Petition Motivates White House to Respond to Phone Locking
The White House today issued a formal response to a petition regarding cell phone unlocking. "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," said the Obama administration via the White House web site. Last year, the Library of Congress revoked an exemption that allowed consumers to unlock their cell phones. Beginning January 26, it became illegal for U.S. citizens to unlock their cell phones, even when not under contract, without carrier permission. "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." Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski threw his hat into the ring, as well, saying today, "The FCC is examining this issue, looking into whether the agency, wireless providers, or others should take action to preserve consumers' ability to unlock their mobile phones. I also encourage Congress to take a close look and consider a legislative solution."
Industry Reacts to White House Net Neutrality Push
Following the White House's request to reclassify the internet as a utility, a number of industry organizations have fielded responses. First to respond was FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Carriers Have to Unlock Eligible Phones Beginning Today
Wireless network operators are now required to unlock customers' phones once the phones are paid off or no longer under contract. Today's change follows an agreement forged between the FCC, the CTIA Wireless Association and carriers in December 2013.
White House Asks FCC to Classify Internet as a Utility
President Barack Obama today sided with the concept of net neutrality and laid out a plan to keep the internet open. "We cannot allow internet service providers to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas.
AT&T Sues Former Employees Over Stolen Unlock Codes
AT&T this week sued three former workers, alleging they aided in the theft of cell phone unlock codes. Kyra Evans, Nguyen Lam, and Marc Sapatin, who all worked at AT&T's Bothell, Wash., site, are accused of installing malware on AT&T computers that was used to obtain hundreds of thousands of unlock codes.