The Library of Congress’ Copyright Office has determined that unlocking one’s mobile device to work with a different carrier is illegal. This is accomplished through their management of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemptions. This is an egregious violation of the principles behind fair use.
It has long been common activity for one to unlock their phone to be free to use it from one carrier to the next. This is a useful activity for personal software customization or to avoid obscene roaming charges when traveling abroad. With this decision by the Register of Copyrights, users will no longer be able to do this legally and will be in violation of the DMCA to do so. However, there is some question as to how this would or even could be enforced. Many speculate that individual users will not be targeted, but rather small shops and websites dedicated, or including means, to unlock one’s mobile device.