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Unlocking Smartphones without Authorization Now Illegal

By January 26, 2013February 28th, 2023Blog

For years now, people have been buying their iPhone from Verizon and taking it to a different company when they left the original carrier, like T-mobile or Sprint. However, the days where that is legally allowed are gone.

Starting today, it is illegal to unlock a smartphone that belongs to one carrier without that carrier’s written permission.

The original court order was brought up all the way back in October while the Library of Congress was working on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The new version of the bill includes information specifically about locked handsets:

“…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 short, no one has to buy a phone that is locked to a network since there are many ways to purchase phones without such shackles. However, the vast majority of people do buy the locked phones because of the subsidized pricing.

Retailers outside of the US and Amazon will likely still sell unlocked versions of phones online, but the prices are likely to rise with this new rule in effect. Unlocked phones that are not bought legally through conscientious means will soon begin receiving emails with legal implications instead of ones that simply discourage the user from continuing to use an unlocked phone.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.