Skip to comments.It's Time to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking
Posted on 03/04/2013 2:17:25 PM PST by FewsOrange
This is the Offical White House Response to the Cell Phone unlocking petition
Official White House Response to Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal. It's Time to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking
By R. David Edelman
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 White House's position detailed in this response builds on some critical thinking done by the President's chief advisory Agency on these matters: the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). For more context and information on the technical aspects of the issue, you can review the NTIA's letter to the Library of Congress' Register of Copyrights (.pdf), voicing strong support for maintaining the previous exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for cell phone carrier unlocking.
Contrary to the NTIA's recommendation, the Librarian of Congress ruled that phones purchased after January of this year would no longer be exempted from the DMCA. The law gives the Librarian the authority to establish or eliminate exceptions -- and we respect that process. But it is also worth noting the statement the Library of Congress released today on the broader public policy concerns of the issue. Clearly the White House and Library of Congress agree that the DMCA exception process is a rigid and imperfect fit for this telecommunications issue, and we want to ensure this particular challenge for mobile competition is solved.
So where do we go from here?
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.
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.
R. David Edelman is Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, & Privacy
If you've paid a low price for a phone it is because the price is being subsidized by the cell phone company because they tie your purchase of the phone at a cheap rate to the service. I see nothing at all wrong with this.
If you want to pay FULL PRICE for a phone, sure, you should be able to use it on any service. But if you get your phone free or at a severe discount because it is tied to the service, you should be required to KEEP that service for the length of the contract.
First, it’s “unlocking”, not “unblocking”. Next, it has nothing to do with the contract which the customer is still obligated to honor.
Anybody can buy an unlocked phone at anytime. The locked phones come as a package deal, so like most Goobermint idiocy this will accomplish nothing but cause the price of phones to go up.
If you can’t lock them, then they will all be unlocked, and cost the full price. Like everything Barry does, net ZERO gain.
All locked phones were is a way to get people without enough money to by the phone they wanted to go ahead and get it and bury the paymments out over time.
Once long ago, and far away there was a land of the free and home of the brave that had presidents that were presidential.
Now in the land of the Fee and home of the Knave, all the president and his men play with cell phone laws and seat belts on bicycles.
I am trying to figure out what any of this has to do with Obama’s constitutional obligations.??
What is this constitution of which you speak?
Vague memory...just rambling.
UnLOCKing..not unblocking..only gives the owner admin level access to the phone allowing you to install custom OS systems and apps. The carrier loses nothing and risks nothing when patrons do that. If something happens to the phone insurance doesnt even cover it because its unlocked.If someon buys a phone on contract then reneges on the contract then they pay the etf which usually covers the cost of the phone. Frankly the carriers have no business telling somebody what they can do with a phone..they are just being ignorant and greedy because they think the owner should pay for tethering services.
No all locked phones are a way to get more money out of people..not sell phones for less. They dont want people installing apps they dont approve of..thats it.
If you’re ever in Berlin, go to Sonnenallee. Find any Turkish or Arab electronics store (trust me - you can’t walk 20 feet without seeing one) and ask them to unlock your phone.
Ten minutes and ten euro later, you’re good to go.
I’ve never bought a locked phone in Continental Europe: I think it’s actually illegal per EU consumer law.
Two of the first things I did with my iPhone was “Jailbreak” it, the second was to Unlock it.
After paying a large monthly fee and being locked in to a 2-year contract, the third thing I did was drop AT&T when my contract was up.
I now outright own an LG Spirit smart phone.
Dual-Core, 1.5Ghz Snapdragon CPU, 1GB RAM, 4GB of storage upgradable to 36GB with a $25.00, 32GB Micro SD card, Full HD video, 4.5” screen, 5MP Camera w/LED Flash, Android ICS O/S, etc.. - all for just $200.00 after a $70.00 rebate.
And I can sell it if I want to upgrade to some other phone whenever I want.
And unlike an iPhone, I can easily and inexpensively replace the battery and as mentioned, I can upgrade the storage capacity inexpensively as well - two things you can’t do with an iPhone.
I also switched to Metro PCS and my monthly, no-contract bill for Unlimited Calls, Unlimited Texts, 500 MB of Data and fast 4GLTE service is $30.00 total per month which is saving me $50.00 a month over my service with AT&T and no dropped calls like I had with AT&T
Note that this is not a sales pitch nor do I have any affiliation with LG or Metro, but I wanted to share information that can save cell phone users a good $600.00 a year without sacrificing service or having to settle for a lousy phone.
Contracts are a rip-off and you are basically stuck with a carrier for 2-years and they own the phone, not you and if you have service problems or move someplace with no or bad reception, you’re SOL
If you’ve paid a low price for a phone it is because the price is being subsidized by the cell phone company because they tie your purchase of the phone at a cheap rate to the service.
No you paid a lower price because you also had to sign on for two years with a hard biting early out penalty. Once you are out of contract, you should be able to use your phone on any network you like.
It was explained to me by customer service that Qwest customers on the Sprint network were given the very lowest priority, so that any time a tower was filled to capacity we were the first to be bumped off. For months we were promised that the situation would improve soon.
I assumed that if we went switched to Sprint which meant we would have to pay nearly twice as much per month that at least we would get better service. I also assumed that we would be able to use our expensive Qwest phones. Our service did improve, but Sprint said that they could not allow us to use our Qwest phones because of an agreement that the two companies had made to help prevent Qwest customers whose contracts were up from switching to Sprint. It was apparently part of the tower sale agreement. So we had to buy new phones to use the same network.
We purchased another set of expensive phones, and our service improved immediately. I still have those expensive old phones sitting in a closet and I am still mad about it. That is what this “unlocking” thing is about... keeping customers who own their phones and are out of contract from switching to the up and coming pay as you go providers.
There is no “good” or “fair” deal with cell phones, period regardless of the company.
Yeah, its hard to not agree having instant communication is good thing, just can not figure out how anyone got by before.
I refuse to buy in on the Smart Phone craze. My business in sales makes timely communication essential, but why the hell anyone thinks they can not live without texting, getting emails on the second or apps and incessantly photographing every possible thing is beyond me.