Feeds

Hezbollah sting bust sees first phone-unlock DMCA conviction

Mass terrorist jailbreaking not same as fanboi freedom

The essential guide to IT transformation

A Philadelphia federal court has accepted a guilty plea from one Mohamad Majed, who admitted breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in unlocking thousands of phones for resale.

The phones were locked to TracFone, a virtual operator in the US which specialises in pre-paid connections and heavily-subsidised handsets. TracFone has pursued mass unlockers before, but this is the first time anyone has been convicted of breaching the DMCA by unlocking a phone.

The DMCA makes the act of circumventing protection techniques against the law, even if not for commercial gain. That law was clarified earlier this year to exempt subsidised phones that had been used on the subsiding operator's network. Jailbreaking your own phone was declared legal in July this year, despite Apple's objections.

Not that it was unlocked phones that attracted the authorities. Their attention was grabbed by a "suspicious loading of carpets late at night", which was reported by a nearby curtain-twitcher and resulted in a sting operation that exposed a Hezbollah funding operation and led to 16 arrests - that story is at the Philadelphia Inquirer and makes interesting reading.

But almost a year later one of the accused has pled guilty to breaching the DMCA by unlocking phones prior to shipping them abroad. This still isn't grounds to panic in normal circumstances - personal unlocking for use beyond the subsidised period is still exempted - but if you're shipping thousands of handsets abroad with a view to funding a designated terrorist organisation, take heed. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?