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.
There’s been a lot of noise lately surrounding smartphone unlocking. On October 28, 2012, the Library of Congress said it was going to be illegal to unlock your smartphone starting on January 26, 2013.
Since then, Obama has stepped in and said that’s totally not fair. And then a few legislators have brought up bills to make sure people can unlock their smartphones without facing criminal charges. Now AT&T says it wants to be perfectly clear that they don’t really want you to go to jail for unlocking your smartphone.
A petition against a phone unlocking ban that was introduced last month has now received more than 100,000 online signatures, the threshold petitions must reach to get an official response from the Obama Administration. The petition calls for the White House to make cellphone unlocking legal again, without having to go through a carrier.
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.
There is perhaps no name in the world of hacking as legendary as Geohot. George Hotz was the first person to unlock the original iPhone back in 2007. He was 17 years old at the time. He also released multiple jailbreaks, including “purplera1n” for the iPhone 3GS. Hotz later went on to hack the PlayStation 3 and battle Sony in a high-profile lawsuit.
In a recent profile by The New Yorker, we get a fascinating look at Hotz and several stories from his career as a prolific, self-taught hacker.
Apple released its iOS 5 beta 2 firmware late last week, and in addition to modifying push notifications and activating Wi-Fi syncing, it has also killed one of the most popular and user friendly unlock tools for the iPhone 4.