Could phone unlocking be made illegal in the UK?

Could phone unlocking be made illegal in the UK?

25 Apr 2013

Many of you might still be questioning first and foremost whether or not phone unlocking is actually legal in the first place - so let’s start by saying, yes, unlocking your phone is completely legal in the UK and most other countries.

However, and please don’t let this alarm you, phone unlocking did become illegal in the US at the end of January, meaning that for people purchasing phones after January 26th they wouldn’t be able to unlock it. This has been met with a powerful response from consumers. Enough signatures, 114,322 in fact, were even put on a petition started at We Are The People passing the 100,000 signature mark that means that the White House must look into the situation. This has prompted websites across the web to start reporting on the US situation, many diving into the underworld of how and why phone unlocking would be made illegal in the first place. Many point to the power of phone networking companies to influence the powers that be. It therefore comes as no surprise that since the law was placed the companies that have shown the greatest growth as those such as AT&T and Verizon, with MVNO companies (who don’t lock phones but require on people joining them with an unlocked phone) seeing the greatest decline.

Ever since the passing of the law was met with such a response from the public and possibly noticing just how much they *failed*, members of the US Congress have stated that phone unlocking should in fact be legal.

So could this happen in the UK or other countries? Are we likely to see comparable penalties of between $2500 and $500,000 fines or even time in prison for simply unlocking a mobile phone?

The answer is quite simply...no. The UK government might not be getting a lot of things right in a lot of people’s minds, but after seeing the response a law like this has received in the US, they would have to be stupid. The US has shown worldwide governments that laws pertaining to technology should limit themselves to copyright infringement. Unlocking a phone doesn’t even come close to infringing a copyright, which is what the US law based itself (incorrectly) on.

Feel free to keep your mind at rest and whilst logic is still in favour we’ll continue to happily keep providing unlock codes for anyone who wants one.

Article by Darren Kingman

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