our legislators are going after the small ones, or rather, delegating that authority to their librarian!
BY DECREE OF THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS
IT SHALL HENCEFORCE BE ORDERED THAT AMERICANS SHALL NOT UNLOCK THEIR OWN SMARTPHONES.
PENALTY: In some situations, first time offenders may be fined up to $500,000, imprisoned for five years, or both. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty increases to a fine of $1,000,000, imprisonment for up to ten years, or both.*
While this is not exactly my biggest worry (I still carry a pay by the minute flip phone, or as I call it, a stupid phone), this is just insanity. First, why is it a crime at all. Who really owns the phone, you or the cell phone company you brought it from? Sure you may have a contract that demands that you use that company for a certain period of time, but how that should bind past the end of the contract and why would it be a violation of criminal law?
Second, what in the hell is the Librarian of Congress doing making something a crime, with a penalty of 10 years in jail and a million dollar fine? Are our Senators and Congresspeople out doing something so important that they can't be bothered (well, yes, probably running for reelection)? The answer is that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is such a nightmare that Congress included a clause
allowing forcing their Librarian to interprete parts of it:
When did we decide that we wanted a law that could make unlocking your smartphone a criminal offense?Impeach the Librarian!
The answer is that we never really decided. Instead, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1998 to outlaw technologies that bypass copyright protections. This sounds like a great idea, but in practice it has terrible, and widely acknowledged, negative consequences that affect consumers and new innovation. The DMCA leaves it up to the Librarian of Congress (LOC) to issue exemptions from the law, exceptions that were recognized to be necessary given the broad language of the statute that swept a number of ordinary acts and technologies as potential DMCA circumvention violations.