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Genachowski to investigate smartphone unlock ban

Smartphone fans around the country have been in an uproar ever since a ban was placed on a user's ability to unlock their own mobile phone on January 26. Apparently, the ban didn't put limits on carriers being able to unlock their devices, but individuals cracking their phone to operate on other networks was forbidden.

The FCC has now promised to investigate whether the ban is harmful to market competitiveness. The FCC also plans to see if the executive branch has the authority to change the law.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told TechCrunch, "[The] ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns."

Prior to the ban going into effect, customers were allowed to unlock their smartphones, allowing users to switch carriers and keep the device they had already purchased. Smartphones were exempted from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has a provision placing a ban on the circumvention of copy protection schemes.
 
Now, smartphone owners who use unauthorized methods to unlock their devices open themselves up to potential legal penalty.

Genachowski said, "It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones."

Source: TechCrunch



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Duh.
By Motoman on 3/1/2013 10:06:59 AM , Rating: 5
Like the DMCA itself, this is just one more law bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists that serves no purpose other than to be wildly abusive of the consumer.

Death to fascism. Outlaw lobbying.




RE: Duh.
By TheEinstein on 3/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Duh.
By Motoman on 3/1/2013 10:28:59 AM , Rating: 5
The government is ridiculously larger than any logic would have it be. However, lobbying most certainly is at fault - without lobbying, the industry's money wouldn't have a way to funnel into legislature and purchase such laws.


RE: Duh.
By integr8d on 3/1/2013 11:13:07 AM , Rating: 4
"The FCC also plans to see if the executive branch has the authority to change the law."

No surprise there.


RE: Duh.
By Einy0 on 3/1/2013 11:41:11 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly...


RE: Duh.
By Amedean on 3/1/2013 6:09:33 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The government is ridiculously larger than any logic would have it be.


Not agreeing or disagreeing but how big is it? What is the ideal ratio of government employees to population?

The reason I asked is because if you do not know what that ideal level is......well you wont know when to stop complaining and nothing will be good enough.


RE: Duh.
By JediJeb on 3/1/2013 9:54:47 PM , Rating: 3
566 government employees total should be enough.


RE: Duh.
By idiot77 on 3/4/2013 5:42:15 AM , Rating: 2
Dumbest thing I've heard. "End fascism" but then make a comment that says turn over every non-elected position to them.

Then again, poverty of thought when it comes to government is pretty common here on DT since the moron Libertarians took over the site shortly after launch, with regard to comments.... and most of the bloggers.


RE: Duh.
By tng on 3/4/2013 9:40:37 AM , Rating: 2
While lobbying is a issue, I would say that the real problem is quoted in the story...

quote:
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told TechCrunch, "[The] ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns."
Do any of these people get it? It is not about competition or innovation, it is about the freedom of the individual to do what they want with their personal property!


RE: Duh.
By MadMan007 on 3/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: Duh.
By nolisi on 3/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: Duh.
By RufusM on 3/1/2013 1:18:31 PM , Rating: 5
The thing is, the number of Federal Government employees per-capita has gone down: from ~13% in 1963 to ~8.4% in 2010.

Having said that the amount of Federal Government spending as a percentage of GDP has steadily increased, with the exception of a huge spike during WW2 and very slight decrease in the recent recession.

So, the Federal Government is actually hiring less people (in real dollars) but is spending much more money. This is a result of mainly increased spending on: military spending, subsidies and entitlement programs.

So basically, the Federal Government keeps taking more and more of the pie per working adult, spending it on:

1. Killing people and occupying other countries...I mean making us more safe (wink, wink, nudge nudge)
2. Giving it to people who haven't earned it.
3. Giving it to people who haven't earned it.

Thanks feds!

Oh yeah, I didn't mention State Government, who by far the largest employer in each of their respective states with few exceptions. Yay...moar gub'ment please!!


RE: Duh.
By Solandri on 3/1/2013 6:51:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The thing is, the number of Federal Government employees per-capita has gone down: from ~13% in 1963 to ~8.4% in 2010.

So, the Federal Government is actually hiring less people (in real dollars) but is spending much more money. This is a result of mainly increased spending on: military spending, subsidies and entitlement programs.

Military spending in 1963 was about 9% of GDP. It's currently about 4.5% of GDP. So military spending is actually the biggest source of decreased government spending in the time period you specify.
http://www.americanthinker.com/Defense%20Spending....

Nate Silver, who was widely championed by the left and lauded for his accurate predictions of the last election, wrote on the topic recently. He's a numbers guy so calls it as the numbers say, regardless of politics.
http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/1...

Basically entitlements and Customs/law enforcement are up. Everything else (including military spending) is down.


RE: Duh.
By EricMartello on 3/1/2013 5:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I love this senseless "cut the government's size" theory. Cutting the government's size only allows groups with immense amounts of money to spend their money controlling society in other ways.


You say that but you don't seem to understand what people mean when they say they want to move away from big government. It's not about the physical size of the government, i.e. how many employees it has. Reducing the size of government is about limiting the SCOPE of the government and its authority.

Lobbying is a detriment to everyone except the small clique in DC who benefit from the legislation, favors and exemptions they gain by contributing large amounts of money to politicians' campaigns or associated PACs.

We really do need to dial down the size of the federal government and as part of that process, limit their ability to pass "special interest" legislature by allowing the public to "veto" bullsh1t laws by referendum like the DMCA, ACTA, CISPA or whatever other garbage these scumbags are pushing.


RE: Duh.
By Wolfpup on 3/1/2013 9:01:31 PM , Rating: 1
Oh man, fundamentalist wacky "libertarian"-ism. Yes, somehow making the government (i.e., us) less powerful will make corporations umm...wait, how's that work? LOL If we just weaken our power, then somehow magically...uh...corporations will just start being nicer and allow you to change carriers easier?

I love the phrasing about whether locking affects competition. Could not being able to change carriers as easily affect competition? Nah ;)


RE: Duh.
By Schadenfroh on 3/1/2013 10:34:55 AM , Rating: 2
I'm game if we also ban lobbying by labor unions (they can become just as corrupt as corporations given enough power / money) and whatever groups pay to bus working age folks in from outside the beltway to protest in DC during the workweek. I fear many might protest for a living...


RE: Duh.
By Motoman on 3/1/2013 1:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
All lobbying should be illegal. Including that from unions...which, by the way, should also be illegal.

There should be no way for money to exchange hands from interest groups or individuals to elected officials...either as cash, gifts, services, whatever. Funds donated to campaigns can only be spent on actual campaign expenses...that's it.

If we did this, there might be a chance that you'd actually elect people into Congress that are concerned about the welfare of their constituents. People who aren't corrupt, and won't be party to corruption elsewhere in the government.

We can always dream.


RE: Duh.
By Jeffk464 on 3/1/2013 1:35:19 PM , Rating: 2
Good luck, the vary special interest groups you are talking about will absolutely not let that happen.


RE: Duh.
By Motoman on 3/1/2013 3:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
Of course not. You know why? Lobbying. Which is the very mechanism that purchases congresscritters and legislation in the first place.

The cycle would have to be broken outside of that vicious circle...like, from the judiciary, or maybe somehow from the executive. Because congresscritters aren't going to vote themselves out of payola.


RE: Duh.
By EricMartello on 3/1/2013 5:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The cycle would have to be broken outside of that vicious circle...like, from the judiciary, or maybe somehow from the executive. Because congresscritters aren't going to vote themselves out of payola.


People would need to make a lot of noise about this and really pressure their elected representatives to do something. At the end of the day, lobbyists tend to press for legislature that allows them to make more money so the laws are not directly affecting peoples' lives.

Nobody spends millions to lobby for a law that would make it illegal for women to drive, even though you could, because there would be no return on that money spent (aside from fewer collisions; but then big insurance would be opposing this). Industry groups do spend a lot of money to buy laws that require "licensing" for industries that really shouldn't have that burden.

Hair stylists, for instance, need to be licensed because handling a pair of scissors or hair clipper is something only a trained professional should be able to do.

Dieticians also need to be licensed even though the underlying "diet industry" is largely based on a combination of snake oil and pseudo-science.

These are the kinds of laws that lobbyists typically pay for because it lets them control their market, manage profits and keep new startups from getting a slice of the pie. Large corporations lobby for similar reasons and have a full-time staff devoted to this.


RE: Duh.
By Jeffk464 on 3/1/2013 8:46:02 PM , Rating: 2
sounds about right


RE: Duh.
By Dorkyman on 3/1/2013 2:15:43 PM , Rating: 2
Lobbying should be illegal? Why? Whenever there are two or more people involved, there's going to be politics.

Saying "no lobbying" is like saying "it will be sunny every day and rain only at night." Ain't gonna happen.


RE: Duh.
By Motoman on 3/1/2013 3:14:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lobbying should be illegal? Why?


Because of what I said before:

quote:
There should be no way for money to exchange hands from interest groups or individuals to elected officials...either as cash, gifts, services, whatever.


Lobbying does nothing but corrupt the politics that, as noted, will always be there. The only upside in lobbying is fattening the wallet of the politician and promoting the desires of a corporation or special interest group, whether or not such desires are consistent with the welfare of the country.


RE: Duh.
By Solandri on 3/1/2013 6:57:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think lobbying is fine. But if you can't vote, you shouldn't be able to lobby. If a company thinks a law is bad, it tells its employees how bad it will be for their jobs, and they will call their representatives to complain about it. If a union things a law is bad, it tells its members, who will call their representatives to complain about it.

No hiring lobbyists either. It's supposed to be one person, one vote. Not one dollar, one vote.


RE: Duh.
By Motoman on 3/2/2013 9:53:29 AM , Rating: 2
...what you've described is outlawing lobbying.

An individual constituent picking up the phone and calling their congresscritter with their concerns isn't lobbying. It's your congresscritter doing their job.


RE: Duh.
By Reclaimer77 on 3/2/2013 1:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
And who the fuck is going to enforce this ban? The same people who sit by and watch our Politicians break every law and piss on the Constitution on a daily basis?


RE: Duh.
By Reclaimer77 on 3/1/2013 2:37:19 PM , Rating: 2
So taxation without representation?

I would like to believe a middle ground could be reached. Not all lobbying is harmful. Some protect our rights, like the NRA/gun lobby.


RE: Duh.
By Solandri on 3/1/2013 7:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
That's the flip side of removing corporate influence from government. Eliminate corporate taxes. Pass or firm up laws which prohibit (or make or make it difficult for) someone to live vicariously through a corporation (i.e. the company pays their living and travel expenses). All taxes should fall directly on the voters, so they can see in their paychecks exactly how much of the economy the government takes up. No more hiding taxes in the increased cost of goods and services by shifting it to corporations.

Lobbying by the NRA or ACLU is unnecessary. If there's a bill they're concerned about, they just have to send out a bulletin to their members (super-easy now with the Internet). And the members who feel it is important enough will call their representatives to complain/support.


RE: Duh.
By JediJeb on 3/1/2013 10:16:35 PM , Rating: 2
That would be the ideal way to do things. Only allow lobbyists to lobby the population, not the politicians directly.


RE: Duh.
By Jeffk464 on 3/1/2013 1:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
Public unions are just another special interest group, basically doing the same lobbying crap.


RE: Duh.
By CZroe on 3/1/2013 12:45:33 PM , Rating: 2
"fascism?"

Actually, lobbyist are a powerful few while we are the bundle of sticks hoping to be stronger when united together against them. Look up the definition.


RE: Duh.
By Motoman on 3/1/2013 3:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
Uh-huh. And how has that worked out so far?


RE: Duh.
By Reclaimer77 on 3/1/2013 3:41:19 PM , Rating: 2
Traditionally quite well. What's happened is that basically the last three Presidents have been deep into Cronyism. And the size and power of the Government has quadrupled.

Exclusively blaming lobbying or lobbyist isn't constructive, you need to widen your scope bro.

The Founders really knew what they were doing when they set this nation up. It's too bad we don't adhere to the Constitution. It's a lot easier to "bribe" one Senator today than it was to bribe 30 or 50 Governors and legislatures in the past. As you increase the scale of the Federal Government, you increase lobbying as well.


RE: Duh.
By stilltrying on 3/1/2013 9:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the bundle of sticks with the ax on top that is actually in congrass on each side of the podium and on the dime


RE: Duh.
By S2 on 3/3/2013 7:28:22 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, outlaw lobbying. But if we did that, how would politicians know which way to vote?


Smart phones, dumb politicians
By dbeers on 3/1/2013 10:38:18 AM , Rating: 2
The biggest problem is you've got a body of politicians that are enacting laws on subjects they don't understand. Whether it's cell phones, computers, software, healthcare, or guns, most just don't understand the current technology or live in the real world like the rest of us.

If cell phone companies are allowed to lock down a phone during the contract period, they should be required BY LAW to unlock it at the end of that contract period, once the contract is done and the phone is paid off. Not doing this is essentially digital slavery.




RE: Smart phones, dumb politicians
By fleshconsumed on 3/1/2013 11:52:02 AM , Rating: 5
No, they should unlock it at any time during the contract, or better yet not lock it in the first place. Reason being is even if the customer terminates the contract he will pay hefty ETF fee that will make up for the phone subsidy. Either way the customer pays full price for his phone, whether by staying on the contract for 2 years, or by paying ETF, so there shouldn't even be a "locking" debate, the device should be unlocked to begin with.


By Jeffk464 on 3/1/2013 1:37:26 PM , Rating: 3
Like you said CONTRACT, the cell phone companies are already protected by your 2 year contract. They really have no reason to justify locking down the phone that you physically own.


RE: Smart phones, dumb politicians
By drycrust3 on 3/1/2013 4:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No, they should unlock it at any time during the contract, or better yet not lock it in the first place.

The problem with your argument is that when a person gets a "free" phone as part of a contracted period of time, during the contracted time the phone isn't the customer's, it is the phone company's phone.
One understandable consequence of letting someone walk out of the phone company office with a (arguably) valuable phone is the risk to the phone company of the customer not abiding by the terms of the contract e.g. they don't pay their monthly account on time. One of the few methods the phone company has of encouraging customers to actually pay is the phone company's ability to stop phones being used. For a customer to want to use a contracted phone on another network, that would mean the owning network would want the ability to request the "another network" to restrict services to that phone in the event of a customer not continuing paying for their phone. Even if this was legal, it would mean the customer would be paying two monthly accounts instead of just one.


By Solandri on 3/2/2013 4:05:08 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The problem with your argument is that when a person gets a "free" phone as part of a contracted period of time, during the contracted time the phone isn't the customer's, it is the phone company's phone.

When you buy a car with a "no money down" loan, the bank giving you the loan doesn't require you to use only their approved service and gas stations.

quote:
One understandable consequence of letting someone walk out of the phone company office with a (arguably) valuable phone is the risk to the phone company of the customer not abiding by the terms of the contract e.g. they don't pay their monthly account on time.

Banks and companies that make auto loans and home mortgages face the same problem. But they've found lots of ways to deal with it without requiring the car or home buyer to buy services only from their pre-approved list.

The carriers are trying to have their cake and eat it too. They want to pretend they're selling you a phone so you bear the end of life costs when the phone is obsolete. But they simultaneously want to treat it as if they're leasing it to you by controlling what you do with it once your contract is up.

They can't have it both ways. If they want to make it a leased phone and keep it locked to themselves after your contract is up, I have no problem with it. But they should be required to market it as a lease so the price people are willing to pay is lower than if it's a purchase.


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