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Cellphone unlocking set to become legal again

The law, which President Obama said he will sign, undoes a move by the Librarian of Congress in 2012. That made it a copyright violation to unlock a phone without the carrier’s permission.
By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer, AP Technology Writer Published: July 26, 2014
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In brief

Cellphone bill passes

Congress passed a bill Friday that makes it legal to “unlock” cellphones so the devices can —at least in some instances— be used on other carriers.

The law, which President Obama said he will sign, undoes a move by the Librarian of Congress in 2012. That made it a copyright violation to unlock a phone without the carrier’s permission.

The law passed Friday by the House of Representatives makes it legal to unlock phones for personal use, at least until the Librarian’s next round of rulemaking, next year. The measure was passed earlier by the Senate.

Unlocking typically involves entering codes on the phone. Sometimes, the phone needs to be hooked up to a computer.

Carriers have, in some instances, sued people who made a business out of unlocking phones.

Carriers have become more lenient in their unlocking policies in recent years. Verizon, for instance, ships most of its phones unlocked.

Associated Press