The rule was put in place last year by the Library of Congress, which can amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Reads the rule (via CNet):
...with respect to new wireless handsets, there are ample alternatives to circumvention. That is, the marketplace has evolved such that there is now a wide array of unlocked phone options available to consumers. While it is true that not every wireless device is available unlocked, and wireless carriers' unlocking polices are not free from all restrictions, the record clearly demonstrates that there is a wide range of alternatives from which consumers may choose in order to obtain an unlocked wireless phone.
Since there are so many unlocked options now, the Library says there should be little reason to unlock your own carrier-purchased devices.
Not all is lost, however, as any phone purchased before today is still okay to be unlocked with no repercussions.
Written by: Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2013 9:19