White House Ready to Legalize Phone Unlocking
March 5, 2013 | 10:12 pm
The White House is supporting the consumers’ right to unlock their cellphones once they have fulfilled the terms of their contract.
In response to a petition on WhiteHouse.gov, the executive branch has stated that “The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network.”
Notice how they thought ahead and also included tablets in their decision?
The Librarian of Congress, who has authority over the matter, ruled last October that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act should be interpreted to mean that unauthorized cellphone unlocking was a violation. As of January 26, newly purchased phones can no longer legally be unlocked.
However, others have argued—and the White House appears to agree—that even those who buy a device initially locked to a carrier should be able to unlock it once they have fulfilled the terms of their contract.
The Obama administration supports a range of approaches to address the issue, but it will also take cooperation from the FCC and mobile providers so customers can reap the benefits.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the wireless and mobile phone industries, and most importantly you—the everyday consumers who stand to benefit from this greater flexibility—to ensure our laws keep pace with changing technology, protect the economic competitiveness that has led to such innovation in this space, and offer consumers the flexibility and freedoms they deserve.”