You Can Go to Jail for Unlocking Your Smartphone Now

by Sarah Fonder

Smartphones are kind of a necessary evil these days. Sure, you can read your email and get on the internet whenever you want, but owning a smartphone can feel a lot like this scene from Futurama:

Up until now, the misfortunes of smartphones have been more of an annoyance than a major problem, and the more tech-savvy of us have found loopholes. Any smartphone user who felt constricted by their carrier could simply unlock their phone, a practice which would allow them to switch networks if need be, and it was perfectly legal… until this weekend. That’s right: freedom from your contract could cost you your freedom. The penalties for first-time users are worse than the punishments for petty crimes: “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.” (via The Atlantic)

This bizarre and downright creepy law feels a lot like that famous Apple 1984 commercial, except instead of technology freeing us, it’s gradually holding us hostage. Yet the Digital Millenium Copyright Act is somehow making this sorts of measures okay, even if simply trying to leave your network doesn’t seem like much of a copyright violation, but forget it Jake, it’s Appletown. So if you want to make it possible to get out of a binding contract, we suggest you do it while you still can.

Image via The Atlantic

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