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The bill follows a promising response from the White House to a petition for cell phone unlocking

Well, that was fast: a bill to once again make it legal for consumers to unlock their cell phones was introduced yesterday, after the White House sided with a petition just earlier this week.

Democrats and Republicans alike have backed the new measure. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have joined Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) in pushing the Wireless Consumer Choice Act, which would make sure users have the option to unlock their cell phones and switch carriers if they please.

“Consumers who have purchased a mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service contract, should be able to use it on another network,” said Blumenthal. “This legislation is common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring healthy competition in the market.”


Earlier this week, the White House addressed a petition called "It's Time to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking" on its We the People site. The petition collected 114,000+ signatures, and received a promising answer from the White House.

"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," said the official White House response.

"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."

Source: All Things D



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RE: This doesn't make sense
By Spookster on 3/8/2013 1:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
Ok maybe that's the part i'm missing. So even if you leave and pay the ETF which covers the remaining cost of the phone the phone is still locked to them so you can't use it with your new service provider? So if this legislation then forces them to allow you to unlock the phone so you can use it with the new provider then that only seems fair.


RE: This doesn't make sense
By Rukkian on 3/8/2013 2:05:54 PM , Rating: 4
You are correct. The reason this is even an issue, is that somebody at the FCC got paid off by the wireless duopolies in the US to make it illegal to ever unlock your phone without express permission from the original provider. This made it so that even if you did you full contract (or paid the etf), if the provider said no, you could not legally unlock your phone.

This pissed off quite a few people that then started the petition.


RE: This doesn't make sense
By wookie1 on 3/8/2013 3:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
Incorrect, the library of congress is responsible for this one(!). Somehow, they are in charge of allowing exceptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and they elected not to exclude cellphones anymore.

I think that this is just a band-aid. A better solution would be to repeal the DMCA. That won't happen due to MPAA and RIAA lobbying and substantial donations to lawmakers and the president.


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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