August 30, 2007 | By Fred von Lohmann

Is it Legal to Unlock Your iPhone?

Well, now that a high-school senior has done it, everyone wants to know: is it legal to unlock your iPhone?

The answer, as we lawyers like to say, is complicated. And, for that complicated answer, there is no one better qualified than Jennifer Granick, the Stanford Law School professor who obtained the DMCA exemption in 2006 for cell phone unlocking.

Rather than give the full exposition, I'll just encourage you to read her recent explanation at WIRED.

The iPhone's fantastic user interface is inspiring another consumer-electronics revolution: making people care about cell-phone unlocking. After my clients' long, successful battle before the U.S. Copyright Office to exempt phone unlocking from the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, have iPhone customers won the freedom to tinker with their cool new handsets? The answer, unfortunately, is that we still don't know.

One suggestion, however -- if you are going to be unlocking your iPhone, don't activate it using the usual iTunes process, lest you "agree" to the 21,000 words worth of contracts that await you there. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to activate an iPhone out of the box, which shouldn't involve clicking "I agree" to anything.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Check out our Stupid Patent of the Month, from a company that seems to think it invented passwords. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Jul 29 @ 4:19pm

Users should be informed when their content comes under threat of removal from the Internet. This tool could help. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Jul 29 @ 4:05pm

"Surveillance technologies are being deployed by local police across the US, often without any oversight." http://www.alternet.org/civil...

Jul 29 @ 1:47pm
JavaScript license information