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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:52 PM   #1
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White House Petition Lobbies to Make Cell Phone Unlocking Legal




As of January 26, it is illegal for U.S. mobile phone users to unlock newly purchased cell phones without express permission from their cell phone carriers. Cell phone unlocking used to be possible as part of an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), but the exception ended following a ruling by the Library of Congress's Copyright Office in October of 2012.

Sina Khanifar, co-founder of OpenSignal, is protesting the new law with a whitehouse.gov petition calling for the decision to be rescinded. In 2004, Khanifar started Cell-Unlock.com, a business centered around unlocking mobile phones.

The site led to a cease and desist letter from Motorola, which was successfully nullified by the founder of Stanford's Cyberlaw Clinic, Jennifer Granick, who went on to lobby for the now-defunct DMCA exemption for unlocking phones.

As Khanifar mentions in his petition, the loss of the exemption hinders mobile phone users who wish to unlock their phones for use abroad and it also devalues the devices.
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Consumers will be forced to pay exorbitant roaming fees to make calls while traveling abroad. It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full.

The Libraran noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked.
Khanifar needs approximately 13,000 additional signatures on his petition, which ends on February 23, to receive a formal White House response. The White House has a policy of issuing a response to petitions that garner at least 100,000 signatures. The signatures do not guarantee a reversal of the policy, but they will ensure that the issue is officially addressed.

Though cell phone unlocking is now illegal on an individual basis for phones purchased after January 26, 2013, users are still able to have phones unlocked through carriers. Unlocked cell phones can also be purchased from carriers at unsubsidized prices.

Article Link: White House Petition Lobbies to Make Cell Phone Unlocking Legal
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:53 PM   #2
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Let the party begin!!
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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Govt cares about the Corporation. they do not care about people!. what is new?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 04:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by shanmugam View Post
Govt cares about the Corporation. they do not care about people!. what is new?
I disagree. Individuals care only for themselves, and that includes politicians. (Probably especially politicians.) Therefore, individuals in government will do what they think, in the long run, will maximize their benefit. Sometimes this means catering to corporations and their contributions, but other times it means pandering to individual voters to ensure re-election and the resulting continuing stream of income and influence.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 06:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by shanmugam View Post
Govt cares about the Corporation. they do not care about people!. what is new?
Not 100% correct, the government also cares about what polls well and helps their careers. If they can say they fixed this problem, which invariably will help children with Down's Syndrome, the elderly, and the poor, then they'll do it. Of course, this won't so they'll do everything they can do short of ignoring it.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 06:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by shanmugam View Post
Govt cares about the Corporation. they do not care about people!. what is new?
Politicians care about getting elected, and they don't get elected in the US without huge financial contributions from the wealthy and powerful. It's capitalism down to the very core, and while the system works better than many others, it can't be denied that money (and the power it brings) tends to corrupt.

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Originally Posted by TallManNY View Post
However, you have to acknowledge that at least initially when you get that cheap subsidized phone, that you owe something to cell phone company for that.
As others have already said, you owe them the agreed monthly payment over the full term of the contract, by which time they have been adequately compensated for the cost of the phone.

If carriers fear a loss of income from people using a second SIM when travelling (or whatever it is they fear), they have every right to (1) offer a more compelling service to compete, or (2) raise their prices to compensate—that's what a free market and fair competition is supposed to look like. That this level of control has been legislated by the mighty hand of the US government should be concerning to its citizens.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 06:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by shanmugam View Post
Govt cares about the Corporation. they do not care about people!. what is new?
I disagree.

Politics out of this forum?

I could, for example, presume you to be a tea party zealot, but I could be wrong...
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 06:39 PM   #8
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Steve wouldn't sign it.
Think of your Karma and Steve's ashes when you do sign it.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 08:50 PM   #9
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I disagree.

Politics out of this forum?

I could, for example, presume you to be a tea party zealot, but I could be wrong...
no politics, i lived in few countries other than USA, it is my phone, I can do whatever I want with it. I have paid $650 for unlocked phone, I have paid $199 for 2 year contract phone, i have done both ways!!!
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:55 PM   #10
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Aw. So cute... does anyone believe these "petitions" are going anywhere aside from in the trash?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:04 PM   #11
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Aw. So cute... does anyone believe these "petitions" are going anywhere aside from in the trash?
Well, the point is that if it gets to 100,000 signatures, the government under its own rules will have to respond. Now, whether they'll actually say anything in their response is another matter.

But they did come out firmly against building a Death Star, so there's that.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:42 PM   #12
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Well, the point is that if it gets to 100,000 signatures, the government under its own rules will have to respond…
I thought it was 25,000.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 04:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by WildCowboy View Post
Well, the point is that if it gets to 100,000 signatures, the government under its own rules will have to respond. Now, whether they'll actually say anything in their response is another matter.

But they did come out firmly against building a Death Star, so there's that.
Aren't we still waiting to see if they will declare WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) as a hate group? That got many more signatures than what was required.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 04:37 PM   #14
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89,700 and change already. I'm proud to be a part of this one.

Sign it!!!
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 06:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Lesser Evets View Post
Aw. So cute... does anyone believe these "petitions" are going anywhere aside from in the trash?
The White House responds to them - whether or not anything gets done is another question entirely, but they've been decent about reading and responding, which is more than the trash.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 07:50 PM   #16
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Aw. So cute... does anyone believe these "petitions" are going anywhere aside from in the trash?
Yeah heaven forbid someone takes a stand even if it likely won't be successful. Its people like you that just sit there and accept it why the government is able to slowly strip rights away.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 07:57 PM   #17
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Do people in America actually believe that carriers selling a subsidized phone are giving their customers something for free? Like they are saving money by buying a subsidized phone?
Seriously, I don't understand this.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 08:05 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Lesser Evets View Post
Aw. So cute... does anyone believe these "petitions" are going anywhere aside from in the trash?
Some of them get funny responses, like the proposal to build a Death Star.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 03:40 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Lesser Evets View Post
Aw. So cute... does anyone believe these "petitions" are going anywhere aside from in the trash?
I suspect not a lot of people will be re-visiting this thread, but for posterity's sake, read this:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/...eral-research/
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:55 PM   #20
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Seriously it's just a phone. Doesn't the US government have better things to worry about?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:59 PM   #21
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:59 PM   #22
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There's also this if you wanna unlock your phone for free after you sign the petition:

http://www.signunlockpetition.com/

The code's SWIFTUNLOCKS
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:07 PM   #23
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They are petitioning the wrong branch of gov't. They should be petitioning Congress as the Library of Congress Copyright Office oversees DMCA regulations. LOC is not part of the executive branch so not much the WH can directly do other than get on the bully pulpit, but I think the president has more pressing issues w/ the upcoming sequester days away
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:11 PM   #24
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As much as I would like to think this may be a glimmer of hope, this will probably make no difference because we have a government owned by these very corporations and the politicians in office are spineless to do anything about it.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:15 PM   #25
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I hate the argument of you can unlock it after your contract is up because they subsidize the phone. The problem is the cell companies charge an huge early termination fee for this reason. Charging twice for the same reason.
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