Following DMCA exemptions made in late 2012, unlocking one's cell phone or smartphone for use on a carrier other than the original became illegal around this time last year, something that drew intense ire and kicked off a mission to give consumers the freedom to do so. It has been nearly a year, but a bill that allows for phone unlocking has passed the House.
Those unaware of the backstory about this issue can get caught up quickly by checking out the news in the timeline below. The entire issue has culminated into the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, H.R. 1123, which "narrowly" passed the House today, losing favor with some over last-minute changes made to the bill.
The bill will allow consumers to unlock their cell phones for use with any carrier they desire after the original service contract expires, assuming such a contract exists. Such permission has existed in the past, but as mentioned, stopped on January 27, 2013 due to a lack of extension on the matter.
The GOP made some last-minute changes to the bill that bans "bulk unlocking," which resulted in some who were originally in favor of the bill opposing it, the reason being that such wording could make it difficult for services to offer an unlocking business. Said Rep. Jared Polis, who ended up opposing the bill, "The last-minute change that was made in this bill...puts a real point pill in this bill for consumer advocates such as myself."
SOURCE: The Hill