As of tomorrow it will be illegal to unlock your mobile phone without prior permission from your network in the US, due to a new ruling.
Back in October of last year the Librarian of Congress reviewed advances in technology and found that several fairly new practices were breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
While it found that jailbreaking your smartphone was legal, it determined that jailbreaking, or hacking, a tablet was illegal. It also said that the process of unlocking your mobile phone without permission from your network or carrier – through a third party shop, for example – was illegal.
A 90 day grace period was given last October in order for US phone owners to do what was necessary to get their phones unlocked, but that time frame expires tomorrow, 26th January.
Any mobile phones purchased through a US network as of tomorrow can only be unlocked by the network itself, which usually proves to be hard work when in the middle of a contract. This process usually carries a cost as well, but it will only apply to phones that are locked to a specific network.
Whilst it might seem like a step backwards, it’s not all bad news. Customers will still have the option to buy a mobile phone unlocked for use on any network. Some US networks like Verizon also sell the odd unlocked smartphone, so it’ll be worth shopping around before you get suckered in to a one-network deal.