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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Just because you own your smart phone doesn't mean you have complete control over the device. No matter where you live or work or attend school, lots of people communicating on smart phones is pretty standard.
"If you spend money on a phone you should be able to use the phone however you please as long as it's within the boundaries of the law," says GW law student CJ Hancock.
Those boundaries have just gotten a little smaller, at least for anyone who bought a phone after January 26. Now, exemptions laid out in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, including allowing users to unlock spart phones or jailbreak tablets, have expired. This means if you are caught doing so, you could face over a $2000 fine. If you're doing so for commercial purposes, you could be find up to $500,000 or spend 5 years behind bars.
"From a competitive standpoint, it really hurts consumers," says Public Knowledge Vice President of Legal Affairs Sherwin Siy.
Siy says the big winners here are the large cell phone carriers who want to lock you in to contracts. The losers: you, the cell phone users.
"If someone's giving you terrible service, you should be able to switch," says Siy.
"I know a lot of people who do it," says GW Fresham Imran Moledina. "They'll buy a phone, say from AT&T, and get it jail-broken or unlocked and switch it to Verizon for a cheaper plan or T-Mobile."
For most people, when you walk out of the store with your new smart phone, you're thinking about how happy you are to get rid of the old one, or which apps you plan to download. Now, you might want to ask an important question: who's phone is this really? Turns out the answer is in the fine print, which very few people actually read.
"These contracts actually say things like you haven't actually bought the software," says Siy. "You don't actually own it. We do."
A small change with potentially large consequences for you. Telecom and telephone companies spent over $101 million last year lobbying lawmakers in Washington. If you break that down, with 535 lawmakers in Congress, plus the President, companies spent about $188,000 per elected lawmaker in 2012.
Saturday, February 2 2013, 12:31 AM CST
Red Bank officials say town is fine without cams
May 21, 2013 12:31 GMT
RED BANK, Tenn. (AP) -- Now that traffic enforcement cameras have been gone from a Hamilton County city for four months, officials are saying just how much they are not missed.
Red Bank ended its contract with a provider in January. Citizen complaints drove a 4-1 city commission vote to end the contract after six years and 69,000 citations.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/16IXoMI ) reported that officials said the number of traffic crashes hasn't increased, there have been fewer tickets issued and anecdotal evidence indicates there is more traffic coming into the city.
Mayor John Roberts said people continue to tell him they're glad the cameras are gone
Roberts said the cameras made the city appear unwelcoming and that discouraged new businesses.
Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com
Asia stocks fall
BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stock markets fell today as investors waited for the U.S. Federal Reserve to telegraph what it plans to do next with its economic stimulus program.
BC-US--Dow Record-Three Personal Stories, 1st Ld-Writethru,1173
Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
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By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. ...
IN THE NEWS: iPHONE RECOVERED AFTER THEFT IN OREGON
MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) -- A smartphone, plus a not-so-smart criminal -- equals an arrest in Oregon.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- George Washington University students will soon be walking all over the White House and the Capitol, too.