The U.S. federal government says that starting Saturday, new carrier-locked smartphones need to stay that way until the carrier says otherwise.
For you polyamorous types out there who don’t like the long-term monogamy demanded by most American wireless carriers when it comes to smartphones, I have bad news.
Starting this Saturday, it becomes illegal in this great land to unlock a new smartphone without the permission of the carrier that locked it in the first place.
This all goes back to a final rule issued by the Librarian of Congress (PDF) (the Library of Congress handles the rulemaking for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which is the specific law we’re talking about here) in late October, which says this, among other things:
…with respect to new wireless handsets, there are ample alternatives to circumvention. That is, the marketplace has evolved such that there is now a wide array of unlocked phone options available to consumers. While it is true that not every wireless device is available unlocked, and wireless carriers’ unlocking polices are not free from all restrictions, the record clearly demonstrates that there is a wide range of alternatives from which consumers may choose in order to obtain an unlocked wireless phone.
In other words, the world’… [Read more]