White House Petition Lobbies to Make Cell Phone Unlocking Legal

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    [​IMG]


    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co-founder of OpenSignal, is protesting the new law with a whitehouse.gov petition calling for the decision to be rescinded.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.

    [​IMG]
    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.
    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
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    #2
    Let the party begin!!
    :D
     
  3. macrumors 68020

    shanmugam

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Blazer town!
    #3
    Govt cares about the Corporation. they do not care about people!. what is new?
     
  4. macrumors 68030

    Lesser Evets

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    #4
    Aw. So cute... does anyone believe these "petitions" are going anywhere aside from in the trash?
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #5
    Seriously it's just a phone. Doesn't the US government have better things to worry about?
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    #6
    87,885

    That's my number
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    #7
  8. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    #8
    If it's just a phone, then why make unlocking it illegal?
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    #9
    The government/lobbiests is the reason unlocking your phone is now illegal....
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2007
    #10
    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?
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    #11
    And they have time to police this how?
     
  12. Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #12
    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.
     
  13. macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #13
    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.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2012
    #14
    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.
     
  15. macrumors G4

    Chupa Chupa

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #15
    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
     
  16. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    AppleMark

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    The CCTV Capital of the World
    #17
    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?
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    #18
    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.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #19
    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.
     
  20. asr
    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    #20
    Think of the Children!

    We must protect the people... from themselves! Also, won't someone please think of the children?
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    phillipduran

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    Iowa
    #21
    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.
     
  22. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    #22
    I signed the petition.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    #23
    Wrong Target

    What should be ILLEGAL is locking phones at all.
     
  24. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #24
    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.
     
  25. leon44, Feb 20, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013

    macrumors regular

    leon44

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne, England
    #25
    I'll never understand America and its 'freedom'
     

Share This Page