In a shocking move, AT&T has filed a lawsuit against a phone unlocking company Swift Unlocks and its own employees (former) who were allegedly claimed to install malware on the carrier’s computer servers to illegally unlock thousands of smartphones for a fee.
In the last week, AT&T has filed a complaint in Seattle, Washington’s US District Court, claims that the company’s smartphone unlocking application “is vital to AT&T’s business because it allows AT&T to subsidize the cost of the phone to consumers while protecting AT&T’s investment in the phones through term contracts.”
The mobile phone unlocking related law was passed under the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act H.R. 1123. A majority of votes went in the favor of the motion and hence the bill was approved by the House of Representatives in 2014.
By unlocking the phone, users can use the device purchased from one carrier on other compatible networks. In the US, it’s legal to unlock consumers’ phones or pay any experts to do the task for them. For carriers, they have to unlock the devices for customers when subscribers have completed the installment plans or completely paid the device cost.
AT&T claimed in the lawsuit:
“The defendants perpetuated the Unlock Scheme by creating, distributing, and placing on AT&T’s computer systems a ‘malware’ program designed to fraudulently, and without authorization, transmit unlock requests that unlocked hundreds of thousands of phones from exclusive use on AT&T’s network.”
On Monday, US District Court has issued summons to the former AT&T employees as well as the unlocking company Swift Unlocks and gave them 21 days to respond to the filing. We tried to reach the defendant company to get details about the lawsuit, we haven’t received any replies so far.
During the trial, AT&T will be seeking financial damages from Swift Unlocks and three former employees. The amount will be determined at trial. The company is also planning to impose injunctions on Swift Unlocks to prevent them continuing the unlocking service mentioned in the lawsuit.
[ Source (pdf) ]