. The White House has promised to review and respond to any petition that receives 100,000 signatures within 30 days of being published. The unlocking cell phones petition currently has 108,936 signatures since it was created on Jan 24, 2013. This means the White House has to issue a response.

iPhone Unlocking is Now Officially Illegal in the US

Ah the good old days, when we could unlock our iPhones ourselves and use them with the carrier of our choice. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption that made unlocking your cellular phone completely legal expired on Saturday, January 26, 2013. From now on, you'll need your wireless carrier's permission to unlock.

iPhone unlock illegal DMCA

So will this really make an impact on unlocked iPhones? Actually, right now all Verizon iPhones come from the factory unlocked, and AT&T will unlock any iPhone that's completed its two-year service agreement. You can also purchase an unlocked iPhone for the unsubsidized price out of contract. So what's the big deal?

AT&T Unlocking iPhones Still Under Contract?

Despite an AT&T official policy to the contrary, some iPhone owners have been able to unlock their iPhones while still in a service contract with the mobile carrier. Several users described by ArsTechnica initiated the unlock process via standard procedure on the web, and were approved even though their two-year service commitment had not been fulfilled.

AT&T unlocking iPhones

AT&T started unlocking iPhones for customer accounts in good standing earlier this year. The instructions to unlock your AT&T iPhone are simple, requiring anywhere from a day to a week to take effect. After the process is complete, the unlocked iPhone can be used with SIM cards from other compatible carrier networks.

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