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Cell Phone Unlocking Is Legal -- For Now 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-successfully-kicked-down-road dept.
On Friday President Obama signed into a law a bill allowing mobile devices to be legally unlocked, so that consumers can switch between carriers. The legislation was kicked off by a successful petition on Whitehouse.gov after the Librarian of Congress decided that cell phones no longer needed an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anti-hacking provision. The legislation (PDF) passed both houses of Congress and is now law. Unfortunately, the new bill doesn't guarantee permanent legality. It simply reinstates the exemption, and leaves the DMCA alone. For the next year, cell phone unlocking will certainly be legal, but after that, the Librarian of Congress once again has the ability to void the exemption once every three years.
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Cell Phone Unlocking Is Legal -- For Now

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  • by PNutts (199112) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @10:51AM (#47588711)

    This isn't about freedom, it's an example of "For the People".

  • by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @01:04PM (#47589311) Journal
    The president must sign every bill before it becomes law. If the president chooses not to sign a bill, it is considered a veto and the bill is returned to congress. If it gets a 2/3 majority vote, the bill becomes law anyway. This is one of the primary duties of the president.

    So yes, it went to the president, just like every other bill that has gotten through congress.
  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Informative)

    by Torp (199297) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @01:21PM (#47589373)

    Exactly - you can, like in the US, get a free/reduced price phone with an X year contract if you want. All the carriers would be happy to sell you one.
    There are two differences: one, when the X years end, they MUST unlock your formerly subsidized phone for an insignificant fee (i think i paid 10 euros last time).
    Two, you don't have to get a subsidized phone. There are 5 million places that would happily sell you a new, carrier free phone to use with any GSM carrier.
    The carriers are also required to unlock phones not attached to a contract for free - i.e. if you pay full price, it has to be unlocked - but no one's crazy enough to buy a full price phone from them, any other store would be cheaper :)

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