The U.S. Library of Congress has just passed a new law that makes it illegal for anyone to unlock a smartphone, with first time offenders subject to fines of up to US$500,000, imprisonment for five years, or both.
The full law reads:
BY DECREE OF THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS
IT SHALL HENCEFORCE BE ORDERED THAT AMERICANS SHALL NOT UNLOCK THEIR OWN SMARTPHONES.
PENALTY: In some situations, first time offenders may be fined up to $500,000, imprisoned for five years, or both. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty increases to a fine of $1,000,000, imprisonment for up to ten years, or both.*
The law was put in place due to the Librarian of Congress stating that "consumers have a number of alternatives to unlocking devices, including buying devices that come already unlocked."
This of course does not take into account consumers who want to switch carriers after their existing contract has expired, but wish to keep their existing phone.
Whether this law will be enforced or not remains to be seen - downloading illegal music in the U.S. also carries a five year jail term and up to US$250,000 in fines and yet continues to be a widespread practice.
Source: The Atlantic