Unlocking a cell phone in the US to become “illegal” this weekend

By , Jan 24, 2013

Lock

If you’re interested in taking matters into your own hands when it comes to unlocking you iPhone, then you may want to act fast, or else potentially be at risk of being labeled a law breaker. According to a report by Tech News Daily: On Saturday, January 26th, a DMCA exemption expires that made unlocking a phone on your own terms fully legal.

In all actuality, the exemption was nullified back on October 26 (read the final ruling here), but due to a 90 day grace period of sorts, the final expiration date takes place this weekend. Obviously, unlocking is a big subject here at iDownloadBlog, so we’re interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. Bear in mind that it’s not all gloom and doom, though…

Librarian of Congress

Your favorite wireless carrier is ecstatic with this decision.

Factory unlocks, like the Verizon iPhone 5, will still be fully compliant and fully legal. If you can remember, iDownloadBlog was the first to report that the Verizon iPhone 5 came unlocked out of the box. AT&T isn’t as liberal, but they will be willing to unlock your iPhone for you after your contract with them is completed.

You can always take the full unsubsidized route, and purchase your iPhone off-contract. This results in an unlocked device on day one, which can be used with any compatible carrier.

The area this hurts the most is with post factory unlock services that have become wildly popular online. It’s simply a matter of providing someone with your iPhone’s IMEI number, paying them a fee, and having your device unlocked within a matter of hours. That’s where things get particularly sticky.

Another obvious area that may be impacted, is unlocking a jailbroken device with something like UltraSn0w. Technically, this would prove to be illegal after the exemption’s grace period lapses on Saturday.

So as you can see, while unlocking will be “illegal” in some scenarios, unlocking as a whole is still fully acceptable. Hopefully this whole issue of unlocking will become more and more irrelevant, as carriers move away from subsidies and phone’s are simply unlocked out of the box.

What do you say? Are your frustrated about this whole ordeal?

[Nate Boateng via The Tech BlockTech News Daily]

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  • http://twitter.com/916253 Andy Walker

    Damn DMCA Making iPad jailbreaking illegal first, and now this! we can’t put up with this nonsense!

    • http://twitter.com/ZoltanTroll Colton

      they actually happened at the same time. but yes

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Hahaha, buncha corrupt minded American politics.

  • Miketyler

    What do I say? Thank God I’m not American

    • jilex

      +1

      • test

        Guns OK, unlocked phones NO WAY!

    • Kurt

      you are lucky…im stuck with obama as my president. unbelievable the amount of idiots in my country

      • JamesR624

        Can’t tell if trolling or stupid.

      • http://twitter.com/burlow burlow

        he got elected on hope and a promise, he got re-elected on…bad performance?

        yay let’s turn an iphone discussion into politics!

      • Hoang Nguyen

        Too many free loaders, and free loaders will vote for that “piece of garbage”!

      • kcwookie

        He got re-elected because he wasn’t republican.

      • Kurt

        well you’re definitely trolling. congrats

      • http://www.facebook.com/Queenbiotch27 Rachel Killebrew West

        AMEN!!! Black people will tell you “I voted fo em cause he black” LMAO

      • Kurt

        94% or 95% of blacks voted for him. they don’t even need to say it. the numbers speak volumes.

      • kcwookie

        You’re just mad that some of us white guys didn’t cast the race vote for that loser Romney.

      • Guest

        good god, you must be a cnn/msnbc watcher ughhh

      • Dєvy❤Valєntinσ

        so all the previous was white president; did white people say “I voted for him cause he more white” ?! your dumb

      • Ellen B

        I see. You still think that the President is “The Decider,” like W told ya. Poor thing.

        Yeah, nobody heard about corporations taking advantage of consumers before Obama. It was all puppies and sunshine.

    • Hyr3m

      Democracy is a myth, whichever country you live in…

  • Jailed 4S

    I think they’ll never control unlockers. So i dont care.. ;) And yea theyre makin brains MAAN!!

  • http://twitter.com/tonkatuph Tonka Thor

    Lobbyist win again, Americans lose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    Capitalism

  • pauleebe

    Excellent! America has found a way to make mobile carriers even LESS competitive. Bravo!

    • Alex

      +1

  • pnh

    Exactly who is going to be enforcing this? The Unlocking Police? I would laugh in the face of my local police department if they showed up at my door because I unlocked my iPhone.

    • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

      Exactly, I still don’t see what is wrong with unlocking a cellular phone…

      I still have to pay Tmobile or whatever sim card service provider to make phone call…

    • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

      Your network carrier could block your phone if they detect its been unlocked, or maybe they can lock it again remotely… Could be messy if you in the big ol USA. No probs here in the UK.

      • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

        You need to restore the firmware to get the phone unlock, this is the official way to do it.

        I believe you also need to restore the firmware to get the phone lock again.

        I don’t know where you come up the “remote lock”, have you seem that in UK?

        What about this, just lock the damn IMEI# to specific carrier only PERIOD

      • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

        I f I unlocked by 02 network phone and inserted a TMobile chip, would TMobile want to block my phone? I think not. They would welcome the business no doubt. Block an IMEI on one network won’t do much. Locking it down to one network only will be the aim of any network

      • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

        Then this law is not going to work.

        Unless they want to use this to take down the website in US? We will see.

  • Alex

    DGAF….. unlocking will continue.

    It will just be harder, and large scale companies will be taken down. For the local jailbreaker/unlocker no impact will be felt.
    I bet at least someone related to the ruling has an unlocked phone.

    I’ve unlocked phones for cops/doctors/firefighters/lawyers/mechanics/nurses.

    You name it I’ve done it.

    What a bunch of hipocracy! I wish it was like Europe! Most phones come unlocked.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Kularius Dariusz Kulczyna

    That’s completely sucks mate… but this can be possible in America with Obama and his government… People lets all take our money and move to Thailand :D

  • http://twitter.com/mrmberman Marc

    So its finally goodbye to those scammers ApplenBerry and their dodgy sim cards.

    • hellac00l

      lol

    • Alex

      Scammers?

      Are you kidding me, you buy a phone and are stuck with that company. How is that fair?

      The BIG company’s prices are outrageous

      • http://twitter.com/mrmberman Marc

        You dont remember the sim they sold that used the free SAM unlocking exploit. That was a massive scam and many bought into it, when Apple closed the whole the sim was useless.

      • Alex

        That was a scam. Your right. Not all unlocks are a scam though.

      • http://twitter.com/yeredmtz Yered Mtz

        I remember that ApplenBerry Admitted using that exploit and offered full refound to those early buyers, hows that a scam?
        Oh and those guys do not design nor produce the Gevey… Gevey.com

  • http://twitter.com/shane_e46 Shane Sepeda

    So glad I have the iphone 5 with Verizon. In 2 years I can go wherever I want without having to buy a new device.

    • jimmy

      in 2 years, holly shit i8 will be out by then the way apple keeps releasing products now days and by then ur i5 will probably go for $50.

      • http://twitter.com/shane_e46 Shane Sepeda

        And? So what? Less money I have to pay. It’s just a phone, idiot.

  • Tr1pTr0p

    Free country my fucking ass. What a disgrace!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jude-Palermo/100002164977772 Jude Palermo

      There are so many laws against the common people yeah, you say free my ass, do you really think laws are for the criminals. Nope. They are for us. Like the gun laws enforced now. Do you think, really think criminals are listening to these laws, no, our government is slowly unarming the common man. Imperialistic country we live in. Yep. Keep talking and you will find yourself in jail

      • 4p0c4lyps3

        Ya, aha. I believe his statement was in regards to cell phones, asshole. ‘In jail,’ whatta fck’n laugh!¡

      • Tr1pTr0p

        If you had gun laws enforced, you wouldn’t even be able to own them! The second amendment was written when states had militias, and when the US had no standing army. That changed, and so should the constitution! You don’t need a high magazine machine gun or an assault rifle to protect your sorry ass.
        Maybe you should look up to Europe, Japan or Australia.

      • a smit

        spoken like a true mind controlled drone

        what about sweden? Dont hear much about massacres over there…

      • Hyr3m

        Thank you a smit! Faith in mankind restored!

      • Kurt

        gun rights are about protecting yourself from the government too idiot. we got rid of the brits and weren’t going to let future obamas to destroy our lives. you obviously dont know about america. you prove it again and again. liberals are idiots why do they speak

      • Tr1pTr0p

        You think your pathetic pistol will protect you when the military or FBI knock on your door, paranoid cunt? What we, liberals, have is truth and facts on our side. All you have are brainwashed conservative conspiracy theories by fox and the rest of the corrupt and biased mainstream media.

        First you have republicans destroy the fuck out of your economy (tax cuts for the rich, tax increases on the middle class, 4 trillion wasted on wars) but yet it’s all liberals and democrats fault. But I’m the one who doesn’t know about “america”.

        Japan has half the population of the US, but more than 200 times LESS gun related deaths. Go do some fucking research for once!

        www youtube com/watch?&v=KIbkoop4AYE

      • Kurt

        you are beyond dumb. YOU said machine guns. now your talking about pistols. now that the gov has machine guns we have them too you RETARD. japan has less gun related deaths…THERE ARE LESS LIBERALS IN THAT COUNTRY!! they have morals! haha you are a fool

      • Tr1pTr0p

        Fine, then let me say it this way… You think your pathetic machine guns will protect you when dozens government agents surround you? Paranoid moron!

        And how mindbogglingly retarded do you have to be in order to have something explained to you at least 15 times, and STILL continue to LIE about what liberals stand for? Brainwashed idiot!

        If you’re used to just spout out bullshit to your retarded conservative tea bagging friends, it ain’t gonna work here. Where are your numbers? Liberal party is one of the two leading political parties in Australia. So why are their crime rates so fucking low? You logic is flawed, just like the rest of the conspiratorial and paranoid arguments you hear from Fox.

      • Kurt

        Paranoid? I don’t own a gun you twit. You don’t know about my country so I corrected you. But your so small minded that you got butt hurt. You left wingers sure need to learn to keep your mouths shut. Btw, Korea is a very conservative country and it has the lowest crime in the world. As it is getting more liberal(thanks media/news)crime is rising. What will make your buthole feel better is no guns here. Okbye fag

      • Tr1pTr0p

        “protecting yourself from the government too idiot” < Which is nothing but the fucking definition of paranoia… Twit! You right wingers, should broaden your view of the constitution and look at other amendments, besides the second one. I suggest taking a good hard look at the FIRST one, you ignorant piece of conservative shit! Nice job on pulling that statistic out of your fucking ass. What us, damn liberals, care about is the truth. So do you have any, and by that I mean ANY evidence of how the rise of “liberalism” in that country is directly related to the rise in violence? A N Y evidence… Twit? And you, twit, haven’t answered my question. Why are crime rates in Australia so low, and yet, the liberal party is supported by around one third of the country?

        Your arguments are completely baseless, just like your entire right wing ideology.

      • Kurt

        Venezuela=very liberal=very high crime
        korea=conservative=very low crime
        japan=conservative=very low crime
        Greece=liberal=government collapsing because of all the damn social programs. give too much, make people lazy. learn something about life. it will do you good

      • Tr1pTr0p

        Where the fuck are your sources? I’m not a sheep like you to blindly believe everything that gets served to me!
        Where is your evidence that “liberalism” is the direct cause for violence?

      • Kurt

        in your backwards country the government runs a news agency. something tells me this is where you get your wacko leftist ideas. if you give give give, people get lazy. thats why USA was so great for so many years. till the media started pushing their agenda, now people are sheep we all know that, so now we have far more liberals. and next presidential election, dems will win, and after that, they will win. and usa will continue to go down. you liberals think with ONLY your heart, not both like conservatives. sometimes giving but giving less is better, think about tough guy. now go away little ant. stop writing me.

      • YoJohn

        Dude seriously this is a blog about iOS news. Why do you have to cuss so much every time there’s an argument?

      • Tr1pTr0p

        Because I’m often arguing with idiots, mostly on topics such as this.

      • http://ucgoserver.com 夏樹 街カシ

        dear sir, you are an idiot. please refrain from false statements about things you clearly have no information about.

      • Kurt

        liberals are the ones trying to take our gun rights away. little by little. and they will succeed, as they always do. they are evil

    • 4p0c4lyps3

      +1

    • Kurt

      sounds quite gay in a homosexual way

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000061961790 Ian Jackson

    Next phone I get will be unlocked. I’m tired of being trapped under a phone and once my contract is up, I know I can hardly do much with my subsidized iPhone 4S with Sprint. It’s a fancy iPod after this.. And I won’t be with Sprint, that’s for sure. Verizon here I come. (In December)

  • Rsingaby

    are we talking jailbreak unlock or websites that does a factory unlock for like 20 bucks or both?

    • http://twitter.com/ZoltanTroll Colton

      jailbreak unlock

  • hellac00l

    my iphone 5 has been carrier unlocked since last year. Glad I got it done. It was cheap thanks to ebay! But I feel bad for the unlocking companies and Gevey sim because they can no longer make money from people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.lewis.9678 Andrew Lewis

    im so glad i just bought a verizon iphone 5! lets just hope verizon sticks to what they said bout keeping it unlocked

  • http://twitter.com/bashsnk bashir

    My iPhone 4S locked to sprint is in the process of unlock and its going to take more than a week , those that mean I’m screwed

    • iDara09

      Curiosity: you can unlock your Sprint iPhone because of it’s out of contract or you using other method? Thanks.

  • Balesrer

    How are they going to find out if someone has unlocked?
    Never

  • http://twitter.com/snipershot325 Kyle Duguay

    Nice, don’t care I live in Canada.

  • Sean

    Again, what advantages are there to unlocking your cell phone?

    • Z3r0ViP

      Isnt it obvious? Use your brain, sometimes.

      • Sean

        Why don’t you tell me?

      • Z3r0ViP

        You seriously need someone to tell you why we unlock our phone?

      • Sean

        I come on here once a week to catch-up on jailbreak news. I’m not here everyday bitching about not having a jailbreak for the iPhone 5 like a lot of people here. I am asking a simple question and don’t need to be insulted by people like you!! This is why people have a negative opinion about people in these tech blogs.

      • Z3r0ViP

        No, you dont need to get insulted by us, people who can understand simple things like why we unlock our phone and that’s because we use our brain to comprehend things like that. It’s hard to go by and ignore comment like “:Again, what advantages are there to unlocking your cell phone?”. You sir seriously need to start making uses of that part of your body that process information.

      • http://twitter.com/yeredmtz Yered Mtz

        Excuse my fella down here.
        We refer to unlock as the process to make our phones accept Sim Cards from other than the original provider. So when you get that nice phone you’ve paid for, you can use it with whatever company you want to :)

      • Irfan Tarique

        But if you are locked doesn’t that mean that you are under a contract and that you cannot switch careers without a penalty by the service provider? So whats the point of unlocking? Thats the point what he was trying to make. Sorry if I made a mistake in my statement.

      • http://twitter.com/yeredmtz Yered Mtz

        Oh no, you can buy a phone that’s locked to a company and not making necessarily a contract. As far as I know you might walk out of an apple store with an AT&T locked phone without even noticing if you did’t specified that you wanted an unlocked iPhone :(

  • Jay Mac

    This may be a stupid question but, does AT&T unlocking policy still hold merit? The whole you have to be out of contract and be an AT&T customer for them to unlock your device for you.

  • Mark

    I’m guessing that jailbreaking will be the next target.

  • imot65

    “Lobbying”: Good old American legalized CORRUPTION

  • djmobil2

    So, it clearly seems that carriers has something to do with this. I think we, the people, should start a social media revolution against this treat and make our voice well been heard. It’s the same with the carriers charging us additional costs for allowing us to use our already expensive unlimited data plans for hotspot connections. We should let them know that they are where they are because of us, the customers. #HotspotChargesillegalNow

    • http://twitter.com/Jackzzz99 Jack Wong

      The hotspot is free(with limited data) in Hong Kong and carrier is not allowed to sell locked phone because that is monopoly.

      Well… monopoly is legal in US as I know.

      • djmobil2

        yep…this is supposedly a “freedom country” unless powerful companies with particular interests exerts pressure on the congress to get their favor over what is best and fair for the people.

  • http://twitter.com/andrew_twit AndrewTW

    If I send my IMEI to someone and they send me an unlock code, have they done something illegal? Or will I have done something illegal if I use the code?

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    Why is illegal?

  • http://twitter.com/PhilBeez86 U Kn0w What 1t 1s

    Thank you iDB! Just unlocked my i5 for $10 and upped my resell value by a couple hundred!

  • http://twitter.com/alexx1291 Cazz

    *sends in unlock request to AT&T*

    They do not only unlock off contract. Had my 4s unlocked midway. Good standing account most likely plays a part.

  • http://www.facebook.com/iphoneben Iphoneguy Jailbreak

    I am able to factory unlock iPhones even with this ruling. If you need unlocks, please email: owner@iphoneguy.org or Skype: theunlockerpro

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      See you in jail. XD

  • http://twitter.com/tangbunna Bunna Tang

    I wonder how USA’s Federal employs crazy people to work on DMCA. Someday people will trash 100000000000 of locked phones into at DMCA office. Because people can’t use it.

  • http://twitter.com/tangbunna Bunna Tang

    buy a phone = legal. pay phone’s subscription fee = legal, destroy your phone = legal, UNLOCK YOUR PHONE AND GIVE IT FREE TO DMCA OFFICE = LEGAL
    make your phone lovely = illegal, make your phone work as you want = illegal, UNLOCK YOUR PHONE AND USE YOURSELF = ILLEGAL

  • Bullygoat

    If the grace period is 90 days wouldn’t it have expired yesterday seeing as how October and December both have 31 days?

  • air naji

    I’m sure all wireless service providers are run by republicans. They make and break laws like this everyday. yet it’s always obama’s fault lol. Do you think Obama is thinking about an unlocked iPhone that’s on ebay right now ? Lol see how all you snakes are ? By the way we’re still cleaning George W’s mess but since he’s not black it’s ok.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

    This is only for CDMA devices, those under GSM (with carriers such as T-Mobile) will be unaffected. I never understood CDMA and why it’s so popular, my understanding is that it’s a bitch to change phone because all your SIM data is embedded into the device.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Markieze-Anthony-Mitchell/768663899 Markieze Anthony Mitchell

    this is the dumbest thing i have ever heard. I wonder how many people there gonna catch….. NONE!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brooks.harris.75 Brooks Harris

    You’re not telling the whole truth. If you bought your phone before 1/26/2013 you are fully within your rights to unlock it on your own. These phones are called legacy phones. Also jailbreaking remains 100% legal on smartphones, as it has since 2010.

    Below is the unlock rule as written

    The Register concluded after a review of the statutory factors that an exemption to the prohibition on circumvention of mobile phone computer programs to permit users to unlock “legacy” phones is both warranted and unlikely to harm the market for such programs. At the same time, in light of carriers’ current unlocking policies and the ready availability of new unlocked phones in the marketplace, the record did not support an exemption for newly purchased phones. Looking to precedents in copyright law, the Register recommended that the class designated by the Librarian include a 90-day transitional period to allow unlocking by those who may acquire phones shortly after the new exemption goes into effect.

  • 夏樹 街カシ

    This is a stupid decision, since that means you cannot legally make your iphone a fully useful device (jailbreak vs rooting an android device which just simply voids warranty). Also since you can get your phone unlocked legally for 5-10$ anyway, I don’t really see problems with the provider lock: if you buy a phone with contract, you already agree to stick to the provider for a set period of time, and after that expires, they’ll unlock it for free anyway. Apple will just lose customers to HTC and Samsung. I didn’t understand apple’s policy in trying to keep a smartphone as dumb as possible in the first place.