In case you haven’t heard, starting today it will be illegal for users to unlock their phone. Yes a device you’ve actually paid for. While this has absolutely nothing to do with root, jailbreak, and tweaking phones like we all love to in the Android Community, it’s still a shame. Thanks to some edits and tweaks made the the DMCA back in October it’s now illegal to unlock a phone without carrier consent.
For those that might be confused, let us explain. All phones come carrier locked and only are usable on the carrier you’ve purchased it through (unless bought unlocked) and usually people just use tweaks, software, or hacks to unlock them. As of today that’s an illegal act folks. That shiny iPhone 4S you bought used on eBay or Craigslist you plan to use on T-Mobile is easily unlocked, but now that’s a crime.
This is a large scenario because T-Mobile doesn’t offer the iPhone. The same thing happens with just about every GSM Android smartphone. The Galaxy Nexus (not Verizon’s) and all the phones on AT&T and T-Mobile work together in sorts. Being able to unlock that HTC One S and use it on AT&T with 3G HSPA+ has been something I’ve seen in the past.
The edits made to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act go in act today effectively making any unlocking without exclusive carrier support and consent illegal. Getting a carrier to willingly unlock your device is like pulling teeth, so this could be a problem for many. You can always use the “I’m going out of country and want to buy a pre-paid SIM” approach, but carriers are still usually reluctant to play along. Don’t worry though guys. Unlocking our phones will still be extremely simple and this won’t effect how easy or often it happens, but you could potentially get turned in by your carrier. We have a feeling not much will change, so we’re not too concerned. There’s already a few petitions going around to change this outrageous law so stay tuned for more details.