Earlier this year, the Library of Congress made it illegal to unlock cell phones. Previously, this had been specifically exempted from Digital Millennium Copyright Act, much like the specific exemption for jailbreaking smartphones. Interestingly enough, it was decided that jailbreaking tablets is illegal.
According to TechCrunch, who spoke to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the FCC will be investigating the matter of smartphone unlocking because the "ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns." He added, "It's something that we will look at it at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones."
Obviously, most consumers believe that they should be able to unlock their devices, though the carriers have their own arguments about why unlocking should be illegal. They subsidize the purchase of the phone so that it is cheaper to start with, but they earn back the money over the life of the contract. This is also the reason they have early termination fees.
What do you think about the legality of unlocking phones?
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