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back to article Unlocking Technology Act plans to let freedom ring for devices

A bill introduced by four members of the US House of Representatives would lay down in statute the right of people to tinker with the hardware and software of any smartphone, tablet, or other device they own. If enacted, the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 would ensure that any software and firmware that comes with a device can …

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Bronze badge

WTF is writing these Govt drafts? Interns? UNIMAGINATIVE Interns?

WTF is writing these Govt drafts? Interns? UNIMAGINATIVE Interns?

"If enacted, the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 would ensure that any software and firmware that comes with a device can be modified legally by its owner, so long as they have the device physically (or via an agent) under their control, and have a legitimate contract to use a wireless provider's network – and that it isn't used for piracy."

And,

"The need for such legislation stems from a curious decision in October last year to amend the terms of the DMCA to effectively block the unlocking of devices and jailbreaking tablets, which had been legal since 2010. Unlocking's fine if your network provider says so – but so far their attitude is that they'll agree when your contract's up."

I take extremely prejudicial exceptioin to the first para because it forgets to allow for those whose contracts 1) lapsed properly, and 2) also continued month-to-month with no required contractual re-signing (which mine did).

I take exception to the second para because it assumes we have to WAIT for the carrier to ACKNOWLEDGE that our contracts expired, when their damned database should automatically do that without fail, without hesitation, without prejudice, without us having to do a GOD-damned further step to be legally in the clear.

I don't have the connections to ram home, bleedingly so, my terse position, so I hope someone is reading this and has the ability to coerce an emergency re-write of the draft, and who has the connections to tell the wireless telco providers/carrriers that they'll hang by the loins if they obstruct our implicit, no-explanation-needed RIGHT to have our contract-expired phones be in a safe harbor for owner-unlocking and rooting, etc. If the user breaks the law with an unlocked phone, it should not matter whether the phone was legally unlocked, illegally unlocked, or used once or regularly in the commisssion of a crime. Those should be separate events, and the unlocking bit should -- if carried out during the existence of a contract --- an ORIGINAL contract, not a renewed one --- cause only a cancellation of the phone's access to THAT carrier's network.

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FAIL

US Politics

Heh....US Politics being what it is....I like that.

Remembering of course that this is the same United States that has that awful patent system that needs reforming. I have to laugh when people feel the need for a law to exist for something that should just be so obvious! If anyone ever reads Uncle John's Bathroom Readers...then you will know that the US has a long history of making stupid laws. (For example, in some places it is illegal to give your donkey a bath in a bathrub) Yup...that's right....it was made into a LAW people. Albeit a long time ago, but hey....traditions of the forefathers and all that...

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Coat

Re: US Politics

Any dumber than someone who buys a TV having to purchase a license for it? Or how about those Hackney Carriage Laws that let a Male piss on a car in public, so long as he pisses on the rear right wheel with his right hand on the vehicle?

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Alert

You are a renting serf

I am sick of this attitude by corporations that I just rent their product or service.

No motherfucker! I bought it and I fucking own it! And you WILL honor the goddamn warranty! And when the warranty is over, I WILL do with it as I damn well fucking please! (short of physically harming others)

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Silver badge

Hmm

Why not treat the phone contract like hire-purchase. Once its paid off it's yours and you can do what you like with it.

And, while we (they) are enacting freedom, lets make it illegal to force you to buy widnoz with a 'puter. Then we will see you enacting from principle, not vested interest.

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Silver badge

Re: Hmm

Why not right now? Sue Microsoft on the grounds that their price incentives for Windows exclusivity is anti-competitive. Doesn't existing law already cover for anti-competitive business practices?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

I would rather see a requirement that all computers are sold with an open operating system, and that the bundling of any proprietary one is illegal and must be made as a separate purchase on a different visit to the store / date.

For too long the message has been going out, and spread by stores that buying a computer without Windows is Illegal, complete nonsense of course, but a very convenient lie / piece of propaganda

Doing this would make people think twice about what they install, and manufacturers think twice about the hardware too. Microsoft claim millions of Win 8 copies / licenses sold, but I bet a lot of those are from people who don't really want Windows 8, and would have liked a real choice.

Furthermore all that nonsense about licenses being tied to specific machines needs to go away too, actually maybe we just need some pro-consumer laws to abolish this whole EULA bound 'licensed not sold problem' we have going on right now, that's another bad side of these bundled 'deals' I could own a Dell with a copy of Windows 7, decide I don't the Dell, scrap it, and then even if I want to install the copy of Windows 7 on a new machine I can't due to all of this. Things like that need to end, millions are being poured down the drain by users and businesses alike, drained out of our economy because of this kind of thing.

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Silver badge

Re: Hmm

Not illegal, just VERY bad for business. People have gotten used to Windows for over 20 years now. It's what they want, and as the business mantra goes, that's what they'll get.

Any store that has TRIED to sell Linux desktops end up with confused questions and irate customers unable to do their taxes or the like because the software is for Windows (Oops). If even Walmart can't make Linux on the desktop work, it's pretty much given Microsoft currently holds a NATURAL near-monopoly on the desktop market.

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What's the difference?

Presently, manufacturer's make it hard to hack, and it's presently illegal.

With this act, manufacturer's will continue to make it hard to hack - but that's all right, it's legal now.

Let's face it, anyone who's going to hack anything, is going to hack it anyway.

So again I ask, What's the difference?

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Silver badge

Re: What's the difference?

The difference is if you, or some other person, finds how to jailbreak a device you can offer that service or product without risk of prosecution and quite probably counter-sue if they deliberately try to stop your method.

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Silver badge

A lot of fuss and bother...

...over an act that gives you your own stuff back.

Shouldn't really be the case, should it?

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