US phone unlocking deadline set to expire

On that date a 90-day time limit that made it legal to unlock phones without permission is due to expire. Many Americans unlocked their phones to avoid running up big bills when travelling outside the US.
An online petition has been started asking for unlocking without permission to be made permanently legal. In October 2012, a change was made to the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that temporarily allowed owners to unlock their smartphones without the need to ask their network beforehand.
Prior to the change, owners were typically charged a fee when they asked their operator to unlock a phone. Alternatively, users could buy unlocked versions of smartphones from manufacturers, but these handsets were typically more expensive than those locked to one network.
When Saturday’s deadline passes, users will again have to seek permission.
However, it is not clear what action will be taken against customers who ignore the law. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns on digital issues, said in an email to Tech News Daily it should be up to the courts not the government to decide to what the DMCA applies.
In addition, many online services have sprung up that unlock phones for a small fee and some have said the change will have no effect on them.