Earlier this year, many Americans were understandably angry when the Librarian of Congress came to the decision that consumers would not longer be exempt from a provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) making it illegal to unlock cell phones. A grassroots effort to change the policy sprung up, more than 114,000 people signed a White House petition to voice their discontent, and politicians responded with legislation to address the issue.
Under the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 (H.R. 1892,) introduced recently by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky,) it would be legal to circumvent digital rights management locks and to develop and sell cell phone unlocking software.
The White House also came out in support of mobile phone unlocking earlier this year.
Maybe Congress and the administration missed the memo, but the largest nationwide carriers already have very liberal unlocking policies. In fact, the three largest wireless carriers -- AT&T, Verizon and Sprint --all allow unlocking on the iPhone (and will even do it for you) after you’ve met the terms of your contract. Many carriers will also unlock phones for customers traveling abroad, based on their terms of service.