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  • The White House: "It's Time to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking"


    Back in February, more than 114,000 people signed a White House petition to make unlocking cell phones manufactured after a certain date legal again in the United States. The White House has officially responded, and with great news!

    The White House agrees with the 114,000 people that want to make unlocking cell phones legal. In fact, they think consumers should be able to do the same with their tablets:

    Thank you for sharing your views on cell phone unlocking with us through your petition on our We the People platform. Last week the White House brought together experts from across government who work on telecommunications, technology, and copyright policy, and we're pleased to offer our response.

    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 Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation.

    We also believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its responsibility for promoting mobile competition and innovation, has an important role to play here. FCC Chairman Genachowski today voiced his concern about mobile phone unlocking (.pdf), and to complement his efforts, NTIA will be formally engaging with the FCC as it addresses this urgent issue.

    Finally, we would encourage mobile providers to consider what steps they as businesses can take to ensure that their customers can fully reap the benefits and features they expect when purchasing their devices.
    To read the rest of the official response to the petition trying to make unlocking cell phones legal, you can head over to the official petition page via this link.

    It would appear that the petition, created by Sina Khanifar, has made a solid impact. Huge props to Sina, whom we've been working with for a long time - since the days of TheMotoGuide.com!

    All cell phone owners in the United States will have benefits to gain from this... Customers 1, carriers 0.

    Sources: Whitehouse.gov
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The White House: "It's Time to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking" started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. iRevival's Avatar
      iRevival -
      Quote Originally Posted by LearningMan View Post
      I really don't understand what everybody seems to have a case of the *** over to begin with. Most phones sold by the major carriers are subsidized. When these subsidies have been fulfilled, a phone can be freely unlocked. At least with an iPhone, which is the focus of this board, it's as easy as requesting it from your carrier, confirmation that your contract has been fulfilled, and releasing it to be unlocked by iTunes. I've done it twice.

      If you want to buy and unlocked phone to begin with, you can, at full retail price.

      I'm not sure what I'm missing here. If you guys think you are going to get unlocked iPhones for $199 out of the 'chute, you are sadly mistaken. Your beloved Apple is going to get their money, one way or another. You guys are headed down the path of unsubsidized phones and only being able to buy them at full retail to begin with.

      Be careful what you wish for.
      +1. But getting this point across is a waste of breath. At least is has for me. Of the only thing the carrier has to keep you in your contract is an ETF why would they offer subsidized phones? My guess is, they won't.
    1. teej1410's Avatar
      teej1410 -
      The reason they even tried to ban cell phone unlocking is stupid. You would still have to pay the monthly fee from your cell company if you unlocked it.
    1. regkilla's Avatar
      regkilla -
      Quote Originally Posted by iM1sf1t View Post
      Or you can buy an on contract iPhone 5 from Verizon and it will come unlocked...
      Verizon iPhone 5 FTW
    1. Feanor64's Avatar
      Feanor64 -
      Quote Originally Posted by teej1410 View Post
      The reason they even tried to ban cell phone unlocking is stupid. You would still have to pay the monthly fee from your cell company if you unlocked it.
      no you wouldnt if it was unlocked u could just suspend the line of service and pay 9.99 a month and then pop in a sim of your choice....
    1. Nayan712's Avatar
      Nayan712 -
      I feel weirdly awesome to have contributed among the 114,000+
    1. Mrteacup's Avatar
      Mrteacup -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rcworship View Post
      This must be about jailbreaking too, since tablets were mentioned. It would appear to follow logically...
      Tablets use carriers. Unlocking is NOT a security flaw, jailbreaking is. I'm 100% for jailbreaking but its 300% legal for apple to keep updating its iOS and patching exploits.
    1. MXCO's Avatar
      MXCO -
      Anyone know if this mean AT&T and straight talk working together again?
    1. sheon's Avatar
      sheon -
      Contract or not its my phone I dont want it locked simple as that if i wanna travel overseas and use my phone i should be more then welcome to i dont need no stupid *** carrier locking

      such as my PS VITA which is locked to ******* AT&T and AT&T and sony dont even know how to ******* unlock it -_-

      cellphone locking needs to be illegal if companies are worried about some guy walking in the store and buying 5 iPhones then selling them on eBay they maybe there need to better train there staff on how to avoid that.... its not or fault it Happens

      being from Hawaii and having many tourist come in with there phones to use them there carriers such as vodaphone Austailla have no problem unlocking the phone u go online click unlock done

      but no greedy companys like AT&T only want u to use service with them no one else

      i hope they revoke this stupid *** law and let us do what we want with or phones
    1. steeda763's Avatar
      steeda763 -
      Quote Originally Posted by sheon View Post
      Contract or not its my phone I dont want it locked simple as that if i wanna travel overseas and use my phone i should be more then welcome to i dont need no stupid *** carrier locking

      such as my PS VITA which is locked to ******* AT&T and AT&T and sony dont even know how to ******* unlock it -_-

      cellphone locking needs to be illegal if companies are worried about some guy walking in the store and buying 5 iPhones then selling them on eBay they maybe there need to better train there staff on how to avoid that.... its not or fault it Happens

      being from Hawaii and having many tourist come in with there phones to use them there carriers such as vodaphone Austailla have no problem unlocking the phone u go online click unlock done

      but no greedy companys like AT&T only want u to use service with them no one else

      i hope they revoke this stupid *** law and let us do what we want with or phones
      Your lack of punctuation makes my head hurt and your response unreadable.
    1. Sage I's Avatar
      Sage I -
      Quote Originally Posted by steeda763 View Post
      Your lack of punctuation makes my head hurt and your response unreadable.
      Hawaii has the worst public education in the nation... For someone from Hawaii that wasn't half bad... Anyways, hooray for a petition that got a positive response from the FEDS... LAWS! Crazy ish dem laws...