Smartphones are very handy and useful devices to own, but for awhile now people have been at the mercy of their wireless carrier when it comes to the phone they purchased. Wireless carriers have been notorious for placing locks on smartphones, which means people are forced to use one particular carrier with the inability to switch carriers at a later date. But now, this has all changed thanks to President Barack Obama. The president just signed a bill into law that will keep cell phones unlocked after a person’s wireless contract is over. This means they will be able to pick a whole new service provider for their cell phone without having the restriction of a lock. The only catch is that you have to actually pay for the phone first. So, if you are a thief that thinks he can steal a phone and have it unlocked, then you will be out of luck.
Americans have wanted this unlock ruling for awhile now. After all, if you pay for something then you should actually own it, right? This new “Unlocking Consumer and Wireless Competition Act” will ensure that people do in fact own what they paid for, at least until 2015. The new law will only be effective until the Librarian of Congress makes their next ruling for any exemptions that should take place within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. By law, the Librarian of Congress is obligated to make a ruling on all exemptions of the DMCA at least once every three years. In other words, the politicians in Congress and the president may have agreed on this cell phone unlocking exemption, but the Librarian of Congress has the right to make their own ruling on it at their next scheduled rule making date, which is in 2015. At least for now, consumers have a law that gives them the rights they have been asking for in regards to their cell phone. You might think cell phones are superficial and unimportant, but many people hold them near and dear to their hearts. They want to have complete ownership over them, especially since they have to pay top dollar to get it in the first place. Even if the Librarian’s ruling were to change things again, there would be more pressure put on Washington to permanently change the law. Perhaps, Congress will change the laws of the DMCA themselves to allow this unlocking feature to always occur. We shall see.