A major news story that had the community in a frenzy, was that unlocking a subsidized device purchased after January 26, 2013 will be now deemed illegal, and is still currently illegal. First-time offenders face up to $500,000 and/or 5 years in jail, which is absolutely barbaric. However, the EFF, or Electronic Frontier Foundation, has released a statement which clarifies a few things.
In terms of jailbreaking, jailbreaking a device is still deemed legal, and will be through 2015, which is when the “contract” is set to expire. Of course, no comment on if that will be renewed, but it likely will. Unfortunately, jailbreaking and/or rooting a tablet is illegal. So, it’s technically illegal to jailbreak your iPad. But…..
In terms of unlocking, well, nothing really changes here,
While we don’t expect mass lawsuits anytime soon, the threat still looms. More likely, wireless carriers, or even federal prosecutors, will be emboldened to sue not individuals, but rather businesses that unlock and resell phones. If a court rules in favor of the carriers, penalties can be stiff – up to $2,500 per unlocked phone in a civil suit, and $500,000 or five years in prison in a criminal case where the unlocking is done for “commercial advantage.” And this could happen even for phones that are no longer under contract. So we’re really not free to do as we want with devices that we own.
It seems that the notice is geared to be towards more those who provide unlocks, rather those who unlock their phones. It’s unfortunate that it has to come down to this, and it is demonstrative of the greed that the major telecommunications companies have.
What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments below!
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