Petition to decriminalize smartphone unlocking gains steam

No, not quite the same thing.

(Credit: Amanda Kooser/CNET)

This past weekend, the Library of Congress officially put down the hammer on the practice of unlocking smartphones without a carrier’s permission, but now the people are standing up for their right to violate their wireless contracts.

In case you missed it, a new rule handed down by the Librarian of Congress (the office in charge of setting the rules to execute the recently updated Digital Millenium Copyright Act) went into effect on Saturday. It makes it illegal to unlock a a smartphone purchased after January 26 without permission from the carrier that locked it.

Naturally, plenty of folks on the Internet are none too happy with the government telling them what they can do with their devices. A petition on the White House “We the People” site asks “the Librarian of Congress to rescind this decision, and failing that, (the administration should) champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal.”

The rule doesn’t apply to phones purchased unlocked, those purchased before January 26, or used handsets. But it also seems that even after a carrier contract runs out, you’ll need to get… [Read more]

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