You may remember back earlier this year there was a huge story, well group of stories that we and many other sites covered regarding unlocking your phone. Now this is regarding SIM-unlocking not unlocking the bootloader. In layman’s terms, unlocking your device to put it onto another carrier. It became illegal as part of the DCMA act, and well we’ll let you read up on the whole story here instead of rehashing it all.
Today, smartphone unlocking activist Sina Khanifar is feeling really good about himself, I’m sure. Even though he only had two hours of sleep. Why? Well Congress members introduced the “Unlocking Technology Act of 2013” which is a new bill that would make it permanently legal for you to not only unlock your phone but it will also circumvent the digital rights management on any device (as long as you’re not infringing on a copyright).
This comes after over 114,000 people and the White House decried that the Librarian of Congress decision to outlaw smartphone unlocking last October. Khanifar told Venture Beat “this new bill checks all the boxes” which is a great thing for all of us. Sina told us that unlike previous bills that were basically band-aids, this bill tackles all of the largest issues activists have identified in the current laws. It also legalizes unlocking tool in addition to smartphone unlocking. Khanifar said that this is a pretty big deal. “Every bill we’ve had so far has only tackled one piece of the issue. This one gets all of them” he stated.
Zoe Lofgren, a Californian Representative states that this bill is all consumer rights. Which it should always be.
“Americans should not be subject to fines and criminal liability for merely unlocking devices and media they legally purchased. If consumers are not violating copyright or some other law, there’s little reason to hold back the benefits of unlocking so people can continue using their devices,”
Khanifar also said “It’s such an important consumer right to modify devices after you buy them,” and noted that there are many hackers out there who have learned how to take their devices apart and make them work.
How many of you are excited that this bill is now passing? Judging by how many signatures the petition got, I’m confident that I can say all of you are. Let us know in the comments below what you think about the new bill.
Update: The bill was only proposed, not passed yet. But word is it’s looking good to get passed very soon! Keep your fingers crossed.