Here’s some good ol’ doom and gloom news for you folks. Starting this Saturday, January 26th, 2013, it will become illegal for users to unlock their mobile phones for use on carriers other than who it was originally intended for. That means buying a Samsung Galaxy S3 on AT&T and performing a carrier unlock on it to use on T-Mobile will technically be breaking the law.
I should clear one very important thing up — the process of unlocking your phone refers to the act in which you apply a code or a software process to allow your phone to run on like-minded networks. This does not prohibit us from doing things like rooting our Android phones and unlocking our bootloaders.
This doesn’t mean we’re nearing the death of unlocked phones, of course. Carriers can still unlock or grant users permission to unlock mobile phones, users can still buy phones which come unlocked out of the box, and if all else fails — well, chances are there won’t be task forces of active police and military bodies looking to enforce these things like they would drugs and weapons.
Despite all that, though, we’re still just as bummed about this news as we were when the additions were first added to the DMCA. Users feel their independence from the control of their wireless carriers slipping away from them in many forms, and being told that you could be prosecuted or sued for unlocking your own phone is about as extreme as it’s going to get.