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Most ridiculous law of 2013 so far - now crime to unlock phones

The Most Ridiculous Law of 2013 (So Far): It Is Now a Crime to Unlock Your Smartphone

 

Until recently it was illegal to jailbreak your own iPhone, and after Saturday it will be illegal to unlock a new smartphone, thereby allowing it to switch carriers. This is a result of the exception to the DMCA lapsing -- not as a result of a mistake but of an intentional choice by the Librarian of Congress that this was no longer fair use and acceptable. The Electronic Frontier Foundation among other groups has detailed the many failings of the DMCA Triennial Rulemaking process which in this case led to this exception lapsing.

Conservatives should be leading the discussion on fixing this problem. Conservatives are understandably skeptical of agencies and unelected bureaucrats wielding a large amount of power to regulate, and are proponents of solutions like the REINS Act (which has over 121 co-sponsors). However, if Congress truly wants to rein in the power of unelected bureaucrats, then they must first write laws in a narrow manner and avoid the need for intervention by the Librarian of Congress to avoid draconian consequences like making iPhone jail breakers and smartphone un-lockers criminals, or taking away readable books for the blind.

If conservatives are concerned of unelected bureaucrats deciding upon regulations which could have financial consequences for businesses, then they should be more worried about unelected bureaucrats deciding upon what is or isn't a felony punishable by large fines and jail time for our citizens. And really, why should unelected bureaucrats be choosing what technological choices you can make with your smartphone? These laws serve to protect the interests of a few companies and create and maintain barriers to entry.