Unlocking Smartphones Now Illegal in US

Smartphone consumers might have trouble moving from carrier to carrier while trying to keep the same phone, thanks to a recent adjustment to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

A consumer’s right to unlock a smartphone was a DMCA exemption until Jan. 26, when new regulations went into effect. Smartphone buyers can no longer legally unlock a phone purchased from one carrier then use it for a different carrier, unless they have permission.

For the commitment-phobic consumer who doesn’t like to be tied down to one carrier for too long, the regulation could disrupt a way of life. But for the majority of consumers, it won’t have much of an effect.