The Right to Unlock
The right to repair movement has been around for sometime and is basically a movement that is promoting legislation designed to protect our right to repair the smartphones that we purchase without being forced to pay high repair fees by the OEM or being forced to upgrade prematurely. At Phonlab I have been working on the right to unlock for sometime now, and we feel that if you purchase a device from a carrier and you own that device there should be no restrictions whatsoever, beyond the minute that you walk out that door, preventing you from having that device fully unlocked, it is your right. If the carrier agrees to remove that smartphone from their stock, and it is fully paid off, you should be able to use it anywhere, factory unlocked, even if you signed a plan agreement.
Now what happens if you (consumer), purchases a smartphone used, and that device has factory reset protection enabled or it is iCloud locked, what are your rights then, as a consumer let’s look at that. If you knowingly purchase or engage in purchasing smartphones you know to be stolen then of course your breaking the law, but outside of that when you’ve purchased a smartphone/s in good faith, then there must be something you can do? Well as it turns out, not much, the consumers only course of action at this point is to take it to a repair shop to have these accounts removed, and although this skirts the lines of of legality it is the only option available to consumers right now.
We need to address this issue as the #righttounlock now. In the past few years I’ve heard everything from a kill switch to even scaling Googles security to the level of Apples iCloud. This is where the rubber meets the road and if you care about your business then it behooves you to get involved in some way, whether it is signing a petition or actively engaging legislators in your area, in a right to allow us (repair shops) legal protection and the discretion to provide support to good faith customers.
At Phonlab smartphone tech courses our staff has managed to remove, work around, and completely disable most account security locks on everything from android to iOS in its current releases, and so it only makes sense that these companies work with us to put in place a check and balance system that would allow repair shops to provide consumers another option, a cheaper option, and repair centers a viable repair, but due to the risk of litigation I would be confident in saying, that will never happen. So our only option is to train repair techs on how to offer this repair and perform it responsibly, as Phonlab has been doing so since I founded this school in 2015. I am currently working on a proposed legislative bill for the 2020 session, and I need your help. To get involved you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and support the right to repair movement here