Starting Saturday you can face a fine or even jail time if you unlock your cellphone.
Customers who want to use their smartphone they bought from one of the big carriers such as AT&T, Verizon or Sprint, can no longer unlock their phone with software that allows them to switch cellular networks and use the same phone, according to multiple media reports, including ABC News.
The change in the law does offer a grandfather clause for anyone who unlocked their phone prior to Saturday, but those who choose to unlock it now that it's illegal could face thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time if they unlock a phone for commercial purposes.
Unlocking of phones has become popular after Apple Inc.'s popular iPhone has become available on many different carriers in recent years, and unlocked phones using Google's popular Android system have surged in popularity.
The change in the law was actually made by 83-year-old Congressional Librarian James Hadley Billington, according to PCWorld.com. The online tech news site says Billington is responsible for interpreting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and that he decided in the fall that unlocking phones would violate the law that was intended to fight digital piracy.
The smartphone segment is rapidly growing among business executives, with a surveyconducted by The Business Journals last year revealing that small and midsize business owners are more connected than ever to technology, significantly boosting the time spent on the Internet, their use of social networks, and their adoption of new tech tools.
The survey found that 37 percent of executives used a smartphone or PDA, up from 27 percent in the past year. And their adoption of technology in general has grown. This includes companies all over the Dayton region, including a law firm that outfits all lawyers with iPads.