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Library of Congress Updates Jailbreaking and Unlocking Rules

Article Comments  30  

Oct 26, 2012, 7:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

The U.S. Library of Congress has revised the rules that apply to unlocking cellular phones as well as "jailbreaking" devices such as the Apple iPhone. Officially, the rules are exceptions made by the Library of Congress that pertain to certain portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Moving forward, it will be legal to jailbreak smartphones, but illegal to jailbreak tablets. It will be legal to unlock cell phones between now and January 2013, but illegal to unlock phones thereafter without first acquiring the permission of the wireless network operator. The Library of Congress explained that it believes there are enough unlocked handsets available in the market at this time, and U.S. carriers have become more lenient about unlocking consumer devices upon request. The new rules go into effect October 28 and are applicable for the next three years.

Ars Technica »


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Oct 26, 2012, 7:55 AM


Wait, so assuming they considering rooting and jailbreaking to be essentially the same thing......and they want to say that jailbreaking tablets is "illegal".....

.....and they think anyone is actually going to care or listen to them on that?

不 不 不 不 不 不
Yea.... Wow.. this is getting crazy.

what i dont get (besides the reason i cant do what i want with my phone i bought) is why is it illegal to jailbreak a tablet and not a phone?
I love how they say "The Library of Congress explained that it believes there are enough unlocked handsets available in the market at this time". Im pretty sure all carriers(for sure VZW and Sprint) lock the phones from the get go. It seems quite arbi...

Oct 26, 2012, 2:57 PM

Freedom of Choice.....

Is the foundation and the basis of the U.S. Constitution.
If something like a Mobile-Communication device can not be "un-locked" to give customers that freedom, we have a serious oversight issue at hand by corporations that are simply greedy.
A prision cell one does not unlock, but a cell-phone...come on!!!!
No one get hurt except the carriers greedy pockets which already are more than filled.
You can have all the 'unlocked' devices you can eat, as long as you are willing to pay full retai.

If you want a subsidised device, you are going to get a locked device.

Apple sells unlocked iPhones, just not for $199.99

Oct 26, 2012, 8:24 AM

I don't get it.

1. Why is jailbreaking/rooting a tablet different from jailbreaking/rooting a phone?

2. Why should unlocking a phone be illegal?
Because the law was written by politicians who are whores to the industry.
I have no idea why tablets are being differentiated, but as for unlocking a phone, it would be illegal if you got a subsidised device and signed a contract.

If you paid full retail, it was probably unlocked when you purchased it if requested.

Oct 26, 2012, 1:28 PM

How nice

I'm glad the government has decided what "enough unlocked phones" in the market means. Of course those are 2g/3g GSM/WCDMA/CDMA unlocked phones as we proceed into the LTE era. That's like telling us we can't hook our electric cars up to the grid because there are enough gasoline cars out there already.

Elections are coming up. Be sure to vote.
Yes. Libertarian. Otherwise you are merely choosing between corporate stooge A or B.

Oct 26, 2012, 10:25 PM

Take A Long Walk On A Short Pier

"The Library of Congress explained that it believes there are enough unlocked handsets available in the market at this time, and U.S. carriers have become more lenient about unlocking consumer devices upon request."

Talk about double speak. So there are enough carriers willing to unlock handsets that the response is to make the unlocking of handsets illegal? That is patently ridiculous and no one will abide by an unenforceable law in any case. No one is fooled. A nice FAT check was written to these dimwits. Fail. Try again.

Oct 26, 2012, 8:16 AM

A few companies are following the rule sooo let's not enforce it at all

Wow. What is wrong with allowing a person to have control over a device that they purchase?

Most tablets are bought OUTRIGHT - NO CONTRACT - But it will not be up to you , the owner , what you do with it. ( at least legally )

Apply this logic to a new car you purchase or a new computer.
This doesn't make sense. I would like to know the logic they applied to making jailbreaking tablets illegal. Are they specifically talking about 3G tablets, or does this also apply to tablets with WiFi only? I would hope this doesn't apply to the latt...

Oct 26, 2012, 4:51 PM

Do people think anymore?

I realize most people commenting on here don't like the new law. But why isn't anyone upset that the federal government thinks it can steal our freedom. This law is obviously wrong, and any politician who voted for it is obviously corrupt. When will Americans wake up to the fact that we no longer have a republic that does the will of the people, but a police state that is rapidly eroding our freedoms every day?
No one is free. We're government property.

Oct 26, 2012, 1:10 PM

F*ck da police

I'm still doing whatever the hell I want with something I buy.
I applaud you.

Oct 26, 2012, 1:15 PM

Differentiation between Phone and Tablet

I don't see a real differentiation between these two devices. A Phone device is what, an electronic device that can place a call? A tablet can do that, install any 3rd party app, Skype, Friendcaller, Dell Voice, and you can use that to place calls. In that situation, why would a tablet not be considered a phone device? I see no differentiation. A phone should be considered anything that can be used as such, which a tablet definately can be.
The people who made that rule are old people don't understand electronics.
Unlike cell phones, tablets don't require jail breaking to be used on other carrier, unless you use one that has built in 3G or LTE. Most people tend to buy their tablets unaffiliated with a carrier. So, as you pointed out, VOIP, using an app is usual...
I never, ever understood the difference between smartphone data & pc data.

You know why? Because web browsers such as Dolphin, and the stock browser render webpages in such a way that they look no different on a smartphone than on a pc.
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