White House Backs Petition in Support of Mobile Phone Unlocking

As of late January, it became illegal in the United States to unlock newly purchased mobile phones without carrier authorization. The decision, which came from the Librarian of Congress declining to issue an exemption for such activity under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, serves to restrict U.S. customers from shifting service to other carriers or using their devices abroad with local SIM cards.

itunes_iphone_unlocked
A "We the People" petition addressing the issue was quickly started, with the petition exceeding the 100,000 signatures required to receive a response from the White House. Less than two weeks after the petition period closed, White House advisor R. David Edelman has now issued an official response pledging support for the freedom to unlock not only mobile phones, but also tablets.

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. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs.

This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs -- even if it isn't the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility.

The response outlines a range of possible next steps to address the unlocking issue, including "narrow legislative fixes" to directly address the issue, working with the Federal Communications Commission on policies, and encouraging mobile phone carriers to loosen their restrictions against unlocking where needed.

In a press release, the Library of Congress defends its original decision, noting that it has a relatively narrowly defined role in deciding on exemptions based on the evidence presented to it by parties involved in the proposals. It notes that broader discussions of public policy need to be carried out at other levels and that such discussions can be sparked by the Library of Congress's decisions as occurred in this case.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

Coleman2010 Avatar
125 months ago
Yea conservative values!

/random :D
Conservatives are the ones backing making unlocking illegal. Serving their corporate masters.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
8281 Avatar
125 months ago
Conservatives are the ones backing making unlocking illegal. Serving their corporate masters.

If you think Democrats are immune from the influence of corporate money (especially regarding defense contracts and the jobs that depend on them), then I've got some news for you.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
baryon Avatar
125 months ago
If you are a carrier and you have to force people to use your service because otherwise they would leave, that just means you're a crap carrier. How about getting people to stay with you because they actually enjoy it, rather than making it illegal?

Sure, if you sign a 24 month contract, you'll have to pay that off. But what the hell does that have to do with locking you into that network? If you've paid off the 24 monthly payments, you own the device in full. And even before you've paid it off, why do you have to keep using that single carrier? You're paying monthly, aren't you, and you'll keep doing so for 2 years.

It's like buying a car on credit and only being allowed to drive it on certain roads, before or even after you've paid off the entire price.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Troneas Avatar
125 months ago
"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."


I thought the law only stipulates that you couldn't unlock it if you were in a contract agreement, which would be the same as this.


how does this position change the status quo?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
taptic Avatar
125 months ago
wow, like the government doesn't have anything better to worry about: :confused:

- education
- energy independence
- immigration reform
- ..... thousands more

* leave the customers/consumers alone and let them do with their phones as they please!
you worry about real issues! bunch of idiots!

Energy independence..... ha. The U.S. is floating on oil, and we want to make electric cars.... :p
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menge Avatar
125 months ago
Har:
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.
The bolded part is where users will get screwed. If you paid for your device, you should be able to use it anywhere, anytime. Enforce the service agreement or other stuff with termination/usage fees, not by locking the device down.

It's my personal belief that operators should sell only unlocked devices and if they want to lock the user down, do so via contracts and ETFs. THEN the user will be able to freely choose where his money goes.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
mx mechanical keyboard logitech

Logitech Launches New 'Designed for Mac' Mice and Keyboards

Wednesday September 28, 2022 12:01 am PDT by
Logitech today announced the launch of several new mice and keyboards that have been developed for use with Apple's Macs, including Logitech's first mechanical keyboard that has been optimized for the Mac. The MX Mechanical Mini for Mac Keyboard has a keyboard layout designed for Macs, with tools to customize shortcuts with Logi Options+. The keyboard uses Tactile Quiet low-profile switches...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...