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Cellphone unlocking set to become legal again


NEW YORK (AP) - Congress passed a bill Friday that makes it legal to "unlock" cellphones so the devices can -at least in some instances- be used on other carriers.

The law, which President Obama said he looks forward to signing, undoes a move by the Librarian of Congress in 2012. That made it a copyright violation to unlock a phone without the carrier's permission.

The law passed Friday by the House of Representatives makes it legal to unlock phones for personal use, at least until the Librarian's next round of rulemaking, next year. The measure was passed earlier by the Senate.

Unlocking typically involves entering codes on the phone. In more difficult cases, the phone needs to be hooked up to a computer to have new software installed.

Carriers have, in some instances, sued people who made a business out of unlocking phones and reselling them, but individuals unlocking for personal use have never been pursued.

Carriers have become more lenient in their unlocking policies in recent years. Verizon, for instance, ships most of its phones unlocked. However, technical differences mean that it's often difficult to move a phone from one network to another, and if you can make the move, phone functions are impaired. The easiest move is between AT&T and T-Mobile US.

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Shawn July 25 2014 at 9:38 PM

obama doesn't care about the economy, or the vets dying waiting to be seen by a doctor, or the tens of thousands of illegals streaming across our southern border, or that the irs has spun out of control, or that the nsa is spying on Americans, no, obama is lasered focused on the important issues. He can't wait to sign a bill to unlock cellphones

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Linda July 26 2014 at 7:30 AM

More Obama BULL****! Sorry but that just seems wrong. I wonder if Obama can do anything legal and or good for this country?

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barbgre1 July 25 2014 at 9:09 PM

And after this will he start thinking of helping the economy?

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1 reply
mpheonix July 26 2014 at 1:38 PM

Typical Obama....ignore the issues that will destroy the USA, but darn....now you can unlock your celphone and not get arrested.......way to go Horseshit haryy reid......another waste of time bill. BUT,,,just ask him, and he will tell you...."the southern border is secure"!!!!!!!

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Linda July 26 2014 at 1:27 PM

Taking away more of our privacy. I am so glad that I don't have one o those phones with everything on it.

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gogators1980 July 26 2014 at 12:43 AM

I know this practice has been business as usual for carriers, but just because they do it doesn't mean it's right. This sounds like a monopoly, and I thought monopolies were illegal.

And another thing about it, to me this would be like Ford saying you couldn't put anything but Goodyear tires on their cars. How would you like that?

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2 replies
sunimae gogators1980 July 26 2014 at 2:34 PM

Congrats and thank you -- you're the only one to address the topic! And you're right about monopolies. AT&T preemptively cut off my working DSL to put me on U-verse, & then it didn't work for 4 months. Once I got my internet back I tried to find an alternative to AT&T only to learn I have no other choice. Phone carriers are like Mafia families, drug cartels, street gangs with their own turfs, no competition.

& it's not just cellphones; they are phasing out land-lines (the crucial safety net in power outages) and DSL, the only connection from home computers available or affordable for many people.

There is a proposal before the FCC to declare the internet a public utility open to all, which I learned about from Bold Progressives.org & John Oliver (Last Week Tonight -HBO) FCC held open commentary and it crashed their site.

Please follow through on this (Internet Neutrality); we need more people you who can use the internet for the public good rather than paranoid venting.


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mociambz gogators1980 July 26 2014 at 3:29 PM

they aren't a monopoly you can pick from several carriers but liberals don't understand business so make up lies in their heads

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coopdabomb July 26 2014 at 5:27 PM

One of his butt ugly kids must have broken their personal one.

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mociambz July 26 2014 at 3:28 PM

oduama wants to unlock your cell phone and steal all of your info when he does it so he can spy on you MORE

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Brian July 26 2014 at 3:29 PM

Nice to see Congress do something this year. Too bad they can't do anything for those who elected them.

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jewel July 26 2014 at 4:22 PM

OBAMA DO WHAT HE WANT'S after all did you not vote fo him??? and now look what weeeeee got... nothing-- a lyer- a man who care's fo no one not even you-- and when done you will -cry-cry-cry-- you know why -- he lie-lie-lie...ok

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