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."