US: Phone unlocking signed into law

President Barack Obama signed a bill into law on Friday that legalizes the practice of unlocking one’s smartphone to function on any wireless carrier, even without permission from a carrier, say reports.

The bill, first proposed and co-sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), is aimed at increasing competition in the wireless industry. “Our laws should not prohibit consumers from carrying their cellphones to a new network, and we should promote and protect competition in the wireless marketplace,” Leahy said.

With the new law, smartphone users can unlock their phone and switch it to a provider as long as their current service contract has expired. The law undoes an earlier copyright law that banned the practice of circumventing digital locks on technological devices, say reports.

While the law does not apply to other devices like tablets, the Library of Congress is directed to consider allowing such practices.

Full content: NBC News

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