In January of 2013, the US Congress passed a bill making it illegal to unlock your cell phone unless your service provider said it was okay. Now, several members of Congress intend to back a bill to not only reverse the position but also make it legal in the United States. Will we see the ruling by the Librarian of Congress overturned? Only time will tell.
Just days after the law went into effect, many mobile phone users in the US began petitioning to overturn it. Not only did mobile phone users speak out, but the White House and Senator Amy Klobuchar stood up to defend unlocked cell phones in the country. Both the White House and Senator Klobuchar believe that if you are no longer bound to a contract with a carrier and have paid for a mobile phone, you should be able to do with it what you will.
At the moment, if your provider unlocks your cell phone on your behalf, that is legal in the US. If you unlock it yourself or without permission, you can see yourself locked out of your network, cut out of your contact with your service provider and even fine for getting caught. The penalties for unlocking a cell phone and getting caught punish mobile phone users when resources could be used in more productive ways by providers and the government.
What can we expect in the future when it comes to unlocking cell phones?
At this point, it’s anybody’s ballgame when it comes to unlocking cell phones. When the Librarian of Congress made the decision that unlocking cell phones was illegal in the US, it was done to protect service providers as opposed to consumers. With the backing of service providers, it seems that the Librarian of Congress has acted without truly understand the impact that locked mobile phones have on the market.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way and those who enjoy unlocking and jailbreaking phones are going to continue doing it whether legal or not. By legalizing it, the government can truly protect service providers and consumers alike, not one over the other.