Law

US House passes bill that makes unlocking your phone legal

Reuters is reporting that the US House has passed a bill that would allow mobile phone users to unlock their devices and use them on competitors’ wireless networks without repercussions, making the once ‘gray-area’ practice completely legal.

Before you get too excited, however, there are a few big asterisks. First, for the bill to be written into law it must also be approved by the Senate, which could take years or never happen. And two, the bill contains an exclusion for ‘bulk unlocking.’

EU lawmakers drafting legislation that could force Apple to change its Lightning plug

EU lawmakers agreed yesterday to draft legislation that will force all mobile phone manufacturers to consent to the use of a common standard for battery chargers which can fit any device. The draft could be voted on by the EU Parliament as early as March 2014.

While many see this as a huge win for consumers, who would no longer have to purchase new charging accessories for different devices, it would be a huge blow to Apple. The company uses a propriety plug, the Lightning connector, in all of its iOS product lines…

New bill introduced that legalizes cellphone unlocking and more

Back in January, the mobile homebrew community suffered a major blow when several DMCA exemptions expired. Among them was a rule that made unlocking cellphones legal, effectively making the practice illegal here in the United States.

But it may not be that way for long. A new bill just landed in the House of Representatives called The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013, which, among other things, would make the process of unlocking your cellphone unequivocally legal…

Petition to legalize cell phone unlocking will get response from White House

On January 26th of this year, the DMCA exemption that made unlocking your cell phone legal, expired, subsequently making the popular practice illegal. Now, folks who go about unlocking their handsets risk serious legal repercussions.

Obviously, people weren’t too happy with the way this played out, so an online petition was started to re-legalize unlocking. And as of today, that petition has surpassed 100,000 signatures, meaning the White House must issue a response…

US authorities can access your iCloud data without a warrant

Cloud computing has really taken off in recent years as a cheap, flexible way for folks to store their documents and data. Apple’s iCloud service, for example, has garnered more than 250 million users in just a little over a year.

But while we’re all busy uploading our lives to the cloud, it’s worth mentioning that it’s not totally secure from prying eyes. A recently renewed Surveillance Act gives US authorities permission to access your data without a warrant…

White House petition goes up to make unlocking phones legal again

By now, you’ve likely heard of the recent change in DMCA policy that makes the act of unlocking newer cell phones illegal. And even though the EFF clarified some things for us earlier today, it still sounds like we’re getting screwed.

In fact, some folks feel so strongly about the new law that they’ve started a White House petition calling for the Obama administration to either rescind the decision, or create a new bill making unlocking permanently legal…

Unlocking your phone could cost you up to $500,000

Last week, we reported that unlocking your cell phone was going to become illegal in the US on January 26th. And it did. While there are some exceptions to the law— you can still unlock pre-2013 phones—it’s still devastating for cell phone owners.

And it gets worse. According to a new report, the penalty for breaking this new unlocking law is a fine of up to $500,000, 5 years in jail, or both. That’s right, half a million dollars for unlocking your phone. And yes, that includes first-time offenders…

Apple and Samsung bosses meeting on May 21-22 to talk patents

As previously hinted, top dogs at Apple and Samsung will meet next month to discuss a possible settlement to the ongoing patent war which has seen minor casualties on both sides, but has otherwise failed to produce an outright winner. A new report claims the upcoming mediation will take place on May 21 and May 22, starting on each day at 9:30am.

The court-moderated settlement talk is to seek an alternative dispute resolution to the more than fifty lawsuits the two technology giants have filed against each other in little more than a year in courts the world over…

iCloud boss Eddy Cue: Uncle Sam is lost in agency model

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ), which filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers for alleged price fixing of electronic books sold on the iBookstore, is painfully lost in the intricacies of the so-called agency model exercised on the iBookstore, says Apple’s Eddy Cue.

Unlike Amazon which gets to dictate prices, often at the expense of publishers, Apple lets publishers set their own price tags on the iTunes store, opting instead to take its standard 30 percent cut.

Somehow, the government alleges such a practice, which has been widely accepted on iTunes since the dawn of time, is the product of a conspiracy.

Now, Apple had to dispatch its online services boss to set the record straight, saying the government doesn’t have a clue…

Confident about its case, Apple wants trial on eBook price fixing allegations

Confident that the US Department of Justice’s allegations that Apple sat down with book publishers to agree on eBooks prices are weak, the company wants to go to trial to defend itself, a lawyer for the company said today.

According to antitrust experts, the DoJ, which filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five other publishers last week has a weak case, and this probably explains why Apple is feeling so strong about the situation…

Woz on patent war fallout, Tim Cook, post-PC world, tight Apple ecosystem

Steve Wozniak, who with his friend Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computer on April 1, 1976 , always has interesting things to say about his company, competition and the technology industry at large. In an interview yesterday, the outspoken gadget lover expressed concern over patent wars.

He argued that patent-related litigation often blocks off start-ups and young thinkers because big boys make sure they own it all.

He also isn’t convinced that we’ll stop using computers in the post-PC world and said it’s too early to judge Tim Cook as Steve Jobs has stamped his mark on products that are three years in the queue…

Apple called back to Congress to discuss privacy concerns

The United States Congress is set to give Apple another look. AllThingsD reports that Congress has sent a letter to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook requesting he sends a company representative to the Capitol to brief Congress on how Apple is protecting its users personal information on mobile devices.

While Apple was called to congress in February, this time around it’s about the issue of apps being able to view customers’ photos, location data, and more without their permission…