New law makes it illegal to unlock your iPhone

Unlocking an iPhone, or any other smartphone for that matter, is now illegal in the United States of America

If you're living Stateside and you're thinking of unlocking your iPhone in order to get a better deal with another carrier - think again. As of January 26th of this year (last Saturday) unlocking an iPhone, or any other smartphone for that matter, is now illegal in the United States.

The reason for this is that last October, the US Librarian Of Congress determined that an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), no longer applies to smartphones. The DMCA, in case you're wondering, is what makes it illegal for consumers to break region encryption on DVDs so they can watch them on the device of their choice or making binary copies of movies in order to watch them on tablets. Now, it also makes unlocking your iPhone illegal.

As with most things that involve a stack of legal papers, what this means for consumers is by no means straightforward. First, this law only applies to phones purchased on or after January 26th 2013. Second, consumers can still unlock their smartphone provided they have permission to do so from their carrier - in which instance an unlock code will be issued.

If that's not clear enough, it gets better, as it's still technically legal to jailbreak your smartphone, due to the fact that consumers have every right to use legally-obtained software on their handsets regardless of whether the phone's network provider or manufacturer likes it.

The most bizarre aspect to all this is that there's no word yet on what sort of penalties consumers can expect for ignoring this law, or even how the authorities intend on enforcing it. In all likelihood it's bound to remain a grey area for some time to come.

 

Comments

Be the first to comment…

Back to top
Close
T3 Newsletter
Sign up to recieve the T3 newsletters by entering your details below

Your Details

As you're registering with us. we'd like to think that you'd enjoy receiving the following emails; if you'd rather not receive them, please untick the boxes:

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and it's group companies containing news, special offers and product information
I agree to the terms of use and privacy policy and confirm that I am over 16 years of age *
Close
Log in or Join

By clicking below you agree to our terms and conditions and our privacy policy

Log in to T3.com with your preferred social network

Log in with your T3.com account

CloseJoinPlease complete these additional details

Join T3.com with your preferred social network

OR

Join T3.com

Please tick this box to confirm you are 16 years old or over

Just so we know you're human

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Close Edit your profile

Change your password

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Social networks

You have authorised these social networks to interact with your T3.com account.

Please ensure you deactivate or revoke access to this website from within your social networks settings to ensure all permissions are removed.

Close Forgotten your password

Forgotten your password?

Please enter the email address that you used to sign up and we'll send you a new password

Close
Forgotten password
Don't have a T3 Account? Join now