Unlock Your Smartphone, Go To Jail...That's The Law - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Unlock Your Smartphone, Go To Jail...That's The Law

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A new law went into effect and it involved your smart-phone. It's official...you can no longer 'unlock' your smartphone, at least not legally.

On Saturday, a law went into effect, making it illegal for you to unlock your mobile device without the permission of your carrier. Companies lock phones as a way to prevent customers from getting a cellular plan with a different carrier. In theory this would make it harder to launder and sell stolen cellphones.

The Library of Congress decided that consumers have a number of alternatives to unlocking devices, including buying devices that come already unlocked.

So...what could happen if you break the law? First time offenders face a $500,000 fine, five years in prison, or both! Repeat offenders face double those penalties.

Unlocking is different from "jailbreaking" that allows you to run additional software and is still legal for smartphones.

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