The Librarian Of Congress Gets To Decide Whether Americans Can Unlock Their Phones. And He Says No.


It’s common practice among those who travel internationally to unlock a smartphone so that it will work with SIM cards from multiple service providers. That’s the best way to get around massive roaming fees that would otherwise be assessed by your home provider. But come tomorrow, in the United States at least, this will be illegal. Here’s why.

Every few years, the U.S. Librarian of Congress signs off on exceptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a far reaching bill passed in 1998 that, among other things, makes it illegal for consumers to circumvent any barriers that manufacturers put up around their copyrighted material. Recommended exemptions find their way to the Librarian via the U.S. Copyright Office, but he makes the final decision. [Read More]