USA Today get involved in phone unlocking debate

USA Today get involved in phone unlocking debate

28 Mar 2013

USA Today’s Editorial Board have now released an article speaking about the recent phone unlocking law in America, making it illegal to unlock a phone purchased after Jan 26th 2013.

The article clearly highlights the benefits to phone unlocking, such as allowing people to avoid roaming costs when travelling or switching providers to a lower cost alternative, which has prompted the bewilderment of making phone unlocking illegal in the US. USA Today mention that the bill was passed by reviewing the Digital Millenium Copyright Act 1998, a law which sets out to protect copyright owners from their work being shared without permission. Most people would agree the Act was put in place in response to piracy online, targeting services like Napster, who were extremely large at the time.

However, the Act has been applied to phone unlocking, which isn’t related to copyright or pirate sharing in any way. The Editorial Board mentioned this by saying “What's most galling about the ruling is that it shows how the wireless industry has used — or perhaps misused is the better word — copyright law to strengthen its hand in dealing with consumers and limiting competition”. They also conclude that “the wireless industry prevailed upon Congress to include unlocking as an unlawful act”, signifying the power of network providers over the lawful decision makers.

Most people now expect that changes will be made to the law of unlocking mobile phones in the USA, but it has also shown weaknesses in Congress and just how manipulating, willingly or unwillingly, they can be. Does anyone else think House of Cards?

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Article by Darren Kingman

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