Unlock your smartphone, face half $M fine

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by KrazyKat, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    From the wonderful world of lobbyists, an urgent new law:
    It Is Now a Crime to Unlock Your Smartphone
    C'mon, Carmen Ortiz, what are you waiting for?
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Not a new law but the removal of an exception to the DMCA by periodic review of the Library of Congress. It has long been illegal to do this commercially. Removing the exception just generalizes the concept.

    Technically I think this is correct, but there are other avenues open, e.g. anti-trust suits for bundling of services in the sale of phones.

    Frankly, phones are cheap enough that even though I have the technical ability to do this stuff, it's just wouldn't be worth my time to screw with if I wanted switch carriers.
  3. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    around $300-$500 for the privilege of being free from the carrier, but no longer.
    Have a problem with that, citizen?
    $1,000,000, imprisonment for up to ten years seem like entirely reasonable sentencing guidelines
    for such resisters.
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Phones usually come free or very cheap with a new service plan.

    This is something that affects very few, if any, normal customers.

    You're free to buy a legitimately unlocked phone at the outset, and then contract for service. If you opt for the discounted phone as part of a contract, then you are bound to the terms and conditions of the contract. And this is where the anti-trust issues come in: My feeling is that the best way to fight this is to contend that it's a restraint of trade (bundled services) under the anti-trust laws, which can be very expensive (treble damages) for the violator.
  5. RB

    RB Founding Member

    If I buy a discounted phone that is lock and fully complete the terms of the contract can then phone be unlocked after the contract is satisfied or would that still be illegal?
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Technically, that is now illegal.

    Also note that the fine of $500K that KrazyKat cites is for commerical vendors who profits from the business of unlocking phones. The maximum fine for an individual unlocking his/her own phone is only $2500, still a bit stiff given the wholesale cost of a phone.
  7. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    More info on unlocking cell phones here:

    HowStuffWorks: How to Unlock a Cell Phone or Smartphone

    Note that if your carrier is Verizon or Sprint, it's a moot point. Their phones (CDMA) aren't unlockable. Only AT&T & T-Mobile (GSM) phones are unlockable.

    In my case, since AT&T tried 3 times to slam me with their long-distance service on my land lines, the odds that I would ever want to unlock my T-Mobile phone & switch to AT&T is zero. I will NEVER be an AT&T customer again, ever.

    Locked AT&T iPhones are an issues for their owners, since apps are limited to ones that Apple has "approved" in their stores. That's really an anti-trust issue that should be pursued independently of the locking/unlocking controversy.
  8. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I've been with Sprint since my first cell phone so this doesn't really matter much to me but I fail to see how unlocking a phone after completeing a contract should me an issue. Guess consumers have lost all say so in these things.
  9. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    This will come to bite ATT in the (expletive deleted) big time as they have run ad campaigns about unlocking phones not under contract obligations (IE 2 year contract extension when upgrading to a iphone). False advertising...Big shock considering some of the stunts they have pulled will just get them dragged into court.

Share This Page