That decision was made not by voters, the courts, or even Congress. It was made by one man, 83-year-old Congressional Librarian James Hadley Billington, who is responsible for interpreting the meaning of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Billington decided last October that unlocking your phone yourself is a violation of the Act, which was originally written to prevent digital piracy.
When Billington made his decision, he also granted a 90-day exemption period in which people could still buy phones that they could later unlock, but only after asking their carrier to do it and getting “no” for an answer. That period ends Saturday. After that, the question of whether or not the smartphone you buy is truly your own gets a little fuzzy.
The idea that a decision that will affect so many, and involves so much money, could rest on a single unelected person is bizarre at best and absurd at worst.