How Unlocking Your Phone May Now Be A Crime: $500,000 Fines And 5 Years In Prison For First Offense

from the broken-copyright-laws dept

Last week, we warned about the impending deadline if you wanted to unlock your phone "legally." That's because the Librarian of Congress took away the DMCA anti-circumvention exemption that allowed phone unlocking. If you're wondering why we even have the Librarian of Congress deciding such things, that's a much longer discussion. In the meantime, though, Derek Khanna has written an interesting piece of at The Atlantic, in which he points out that, not only is it illegal now to unlock your phone, it's possibly criminal thanks to some broad and ridiculous readings of today's copyright law. Until now, most people had been regarding this as purely a civil matter -- and one where it seemed (mostly) unlikely that companies would take too many people to court.

However, given how we've seen prosecutorial overreach on a variety of cases lately, including in the copyright realm, Khanna presents compelling evidence that unlocking a phone could trigger criminal charges. Specifically, he points to 17 USC 1204, which establishes what qualifies for criminal offenses for circumventing technical protection measures:
Any person who violates section 1201 or 1202 willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain...
In case you don't know, 1201 is the anti-circumvention part of the DMCA/Copyright Act.

Now, I can already hear people complaining that unlocking your phone for personal use isn't "willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain." Except, well, it is. Khanna explains how easy it would be for a prosecutor on a mission to "send a message" to make this argument:
Given copyright laws broad interpretation by the courts, it could be argued that merely unlocking your own smartphone takes a device of one value and converts it into a device of double that value (the resale market for unlocked phones is significantly higher) and therefore unlocking is inherently providing a commercial advantage or a private financial gain - even if the gain hasn't been realized. In other words, unlocking doubles or triples the resale value of your own device and replaces the need to procure the unlocked device from the carrier at steep costs, which may be by definition a private financial gain. Alternatively, one can argue that a customer buying a cheaper version of a product, the locked version vs. the unlocked version, and then unlocking it themselves in violation of the DMCA, is denying the provider of revenue which also qualifies. There are several cases that have established similar precedents where stealing coaxial cable for personal use has been held to be for "purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain." (See Cablevision Sys. New York City Corp. v. Lokshin, 980 F. Supp. 107, 109 (E.D.N.Y. 1997)); (Cablevision Sys. Dev. Co. v. Cherrywood Pizza, 133 Misc. 2d 879, 881, 508 N.Y.S.2d 382, 383 (Sup. Ct. 1986)).
Oh, so given all that, what kind of punishment could you get? It's a lot worse than the statutory maximum of $150,000 for willful infringement of a copyright work. No, now that we're talking circumvention and criminal penalties, a single offense can basically destroy your life:
(1) shall be fined not more than $500,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, for the first offense; and

(2) shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, for any subsequent offense.
Khanna is right that it's unlikely that a prosecutor would choose to go this far, but just the fact that it's possible is absurd:
If people see this and respond, well no one is really going to get those types of penalties, my response is: Why is that acceptable? While people's worst fears may be a bit unfounded, why do we accept a system where we allow such discretionary authority? If you or your child were arrested for this, would it comfort you to know that the prosecutor and judge could technically throw the book at you? Would you relax assuming that they probably wouldn't make an example out of you or your kid? When as a society did we learn to accept the federal government having such Orwellian power?
And, while I doubt that prosecutors would straight up charge someone for merely unlocking their phone, if they're looking to pile on (or threaten to pile on) more charges against some "hacker" for a variety of other actions, it's not hard to see scenarios where this would be lumped in with other threats or charges.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    Hmm...

    I did not know that.

    Must... Get... Smartphone and break it.

    Now, where's that hammer?

     

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  2.  
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    Mark Harrill (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Antigua

    That's it, I'm moving to Antigua and opening up a shop to unlock phones. I'll claim the money under the WTO agreement...

     

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  3.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    "it could be argued that merely unlocking your own smartphone takes a device of one value and converts it into a device of double that value (the resale market for unlocked phones is significantly higher) and therefore unlocking is inherently providing a commercial advantage or a private financial gain"

    Oh no! The people who own these devices...MUST NOT BE ALLOWED to raise their value! The horror! Why, such a thought is heresy, it sounds so...capitalistic.

     

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  4.  
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    crade (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:49am

    Re: Antigua

    Canada is closer.
    I'm curious if it is illegal to import already unlocked phones into the U.S.?
    Maybe your business could ship the phones over the border, unlock em, ship em back and charge a fee? heh

     

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  5.  
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    Arsik Vek (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Does that mean if my house appreciates in value, I'm robbing the copyright of the architect for personal gain?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    Wouldn't buying a computer and swapping out hardware change the value for private use?

    You're can't honestly tell me that replacing a fan in a desktop computer to make it quieter, cooler, or anything would violate a DMCA/Copyright Act?

    Then with a straight face fine me $500,000 and throw me in jail for 5 years...

    And if that's not illegal someone explain what the difference is cause I sure as hell don't see it.

     

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  7.  
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    Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    I think so, but only if you have changed the locks.

     

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  8.  
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    Mark, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    And, while I doubt that prosecutors would straight up charge someone for merely unlocking their phone, if they're looking to pile on (or threaten to pile on) more charges against some "hacker" for a variety of other actions, it's not hard to see scenarios where this would be lumped in with other threats or charges.
    Sounds like a possible CFAA violation in the making as well. Using a 'AT&T' iPhone on T-mobile. That's an unauthorized use of T-mobile. Don't try and do this in Carly Ortiz's jurisdiction.

     

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  9.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:02am

    Wow

    I am just going to go back to mugging people in the street. A lot less jail time.

     

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  10.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:04am

    Khanna is right that it's unlikely that a prosecutor would choose to go this far

    Obviously Khanna has never met Carmen Ortiz.

     

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  11.  
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    Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:07am

    Re:

    Swapping a fan does not circumvent any DRM. The DMCA makes use of circumvention a copyright infringement - even if you have done so for totally legal purposes. The changing of the value of the device makes it CRIMINAL copyright infringement so Disney can send ICE to arrest you for it.

    So, if you want to jailbreak your device so you can install software to make a totally legal backup of your system, you have now committed a CRIMINAL violation of the DMCA because you disabled a form of DRM to do something totally legal but impossible because of the DRM.

    Something along the lines of: it's legal to own it, it's legal to use it, it's legal to sell it, but - well, we will make it illegal to purchase it so none of that other stuff matters.

     

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  12.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    And, while I doubt that prosecutors would straight up charge someone for merely unlocking their phone...
    I agree, but this still has a ton of frightening implications. Cops pick you up for legally filming them? Better hope your phones not unlocked/jailbroken. This could end up being another BS charge that they can tack on to persecute anyone that the just happen not to like.

    Pretty soon (if not already) everybody's going to be guilty of something--they'll just have to dig deep enough.

    What a contradiction. Our government has military personnel all over the world, ostensibly fighting for other people's freedom, but here at home they keep taking our freedom away.

     

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  13.  
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    droozilla (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    "If people see this and respond, well no one is really going to get those types of penalties, my response is: Why is that acceptable?"

    Because sheep are stupid. They want to be controlled. They want to be led. And they'll be led right to the slaughter, where politicians & telcos have lamb chops on the menu.

     

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  14.  
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    Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Re: Wow

    Don't take their smartphone or you could be totally screwed.

     

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  15.  
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    Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:10am

    Re:

    here at home they keep taking our freedom away

    You aren't listening to the politicians, they are not taking away our freedom, they are protecting us.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:12am

    Re: Hmm...

    You wouldn't unlock a car! Oh wait . . .

     

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  17.  
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    Just Curious, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:16am

    Older Phones

    Doesn't this apply to phones purchased AFTER this past weekend? I've read that older phones are OK to unlock...even now.

    Confirm??

     

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  18.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re:

    True, but with very little change in the design (add a different connector and place a firmware chip on the fan that communicates with the PC's motherboard) they can make changing the fan a DMCA violation. Such things have been attempted in the PC industry before, and I don't doubt that they will try again.

     

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  19.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    Do you mean "protection" like the way the Mafia will protect you?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Monkey (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    Please PLEASE... we need a 'Sad but True' button

     

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  21.  
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    Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:24am

    Re: Older Phones

    Since Disney was one of the companies pushing to get this exception removed, I believe your phone needs to be older than Mickey Mouse.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Monkey (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:24am

    Re: Older Phones

    Even if it is ... try telling that to CrApple...

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:25am

    Re:

    Except that if you unlocked/jailbroke it BEFORE Saturday it is perfectly legal and if they would have to prove that you did it after that.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:29am

    Re: Older Phones

    My understanding is that the age of the phone is unimportant. It's that the ACT was legal before and is not now. So if you did it before then, it's fine. If you do it now regardless of how old it is, you are now breaking the law.

    BTW How entirely screwed up is it that this classifies as a felony?

     

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  25.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:29am

    Re: Older Phones

    Dubious protection at best.

    "Ya gotta receipt for that unlocked phone on ya?"

    It changes the justice system from the prosecutors having to prove your guilt, to you having to prove your innocence.

     

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  26.  
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    Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Changing the hardware would have to (in some way) defeat some sort of copy protection. Unless the company makes a gaming mouse that needs an internet connection to work, I doubt there is anyone making any sort of DRM that can be defeated by changing a fan - even if it has some kind of firmware chip on it.

     

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  27.  
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    Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Older Phones

    It changes the justice system from the prosecutors having to prove your guilt, to you having to prove your innocence

    When was it the other way around?

     

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  28.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Older Phones

    Not screwed up at all if you look at it as if they are trying to make us all felons (or at least criminals).

    [Good Bog, I'm starting to sound like a tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy nut.]

     

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  29.  
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    ahow628 (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:35am

    "If people see this and respond, well no one is really going to get those types of penalties" then they obviously haven't read stories about Aaron Swartz vs the ax that Carmen Ortiz was grinding to a nub.

    Seriously, this is just another selectively enforced law to get at whomever the government wants to get at.

     

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  30.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Older Phones

    It's been around in common law at least since the time of the Romans, but a specific citation for it in the US would be Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895).

     

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  31.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:41am

    Jesus Christ, you wouldn't get that for GBH as a first offence. America is one fucked up country.

     

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  32.  
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    jjmsan, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re:

    They would look up the stock number of the phone to see when it had been manufactured or sold.

     

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  33.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, if the phone was originally sold before the deadline, then it remains legal even after the deadline. This only applies to new phone sales.

    Did you keep your receipt?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:48am

    Re: Older Phones

    Can confirm. Older phones are OK to unlock, even now.

    A much better explanation on all this can be found here:

    http://www.androidcentral.com/what-you-need-know-abut-cell-phone-unlocking

    I read the article and like most things Android/cell phone related, Android Central always gives a well reasoned and put response to things that sites tend to spin as, "WANT TO UNLOCK YOUR PHONE?! YOU ARE CRIMINAL SCUM!!!"

    They also are quite good at responding to any comments, the staff or readers. So there's also some explanation on the differences between unlocking a phone, unlocking a bootloader (which is something completely different) and jailbreaking/rooting (which quite often gets twisted into "unlocking").

     

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  35.  
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    Tech42 (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re:

    With many computers, replacing any internal components would definitely circumvent DRM.
    Those little bits of paper tape connecting the side panel with the frame, the ones that state Warranty Void if Removed, are probably sufficient under law to qualify as DRM as they are clearly intended to discourage users altering the internal design of the computer system.

     

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  36.  
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    Androgynous Cowherd, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:50am

    100% unlikely.

    Khanna is right that it's unlikely that a prosecutor would choose to go this far ...


    Tell that to Aaron Swartz.

    Oh, wait ...

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Older Phones

    An addition to my comment:

    "So, what do we need to do? Pretty much the same thing we always have done. If you need to unlock your phone, call AT&T or T-Mobile and ask them. They'll probably say yes, so long as your account is in good standing. (How new your phone is might affect things, too.) And it won't cost you anything if you give them a legitimate reason. Legit reasons are things like going on a trip and want to use a local SIM, or you need to use the phone in an area where they have poor coverage for work, or anything that sounds reasonable that doesn't make them think you're going to end your contract or sell the phone. I'm not saying you should lie to them, just deliver the truth the same way they do when they say unlimited.

    T-Mobile has a simple, easy to read unlocking policy as you can see here. AT&T's policies are not so simple, but Dan over at WP Central managed to do it over the phone for his Lumia 900.

    If they still say no, well I can't advise anyone to break the law, but I know what I would do -- head happily into that gray area like the honey badger.

    A few more things worth mentioning

    While the law covers all phones, it only really applies to GSM phones. CDMA phones (Verizon and Sprint) aren't "locked" on the device, and instead use a database that the carrier controls to decide if you can or can not use a particular phone on their network.

    This does not apply to phones that are purchased unlocked. AT&T can't lock your Nexus 4 or any other unlocked device.

    Finally, this only applies inside the US. If you're reading from elsewhere, you can feel free to sit back and smugly laugh at our laws."

     

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  38.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm gonna take a stab at it...moving your Windows installation from a relatively slow hard drive to a new, faster SSD?

     

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  39.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The firmware on the fan. If encrypted it would have to be decrypted and reverse engineered to make a functional replacement--this could fall under the anti-circumvention clause. It hasn't yet--so far as I know, but that could change very fast if we let it.

    Read the link in my earlier post. Lexmark won that case (it was overturned on appeal). If this case were to happen today, I would have serious doubts about having such a favorable appellate ruling again.

    They only have to win once, and we're screwed. We have to keep winning over and over again. Who do you think is going to win in the long run?

     

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  40.  
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    Mr. Applegate, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re:

    This law applies to "Carrier Unlock" not "Rooting", "Jail Breaking" etc. The carrier lock is what prevents a phone sold by one carrier from working on another carriers network.

    Even if you root your phone add a boot loader and change the ROM you don't do a carrier unlock. So you can still do all of that, but if you carrier unlock your phone then you are in trouble.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

    Just buy a dumbphone

     

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  42.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Antigua

    OT, but since you mention Antigua . . .

    Poor Antigua, even with WTO approved sanctions against the US allowing Antigua to ignore US copyrights, they may never make back their $21 Million judgement.

    First Antigua would have to set up a store to sell US copyrighted property. Then Antigua would need to set up various government agencies that bill "fees" to the store, thus causing the store not to be profitable.

    Those stores might have to sell Billions and Billions of dollars worth of US IP before they become profitable enough to recoup the WTO award of $21 Million. I mean Star Wars still isn't profitable.

    The US might object, but under Hollywood Accounting rules, this is acceptable practice.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    The epitaph of democracy could be enslaved to the service of corportions by the copyright lobby.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes hardware computer manufacturers could go the route the consoles and media industries have taken and put laughably simple security measures in place just to make it a crime for you to circumvent them. However I think the level of competition in the hardware industry would make this a bad business decision. Sure you could restrict your motherboard to only operate with specific hardware but it's only going to make your customers all jump ship to a brand that doesn't do this kind of bullshit.

    tl:dr while technically a possibility within the scope of the law I don't think it's a real world threat, at least not in the near future.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not unless windows put in some kind of lock that prevents you from installing to ssds unless you break/crack/go around it

     

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  46.  
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    Shmerl, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    So what is a good course to fix it? Is there a way to remove DMCA anti circumvention idiocy from the law for good?

     

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  47.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Which actually raises an interesting question. In many cases, you must bypass DRM to root your phone. Why is that OK but carrier unlocking is not?

    I don't even understand the rationale for making unlocking illegal. The carrier who had it locked does not suffer anything -- you're still bound by the terms of the service contract, so they'll still get their money in any case.

     

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  48.  
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    RG (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:14pm

    PLEASEEEEEEE

    I can see it now, I turn to the murderer who happens to be sitting next to the rapist asking what I was in for.....DUDE, I unlocked a cel phone. All of a sudden you are the BMOC in jail, yea that's the way USA, use our money wisely. People get arrested for Manslaughter and drugs daily and let off but unlock your phone and you are a wanted man.....

     

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  49.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    Using a 'AT&T' iPhone on T-mobile. That's an unauthorized use of T-mobile.


    How so? You can't do this unless you have legitimate service from T-Mobile, so it wouldn't be "unauthorized".

     

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  50.  
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    OldMugwump (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    Why, yes.

    Just elect a different Congress.

    (Laughs manically...)

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

    Consumer protection

    Why is this happening in the US? Does consumer protection mean nothing to you? EU seems obsessed with empowering consumers, and it doesn't seem to be causing society to collapse or large business from being competitive.

    Hell if I walk outside I will see high street stores advertising that they will unlock my phone. I own it. Why should I not be able to?

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    Wow!

    ...while I doubt that prosecutors would straight up charge someone for merely unlocking their phone...
    Monkeys really will fly out of your butt if you say this out loud!

    Pro tip: say it out loud...outdoors.

     

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  53.  
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    Mr. Applegate, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think the reason for the carrier unlock being illegal is to try to prevent you from buying a subsidized phone, unlocking it and selling it (unlocked phones are worth more. A subsidized phone may be $99 but an unlocked one can be worth $500). Some people will do this and then not fulfill their contracts leaving the carrier short, even if they do fulfill the contract the carrier still basically gave money away (in their eyes).

    Rooting a phone is really nothing more than gaining administrator privileges on the phone. I believe there was a case a few years ago where the courts basically said you can't prevent someone who owns a device from getting admin rights to the device. (Sorry I don't have a cite for you.)

    Changing the boot loader and ROM doesn't really violate DRM. It is no different than buying a computer with Windows and choosing to format the hard drive and install Linux. now someone *COULD* choose to install a ROM that would be a violation of DRM (for instance installing MAC software on a PC), but that is not likely to be a problem for Android based devices (it does depend on the ROM though).

     

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  54.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hmm...never tried to upgrade a video card in a Mac Pro have you?

     

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  55.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Consumer protection

    It's due to the difference in goals.

    In the EU, their primary concern is to protect the citizens, at the cost of the citizens, even if that means treating them like children

    In the US on the other hand, the primary concern is to protect the corporations, at the cost of the citizens.

    Now you may notice that while the goals are different, in both cases the same group is getting screwed over, so really, it's not that different after all.

     

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  56.  
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    Mr. Applegate, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Consumer protection

    Remember, this is the Carrier lock, not 'rooting' or 'jail breaking'

    As I understand it the U.K. carriers don't offer subsidized phones. That is why it is a problem here. The carrier sells the phone to you at a reduced rate (say $99 for a phone worth $599). If I buy a subsidized phone for $99, unlock it, I can then sell it for say $500. I make a $400 profit and use my old phone for the next year or so, then repeat.

     

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  57.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ...or a fix a Dell that has a proprietary power supply?

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:47pm

    When as a society did we learn to accept the federal government having such Orwellian power?

    When schools started teaching situational ethics and stopped teaching civics.
    When Critical thinking was removed from the curriculum of all public schools.
    Now all schools teach is progressivist clap trap like the story of stuff.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Micro$oft require secure boot for windows 8. At the moment they are signing keys for Linux, and allowing it to be turned of on x86 based systems. Note secure boot cannot have the disable option when windoes8 is installed on arm based tablets.
    They have not yet called it a DRM system.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, I was just reading about this because at work I purchased a few Windows 8 laptops (since they were crazy on sale). Well, had an issue with Windows 8 not recognizing/working with a particular AirCard sold by AT&T (which the company uses as its mobile data provider and refuses to get away from... le sigh) and I did a clean Windows 7 install. Only to discover that Samsung has no drivers for the laptop anywhere on its site. At all. Windows 7 or Windows 8. So I reinstalled Windows 8 and at that point realized in my haste to get this up and running I forgot to write down the Product Key for Windows 8.

    Apparently, in newer laptops, with Windows 8 installed at the OEM, they no longer include the Product Key for Windows on the machines themselves. By this I mean on a sticker (usually located on the bottom of the laptop) and instead, thanks to SecureBoot, it is embedded in the UEFI BIOS. (Which if you screw around with, depending on the OEM, will no longer let you boot into Windows at all. Of course doing this grants you access to boot from the disc drives and/or usb drives, which is what I wanted and how I discovered this.)

    So discovering that I had no Product Key I kind of thought, "Well that f*cking sucks.) So I started looking into it and apparently it is illegal and voids your warranty to try and transfer your Windows Activation Product Key from say one drive to another. Yeah, shocking and stupid. The only LEGAL way to do so is at the manufacturer level and if for some reason you need to reinstall Windows due to say a motherboard replacement or hard drive upgrade, you better let the OEM do it (assuming what you're replacing/upgrading is being done under warranty) or else it'll be illegal (possibly under the DMCA or even the CFAA) to do so.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

    Since the law requires that you make some kind of financial gain, I don't see how unlocking your phone for personal use could be a crime.

    Its just like those out there who may legally purchase software, and then bypass the DRM to protect their investment in the software. Doing it for non-commercial personal usage would not qualify was any kind of financial or personal gain.

    The "for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain" would would not apply to someone who did it for private non-commercial use.

    In other words, you have to be making some kind of profit off it in order to be a felony crime.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    cue Ortiz and Heymann!!

    had the people known more about DMCA and what the entertainment industries were up to, what they wanted and the lengths they were prepared to go to to get Congress to introduce new laws, amend old laws and get civil charges changed to criminal charges, perhaps none of this would have happened, or at least not gone so far. as it is now, what is desperately needed is for someone of wealth, fame, position or power to get charged with this and threatened with a massive fine and long term in prison. until it happens to someone other than an ordinary person, no one is going to give a shit!

     

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  63.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No. Microsoft does not require Secure Boot in Windows 8. Secure Boot is only required for having the Windows 8 Certified logo. My PC runs Windows 8 just fine, an older system with no UEFI--no UEFI=no Secure Boot.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Rooting a phone is really nothing more than gaining administrator privileges on the phone. I believe there was a case a few years ago where the courts basically said you can't prevent someone who owns a device from getting admin rights to the device. (Sorry I don't have a cite for you.)"

    I don't have a cite as well, but I'd like to add to this point. This indeed was the case and arose from iPhones being jailbroken by Apple, specifically it arose due to Warranty Agreements. Namely, Apple basically was saying (at the time) that jailbreaking your phone was illegal, because it was running additional software on your phone that they didn't allow or put there themselves, and as such they would not honor warranties on any phones that were returned for warranty purposes and found to be jailbroken. Eventually this went to court and they found that jailbreaking/rooting is not illegal, but may indeed void your warranty. Thereby clarifying and settling the issue.

    Of course, at the time, jailbreaking was the only way to eventually unlock your iPhones. Thus the confusion between the two terms. "Jailbreaking" and "unlocking" that is.

    As a followup to the rest of your comment, well said in all regards. However, additionally, changing ROMs and what have you is not a violation of DRM, but it is a violation insofar as voiding warranty goes. No change really, just want to clarify that and explain how the manufacturers feel about it. Of course for the more savvy out there, any change can easily be reverted and workarounds are released almost daily for actions taken by manufacturers and/or carriers (looking at your Verizon) that prevent people from doing what they will (insofar as unlocking bootloaders, rooting and/or installing custom ROMS, aka "firmware") with their devices.

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re:

    And, to add to that, T-mobile actually ENCOURAGES for people to bring in unlocked iPhones to get service with them instead of other carriers. They run ads stating as much, as well as have in-store displays and information on iPhone Activation Kits. (Which are basically SIM cards made specifically for the iPhone. With the iPhone 5 being chief among them, due to its use of a Nano SIM card.)

    Also, since the release of the first iPhone, T-Mobile has been rather cavalier about unlocking, going so far as to have setups in some stores where they would actually jailbreak and unlock the iPhone for you. (I remember going with my younger brother to get service with them on his iPhone and they asked if he'd need them to unlock his phone, he'd already done so himself so he declined. But someone else there that day went and had them do it.)

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah yes. My bad. Secure Boot isn't required. But it came pre-installed. But on machines on which it is pre-installed (basically anything new) then it will give you issues if you mess around with the UEFI settings to boot from anything other than the hard drive.

    Sorry for that but thanks for mentioning it. Same here actually, installed Windows 8 on two older laptops and they booted just fine.

     

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  67.  
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    quawonk, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    It's not YOUR phone anymore.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    This could generate problems for people who travel to North Korea. The DPRK now allows you to bring your cell phone, but you have to purchase a sim card from the official government carrier, KoryoLink, if you want to use your cell phone there.

    Of course, if you do the act of actually ublocking your phone while in the DPRK, I don't see how you could be charged with a crime in the United States.

    For example, if KoryoLink jailbreaks, roots, or unlocks your phone to make your phone work on their network, while in the DPRK, I don't see how a US prosecutor could have a case against you, since the act of unlocking, in this case, would have been done in the DPRK, and which would also be legal for KoryoLink to do so, under DPRK law.

    In such a case, a prosecutor could not argue a case of "commercial or personal financial gain", Since it would be KoryoLink doing the unlocking to install one of their sim cards to make your phone work on their network.

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, because at least the Mafia are honest about it.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Wow

    I am just going to go back to mugging people in the street. A lot less jail time.
    Not that I'd recommend them either, but assault, rape, hell even murder also often glean a lesser sentence. Moral of this story is; Do anything you like, just don't try and take money from a major corporation.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    Re:

    Pretty soon (if not already) everybody's going to be guilty of something
    That ship sailed long ago. This sort of catch-all language in laws now appears to be the rule rather than the exception.

    You are guilty, probably of many things you weren't even aware of. The only battle left is in trying to stop domestic surveillance being ratcheted up to the point where the governments can pick on anyone they choose "legally" because they have the "proof". Sadly that battle's all but lost too.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    Re:

    With more Americans now travelling to the DPRK as tourists, since the DPRK now welcomes American tourists as well, one way to avoid any DMCA problems with KoryoLink unlocking your phone is to simply leave North Korea OFF the list of countires you visited on your Customs form when re-entering the United States. Since the DPRK does not stamp passports, but instead stamps a seperate visa that you pick up at a DPRK counselate or embasssy, there would nothing in your passport to indicate that you were in the DPRK, and it would never be known you unlocked your phone, unless you tried to use it to subscribe to another network.

     

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  73.  
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    Jeff_Vader_runs_the_Deathstar? (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    Re:

    Actually the builders themselves are WAY ahead of you.

    http://www.zimmreed.com/Property-Transfer-Fees/34430/

    I hate when reality nut punches a good analogy...

     

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  74.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    Am I missing something?

    Any person who violates section 1201 or 1202 willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain...
    Oh, how wonderfully specific and not vague at all...
    Alternatively, one can argue that a customer buying a cheaper version of a product, the locked version vs. the unlocked version, and then unlocking it themselves in violation of the DMCA, is denying the provider of revenue which also qualifies.
    OK, that's just insane. Given that it's largely claimed by the copyright industries that "locking" things with an irrelevant login screen and then writing "enter 'password' at login prompt" on the box qualifies for DMCA anti-circumvention protection that's a pretty broad brush for such a vicious potential penalty.

    Could someone doing a reasonable lawyer impression (therefore preferably not average_joe) explain how the same agument can't be applied to, say, ripping your own DVD to disk? Or, well, almost every other kind copyright infringement going...

     

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  75.  
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    Jeff (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Consumer protection

    Brilliant!

    Have a first word!

     

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  76.  
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    Jeff (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

    Re:

    Get off my lawn you damn kids!!! *Waves cane at sky*

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Am I missing something?

    DVD ripping, the way it is usually done, would not violate the DMCA. Most programs since re-record something as it is playing, and do not attack the DRM directly. That would be no different than connecting a VCR to your computer and recording what was going on.

    The same thing when the first online music stores started 10 years ago. The tracks had DRM, but you could plug a tape recorder into your computer, and record the tracks onto cassette tape. That is not illegal under the DMCA, since you are not attacking the DRM directly, but merely capturing the analog output to a cassette tape.
    [

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think the reason for the carrier unlock being illegal is to try to prevent you from buying a subsidized phone, unlocking it and selling it


    I understand that's the argument they're making, but it's a nonsensical one. The entire purpose of early termination fees is to reimburse the carrier for the subsidy should a customer bail early. So the carrier gets their money regardless.

    Rooting a phone is really nothing more than gaining administrator privileges on the phone.


    But in many cases DRM is still being circumvented to do this. I don't understand how this case can be OK but unlocking is not.

     

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  79.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Consumer protection

    Subsidised phones (both pre-paid and plan based) are sold in HUGE numbers within Australia. They are either locked to Vodafone, Optus, or Telstra with the option for the 'plan' based ones of unlocking after you finish your contract, or the prepaid ones after a set number of months (usually 6). The unlock costs approx $50.

    Unlocking, rooting, or otherwise the phone is quite legal. The phone companies don't like it, but like the ability for Aussies to legally copy DVD's, timeshift etc for personal use there is nothing they can do about it.

    Though this could be becasue we have a very comprehensive and equitable based Consumer Trade Laws that are very strictly applied to all goods and services. ie: Statutory warranty on all products of at least 12months. Consumer choice (not manufacturer) of Repair, Refund, or Replacement on faulty goods to name a few.

    I'm struggling to figure out as "That One Guy" said above how this protect[s] the citizens, at the cost of the citizens when instead it enhances consumer laws, gives confidence in all purchases within Australia, and is very unambiguous in respects of warranties, misleading practices, false advertising, third-line forcing, etc.

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I think the reason for the carrier unlock being illegal is to try to prevent you from buying a subsidized phone, unlocking it and selling it (unlocked phones are worth more. A subsidized phone may be $99 but an unlocked one can be worth $500). Some people will do this and then not fulfill their contracts leaving the carrier short, even if they do fulfill the contract the carrier still basically gave money away (in their eyes)."

    Another reason is that subsidized phones generate the majority of their revenue. In America, at least, people don't like the upfront cost of buying unsubsidized phones, not realizing they still pay those cost when they sign up for their 2 year contracts and higher line fees.

    But because they see the upfront cost as low as free in some cases or as high as $200 for what are normally $600+ phones, they think they are getting a deal.

    It is not to the advantage of carriers to sell unlocked non-subsidized phones primarily because the higher upfront cost associated with them will give the majority of customers pause and result in fewer outright purchases, which has the negative effect of eventually getting customers away from the 2 year contract agreements they sign up for, which in turn leads to them turning to various pre-paid options or non-contract agreements (like T-Mobile has begun promoting heavily) which of course leads to a reduced revenue stream for carriers.

    Put simply, unlocked phones cost them more in the long run than subsidized phones. As such, they do their best to not want you to be able to unlock your phones.

     

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  81.  
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    Mr. Applegate, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I actually agree with you about the carrier unlock, I am simply explaining the reasoning (even if it is flawed).

    As far as jailbreaking a phone goes, here is a link to an article about that from WIRED (There is a link to the decision as well:
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/

    Note that while it is legal to Jailbreak an iPhone it is not legal to Jailbreak an iPad (This is true even after last Octobers update http://www.cultofmac.com/198298/new-copyright-office-ruling-allows-you-to-legally-jailbreak-your-iph one-but-not-your-ipad/), which shows just exactly how little those making decisions understand technology, which is of course the root of the problem.

    Rooting is different still and as far as I know is not illegal since it is performed on Android devices, which are a much more open platform overall.

    So if you were confused before, I hope I just didnt' cause your head to explode.

    ;^)

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "

    Rooting a phone is really nothing more than gaining administrator privileges on the phone.


    But in many cases DRM is still being circumvented to do this. I don't understand how this case can be OK but unlocking is not.

    "

    Probably because there is no commercial or private financial gain to merely unlocking a phone to install an app not approved by the carrier.

    For example, to be able to use VPNs on some phones might reqquire to root the phone. There is no way that unlocking a phone for the purpose of installing VPN software could be for commercial of financial gain.

    I do expect, howevr, to see the requirement of commercial or financial gain possibly be eliminated after TPP comes into force.

    TPP will end the requirement for commercial or financial gain.

     

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  83.  
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    Mr. Applegate, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 5:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Consumer protection

    Well make no mistake in the good old U.S.A the government has long been bought and paid for by the corporations and what is good for the people is rarely even considered. the government simply does what Corporate America tells it too.

     

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    nasch (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Consumer protection

    Why is this happening in the US? Does consumer protection mean nothing to you? EU seems obsessed with empowering consumers, and it doesn't seem to be causing society to collapse or large business from being competitive.

    That's the thing, they don't want to be competitive. They want to be massively profitable without having to compete with anyone.

     

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  85.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re:

    With more Americans now travelling to the DPRK as tourists, since the DPRK now welcomes American tourists as well, one way to avoid any DMCA problems with KoryoLink unlocking your phone is to simply leave North Korea OFF the list of countires you visited on your Customs form when re-entering the United States.

    No big deal, just lie to a customs agent! What's the worst that could happen?

     

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  86.  
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    Wally (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    I just found out that iPod Touches and iPhones are both legally unlockable since carriers can't mess with the actual kernel of iOS. iPads however...they are illegal to unlock on your own now...Cydia here I come :-)

     

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  87.  
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    Wally (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    When you root or ROM your Android device, you have to unlock it because you are modifying the kernel that the carrier has put in place. Handheld iDevice users Jailbreaking their iPhones only Jailbreak from iOS and not from the carrier specific kernel.

     

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  88.  
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    Brian, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 5:16pm

    Break The Law

    Please don't let Multi Billion dollar corporations, Lawmakers and those who serve and protect them tell you that you cannot take your smartphone with you from one company to another.

    This is your decision to make as a consumer, not the decision of the big Telco's, the Librarian of Congress or any other copyfascist.

    Please break the law. You most certainly have my permission to do so.

     

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  89.  
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    Derek Khanna, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 5:27pm

    Re:

    Computer isn't under DMCA protection provisions, doing that wouldn't be a violation of the DMCA.

     

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  90.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re:

    Computer isn't under DMCA protection provisions, doing that wouldn't be a violation of the DMCA.

    The DMCA anti-circumvention clause has an exception for computers? Or it only specifically applies to a list of certain things?

     

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  91.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Re: Am I missing something?

    DVD ripping, the way it is usually done, would not violate the DMCA.

    I don't think that's true. Some DVD rippers can't handle encrypted DVDs, and in such cases you have to use another program to decrypt them. Though if you have a reference on this topic I'd be interested. As for the analog hole, I'm pretty sure DVD rippers don't exploit that. The signal doesn't turn analog until it leaves the video card and audio card, at the earliest.

     

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    Anonymous, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 8:52pm

    To paraphrase a character from "V For Vendetta", if they ever searched my home, an unlocked phone would be the least of my worries.

     

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  93.  
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    artp (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 8:56pm

    Legal proportion

    I remember (vaguely) back in the 80s, some investment wiz defrauded people out of billions of dollars and got a $500,000 fine, Mike somebody or other,

    But now I can get the same fine by jail-breaking a $500 phone, albeit with a longer prison sentence.

    Is America a great place or what? Look at the progress we've made in less than 30 years - a multi-thousand-fold reduction in the capital required to totally ruin your life!

     

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  94.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Lying to Customs is effectively what you would be doing when leaving North Korea off your Customa form. However, if you have no stamps in your passport to say you were in North Korea, and you don't bring back any souveneirs, there would be no possible way for Customs to know you were there.

     

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  95.  
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    Peter Smythe, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 12:26am

    Unusual Punishment much?

    Any Jury, Court, Judge, Police Officer or Prosecutor who charges/arrests/convicts someone and gives them more than a $1000 fine for this is a cruel, cruel human being.

    The first person to convict someone guilty with the maximum charge should buy a plane ticket to Hawaii, then jump into lava.

    I suggest that juries, judges, and police should protest this by civil disobedience.

    For what, essentially, hurts nobody at all, you can get a Felony charge, 5 years in federal prison, or if they get multiple counts, 15, 25, essentially life and from $500,000-many millions of dollars in fines.

     

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  96.  
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    Peter Smythe, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:02am

    Why is this comparable to manslaughter or armed robbery?

    If I remember correctly, 2nd degree Manslaughter has a 6-year maximum sentence.

    The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:
    [N]or [shall] excessive [be] fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.[1]

    So, does the punishment fit the crime?
    does ruining someones life equate to them continuing to pay for and using an alternative carrier for a cell phone?

    Another comparison, poisoning food and water supplies for the purpose of terrorism in Connecticut has a 5-10 year sentence. THE SAME as this charge. One is trying to use chemical weapons on an innocent population, the other is unlocking a stupid cellphone!

    I don't claim to be an expert in the complex issues of ethics in lawmaking, but it would seem that trying to poison the food or water supply might be a little bit more serious THAN UNLOCKING YOUR PHONE!

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 2:35am

    Why is the US law backwards?

    It ought to be illegal to LOCK a phone.

     

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  98.  
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    Pamela Anderson, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 3:08am

    Re: Re: Consumer protection

    Pretty much most phones in the UK are free on contract. Always been that way.

    (I was under the impression that the US didn't do this so much. I was in NYC a few years back and needed a local phone number. Went into a phone shop looking for a $10 PAYG phone or SIM, and they had no idea what I was talking about. Cheapest phone was about $80!)

     

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  99.  
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    Pamela Anderson, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 3:09am

    Re: Re: Consumer protection

    Well...it's different in that you don't get sent to prison and made bankrupt for rooting/unlocking in the EU.

     

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  100.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 3:46am

    Re: 100% unlikely.

    Or, to a lesser, but similarly ridiculous extreme:

    Tell that to Jamie Thomas.

    http://www.guidethroughthelegaljungleblog.com/2007/10/recording-indus.html

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As has been stated before, this is NOT true at all. Wally, stick to iOS device information, because your Android knowledge is lacking and you're, yet again, stating things that are factually inaccurate.

    You DO NOT have to unlock an Android device to root or ROM it. FACT.

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'd also like to add, I know this because I even did so last night. I took a Galaxy Note II from a friend and rooted it using a one-click exploit APK.

    Now, the one-click APK took advantage of an exploit in the kernel of the phone to gain root, but it DID NOT have to unlock the phone at all, or even come close to doing anything that might even be close to being called "unlocking", to do so.

    Which is proof that UNLOCKING AN ANDROID DEVICE IS NOT NECESSARY TO GAIN ROOT. And that's just one device, the APK does the same thing to various other Samsung devices with the Exynos chipset. But it's essentially a variation of how to achieve root on any device. The only reason for unlocking is to get away from a particular carrier, but just gaining root is something usually much easier and is usually done first before fully unlocking a phone.

    I seriously wish people would do research before posting such nonsense as I just had to correct.

     

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  103.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Since fixing a network connection is now against the law, why wouldn't fixing your computer be?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    identicon
    Confused.brit, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 5:45am

    Re: Re: Consumer protection

    Yes they do.

    "Free phone with our 24/36month contract" is the usual clause.

     

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  105.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 6:31am

    Re: Legal proportion

    The difference is the shyster guy defrauded ordinary people, so the penalty was not that bad. Unlocking a phone on the other hand threatens powerful corporations, so that brings the pain. If unlocking were only harmful to regular people it probably wouldn't even be illegal.

     

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  106.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Rooting a phone is really nothing more than gaining administrator privileges on the phone."

    That actually depends on what you do and how you do it. Before the days of companies like HTC providing an authorized unlocking method that allowed you to install the su binary, you had to use an exploit that replaced the default boot loader which would technically be removing a digital lock. Although, simply installing su to gain root privileges may be legal, but what about flash a custom ROM on the device removing all traces of the stock one loaded by the carrier? Wouldn't that also classify as removing a digital lock as well?

     

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  107.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    However, if you have no stamps in your passport to say you were in North Korea, and you don't bring back any souveneirs, there would be no possible way for Customs to know you were there.

    Sadly, I think this is where society is now. It's OK to lie as long as you don't think you'll get caught.

     

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  108.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    True you don't have to gain S-OFF now to install su. I think the problem stems from the term "unlock" being used to mean multiple things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
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    Niall (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Consumer protection

    And I would argue that consumers *are* better proteced in the EU. If you call that 'nannying' then I'll happily avoid the "be grown-up, be in jail" mentality that the US seems to invoke around anything digital/computer/music/film/tech.

     

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  110.  
    icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Educational Analogies

    I think it would be interesting to try explaining all this complicated "circumventing DRM" business to politicians by asking them to fix something that's broken. It would probably be most effective to tailor it to each person's skills and background. Maybe give one of them a blender with a broken switch, or another one a car with a clogged up air filter. I guess to hold up better it should be an instance of planned obsolescence.

    Then, once they've fixed the problem using skills that they find normal and commonplace, tell them there's a federal statute against fixing problems and they could face criminal charges, 5 years in prison and half a million dollar fines; all because blender companies like to sell more blenders and car companies like to sell cars.

    Since they're not willing to learn how their laws effect those who use technology, start applying their concepts to areas they do use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Consumer protection

    If you call that 'nannying' then I'll happily avoid the "be grown-up, be in jail" mentality that the US seems to invoke around anything digital/computer/music/film/tech.

    It is more than irritating that those are the only two options in the developed world (unless southeast Asia has a better system I'm not aware of, which is quite possible).

     

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  112.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 8:51am

    Re: Educational Analogies

    Their skills and background are in having their assistants do things like that. So he tells his assistant to fix the blender, and he goes to jail. Oh well, hire a new assistant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113.  
    icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Am I missing something?

    From the DMCA text explaining "circumvention":
    ...to “circumvent a technological measure” means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure...

    It includes language that covers traditional "breaking" of the DRM, but it also says "avoid, bypass, remove" which I think can have VERY different interpretations. Most liberally, avoiding or bypassing DRM would cover ANY method, no matter the technique behind it, based solely on the concept of copying something that had some kind of DRM.

    More simply, if someone puts a "do not copy" sign on something and your technique results in a copy of it, you broke the law. I think it's pretty ridiculous that such an interpretation seems feasible; both in that it exists and in the fact that we as citizens have no idea what laws we are bound by mean.

     

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  114.  
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    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re: Educational Analogies

    Yeah, that's one of the many potential issues with my plan. I originally thought about challenging them to fix a broken law, but I think we all know why I tossed that in the circular file.

    But they've got to be people. There's got to be something they like doing...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  115.  
    icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Am I missing something?

    Okay... so I may have blown this whole thing wide open. Looking at the next clause in the DMCA that describes DRM:

    a technological measure “effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title” if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, prevents, restricts, or otherwise limits the exercise of a right of a copyright owner under this title.


    Check out the part I bolded at the end. "Limits the exercise of a right", like if my right to free speech was limited I would be unable to express myself in every way I desire. So my point hinges on the question "What are the rights of a copyright holder?" If theirs is the right to exclude others from using something, it turns the whole thing on its head, we get a statute that makes it illegal to circumvent something that makes it harder to prevent infringement.

    Does... does that make DRM illegal?

     

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  116.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Am I missing something?

    DVD ripping, the way it is usually done, would not violate the DMCA. Most programs since re-record something as it is playing
    DVD's are "encrypted" using CSS or something similar. The encryption is so trivial you don't notice the program you use decrypting it and is of course built into the player firmware. But you're still decrypting it, just in a licensed way (as long as you're only playing it). Record the decrypted stream and you're potentially "bypassing encryption for private gain" are you not?
    Yeah that's tenuous, but then the whole argument is tenuous. Bets that wouldn't stop some gung-ho prosecuter trying to nail someone they didn't like with it though...

     

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  117.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My head didn't explode. I knew all of that already! None of it addresses my basic question, though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Probably because there is no commercial or private financial gain to merely unlocking a phone to install an app not approved by the carrier.


    Of course there is. Take my phone, for example, an Android-based device. When I bought it, it had the manufacturer's flavor of Android installed, which prevented me from tethering unless I paid an insane fee to turn the feature on.

    I rooted it and replaced the OS entirely with Cyanogenmod. That flavor of Android does not have tethering disabled, so I can do it now without paying the surcharge.

    Also, doing so let me get rid of the spyware that the manufacturer added to their version of Android, thus depriving them of commercially valuable data.

     

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  119.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 10:35am

    Re:

    What is "GBH"? Google tells me it's a punk band...

     

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  120.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Consumer protection

    You can get prepaid phones in most large grocery stores in the US for $10.

    You probably won't find them in phone stores, though. Phone stores are where you go when you feel like getting gouged.

     

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  121.  
    icon
    Miff (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re:

    Wikipedia says "grievous bodily harm," looks like a UK term for an assault that causes injuries.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122.  
    identicon
    A. Boyles, Jan 31st, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Tyranny at work, Right Before your eyes

    Boys, boys, I saw these things and more, beginning to happen about 20 years ago. I am 65 yo and cannot tell you all the freedoms you have already lost. Forget about your damn phones and start learning something useful, like learning how to re-load bullets and use accurately, all types of lead launchers. The current "NAZIS"/gangsters, are going to control everything you have, had, ever had, ever will have and everything you eat, wear, look at, touch or do, for for work, for them. Get used to it, or get ready to fight back. I hope with all that is in me, that it will be a legal fight. But with a black man in charge . . . Well just look at the other black tyrants in the word and see your future. Please wake up. If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything/everything.

     

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  123.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 31st, 2013 @ 10:30am

    Re: Tyranny at work, Right Before your eyes

    But with a black man in charge . . . Well just look at the other black tyrants in the word and see your future.

    Tip: don't make blatantly racist comments if you want to be taken seriously. Preferably not even subtly racist comments.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  124.  
    identicon
    /Bonobo, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:23pm

    my comment to that

    this is quite interesting article

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  125.  
    identicon
    Hollis Sisto, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 1:47pm

    Interesting

    such bantering back and forth. Interesting article and many interesting perspectives on this. I agree with the prepaid comment. Seems to be the best solution

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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