Monday, January 28, 2013

locked up

On 26 January it became illegal in the United States to unlock a new mobile phone.  The Librarian of Congress determined that unlocking a phone was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  

Phone companies lock phones so that users can only use their networks.  The exchange is that the phones come at discounts, or so it is claimed.  When you buy a discounted phone, it is always attached to a lengthy contract.  The monthly charges for using a phone in the US are much higher than anywhere else I have lived.  I figured that this was because they were making up for the discounted phone price.  

When I went to study abroad my phone provider gave me the unlock code with my agreement that we would freeze my contract for the year and resume it when I returned.  I wonder if they would be charged with hacking if they did this now.

I thought that once you bought the phone, it was yours but apparently not.  Or if it's yours there are restrictions on what you can do with it?  I don't understand, but then there is a lot about the DMCA that I don't understand.  I suspect there is a lot that they don't understand either.

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