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."
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.
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.
Houses Passes Bill that Could Cripple FCC's Net Neutrality Rules
The U.S. House of Representatives today passed bill HR 2666, which could interfere with the FCC's ability to enforce net neutrality provisions.
Republicans to Battle FCC Broadband Plan
Republicans contend the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules are evidence that the White House has taken control of the agency and must be stopped. "The president gave a speech demanding that the FCC seize control of the Internet and treat it as a government-regulated utility," said Senator Ted Cruz, referring to President Barack Obama's November statement.
House Panel Says Stingrays Need Federal Guidelines
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a bipartisan panel, this week recommended that the federal government pass rules to manage the use stingrays and other cell-site simulating devices. The panel said in a report that law enforcement agencies have varying and inconsistent rules for the use of such devices.