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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:52 PM   #1
MacRumors
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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co-founder of OpenSignal, is protesting the new law with a whitehouse.gov petition calling for the decision to be rescinded.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, 02:55 PM   #4
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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, 02:55 PM   #5
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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   #6
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 02:59 PM   #7
abhishake
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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, 03:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MultiMediaWill View Post
Seriously it's just a phone. Doesn't the US government have better things to worry about?
If it's just a phone, then why make unlocking it illegal?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MultiMediaWill View Post
Seriously it's just a phone. Doesn't the US government have better things to worry about?
The government/lobbiests is the reason unlocking your phone is now illegal....
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:04 PM   #10
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If you've paid it off, it's yours. How is it that a telecom company can tell you what network you can use YOUR device with?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:04 PM   #11
runeapple
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And they have time to police this how?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lesser Evets View Post
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, 03:04 PM   #13
dusk007
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I don't get why need it to be illegal. They could just make the contract exit so expensive that it isn't worth it. You gradually pay off the phone and if you exit in the first few month you pay extra or hand the hardware back.

It is done already they don't need to criminalize anything. In any case I doubt the ban would deter anyone anyway. In some european contracts it is said to be illegal and nobody cares. If it is possible, people end up doing it.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:05 PM   #14
Codyak
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I already went around AT&T to get my phone unlocked for overseas, but signed this anyway. The fact an 83 year old Reagan appointee was the final say in this blows my mind, half the people over 65 I know barely understand how to turn a phone on or off.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:07 PM   #15
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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   #16
iMikeT
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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, 03:14 PM   #17
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I understand that a carrier will want a phone locked (hence you have a subsidised phone) so that you use it on their network alone and not use another.

However, if you sign up for a contract of say 18 months to 2 years, you are paying for the phone anyway. So why the fuss if you unlock it and use another carriers SIM? You will still need to pay for the initial contract which allowed you the subsidised phone, so you would be paying twice in any case.... Right?


So why the need to make it illegal to unlock your own phone?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:15 PM   #18
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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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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhishake View Post
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
I wish this offer was open to more than just ATT. I have Sprint and they won't unlock it for international use until I've met some criteria.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:19 PM   #20
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Think of the Children!

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Originally Posted by AppleMark View Post
So why the need to make it illegal to unlock your own phone?
We must protect the people... from themselves! Also, won't someone please think of the children?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:24 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiantech View Post
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.
It's just nutty that they have the opinion that you should be locked in because you will incur additional fees from the use of their network which they depend on. You're only obligated to your signup fees and your monthly bill. Paying that should be the end of your obligations to them. You own the device.

They think they are legally due your patronage. That's like saying I have to go to the Ford dealership for oil changes instead of Jiffy Lube. Lame.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:28 PM   #22
surma884
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I signed the petition.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:37 PM   #23
Daalseth
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Wrong Target

What should be ILLEGAL is locking phones at all.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:37 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by MultiMediaWill View Post
Seriously it's just a phone. Doesn't the US government have better things to worry about?
How corporations and citizens interact is exactly what I want my government thinking about.


Helluva lot more useful than having them decide who I can marry, what drugs I can take, and what I'm allowed to say on the radio.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 03:39 PM   #25
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I'll never understand America and its 'freedom'

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