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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
Miss. chooses new firm to run Woodville prison
May 18, 2013 20:50 GMT
WOODVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi officials have picked a new company to run the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.
Utah-based Management and Training Corp. announced Friday that the Mississippi Department of Corrections has chosen it to run the 1,000-bed prison starting July 1, the Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/10MvOGv).
Corrections Corporation of America, based in Nashville, Tenn., had run the prison since 1998. MTC says it will keep "the vast majority" of employees.
MTC will get a five-year contract to run the prison with two one-year options. Last year, officials chose MTC to take over East Mississippi Correctional Facility, the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility and the Marshall County Correctional Facility from the GEO Group. MTC won 10-year contracts for each.
CCA still runs the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility and the Adams County Correctional Center in Mississippi.
Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/
Gauge of US economy's future health up in April
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A measure of the U.S. economy's future health rose in solidly in April, buoyed by a sharp rise in applications to build new homes and apartments.
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: LABOR GROUP SAYS CONDITIONS AT APPLE PLANTS IMPROVING
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A labor group Apple joined to assess working conditions at three manufacturing plants in China, where its products are made, says conditions are getting better.
ON THIN ICE?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- He was already on thin ice with the law when he failed to meet the conditions of his probation.