Over the weekend, it became illegal to unlock and freely use one of the most important pieces of technology you own: your cell phone. A repercussion of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act is that it’s up to the Library of Congress to determine what parts of copyright law are exempt. And until Saturday, Americans were allowed to do what they pleased with their phones.
Bureaucrats at the Library of Congress intentionally allowed this provision of the onerous DMCA to lapse, preventing Americans from using technology that they buy as they intend to. Derek Khanna over at The Atlantic details why conservatives should be afraid:
Conservatives should be leading the discussion on fixing this problem. Conservatives are understandably skeptical of agencies and unelected bureaucrats wielding a large amount of power to regulate, and are proponents of solutions like the REINS Act (which has over 121 co-sponsors). However, if Congress truly wants to rein in the power of unelected bureaucrats, then they must first write laws in a narrow manner and avoid the need for intervention by the Librarian of Congress to avoid draconian consequences, such as making iPhone jail-breakers and smartphone un-lockers criminals, or taking away readable books for the blind.