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Electronic Design

Teen Unlocks iPhone For Use With Other Networks

A 17-year-old from New Jersey has unlocked the Apple iPhone from AT&T's network, claiming the phone can be used with a sim card from any other network provider. George Hotz, of Glen Rock, demonstrated that his iPhone is currently running T-Mobile's service in a video he posted to YouTube. His mother, Marie Hotz, said her son's tinkering was a result of his desire to have an iPhone even though the family was on a T-Mobile family share plan. He didn't want to pay extra for AT&T's service, she said. While the hack will enable U.S. iPhone users to choose other wireless service providers besides AT&T, questions remain about its legality. In an article in the Bergen Record, Hotz said his work is legal under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998. The story quotes a Wired magazine report that says unlocking is permissible "for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network." Hotz worked on the project over the course of the summer with a team of other tech whizzes whom he only knew in the online world. He posted the instructions for the unlock on his blog, "I wish I had time right now to unlock iPhones for people, but even with this method it'll take me two hours per phone, and I'm leaving so soon," Hotz wrote on his blog. He leaves Saturday for the Rochester Institute of Technology. From school, he'll be monitoring the ebay auction of "the world's second unlocked iPhone," while carrying the first one in his pocket from class to class. "Coming into this project I didn't know that cell phones used at commands, or that there was a distinction between kernel/user space," Hotz wrote in his blog. "I had once in my life looked at ida before this, and found it too confusing. I still can't reverse well, but this is definitely something I want to learn. Thanks again everyone."

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