Hackers this week have broken iPhone’s SIM lock, enabling iPhone to be used on any compatible GSM carrier.
The SIM unlocking process, until now, has required disassembling iPhone and using a soldering iron to bypass parts of iPhone’s SIM verification system. However, the latest method employes purely software. In addition, it unlocks iPhone’s firmware, permitting the user to enable data services on providers other than AT&T. Much of the credit has gone to George Hotz, a 17 year old that posted the first videos and details of the breakthrough. However, Hotz’s process is not to be confused with newer, software-only unlocks. That credit goes to UniquePhones, a company that has promised to be first-to-market with a full unlocking procedure for months.
AT&T today however acted against such hackers, and has sent several cease-and-desist orders to all who have been associated with the (potentially) impending sale of the iPhone unlock process. UniquePhones has responded by delaying the release, while they evaluate their legal options.
This tactic by AT&T is clearly SLAPP-based. The U.S. Copyright Office has stated that SIM locks are not legally enforceable, and bypassing a SIM lock does not constitute a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). As such, regardless of the process employed, AT&T is simply using its legal team to delay, block, and threaten those that have been working for months to unlock iPhone.