A group of U.S. Senators have introduced a new bill that will allow cellphone owners to legally unlock their devices again after their contract has expired.
Called the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, and backed by Al Franken and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill would reverse a Library of Congress ruling from October 2012 that deemed cellphone unlocking illegal unless the process was performed by a carrier.
As of January 26th, it is now illegal for you to unlock your smartphone if you want to use it on another network. Carrier unlocking has been legal in the U.S. for years, but in October the Library of Congress ruled that unauthorized unlocking is a crime.
The Obama Administration has already voiced its opinion that citizens should be allowed to unlock their smartphones without risking criminal penalties, and a senator from Oregon just introduced a bill that would making unlocking legal again.
From Saturday, January 26, you’ll have to ask your carrier to unlock your smartphone if you wish to use it on another network. It will become illegal to do so yourself using unauthorized unlocking methods — even if your contract has run its course and you no longer have a commitment with the original provider.