White House Response To Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal Petition

Here is the Official White House response to the Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal petition I previously posted.

It’s Time to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking

By R. David Edelman

Thank you for sharing your views on cell phone unlocking with us through your petition on our We the People platform. Last week the White House brought together experts from across government who work on telecommunications, technology, and copyright policy, and we’re pleased to offer our response.

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. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And 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 that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs.

This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs — even if it isn’t the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility.

The White House’s position detailed in this response builds on some critical thinking done by the President’s chief advisory Agency on these matters: the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). For more context and information on the technical aspects of the issue, you can review the NTIA’s letter to the Library of Congress’ Register of Copyrights (.pdf), voicing strong support for maintaining the previous exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for cell phone carrier unlocking.

Contrary to the NTIA’s recommendation, the Librarian of Congress ruled that phones purchased after January of this year would no longer be exempted from the DMCA. The law gives the Librarian the authority to establish or eliminate exceptions — and we respect that process. But it is also worth noting the statement the Library of Congress released today on the broader public policy concerns of the issue. Clearly the White House and Library of Congress agree that the DMCA exception process is a rigid and imperfect fit for this telecommunications issue, and we want to ensure this particular challenge for mobile competition is solved.

So where do we go from here?

The Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation.

We also believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its responsibility for promoting mobile competition and innovation, has an important role to play here. FCC Chairman Genachowski today voiced his concern about mobile phone unlocking (.pdf), and to complement his efforts, NTIA will be formally engaging with the FCC as it addresses this urgent issue.

Finally, we would encourage mobile providers to consider what steps they as businesses can take to ensure that their customers can fully reap the benefits and features they expect when purchasing their devices.

We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the wireless and mobile phone industries, and most importantly you — the everyday consumers who stand to benefit from this greater flexibility — to ensure our laws keep pace with changing technology, protect the economic competitiveness that has led to such innovation in this space, and offer consumers the flexibility and freedoms they deserve.

R. David Edelman is Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, & Privacy

Tell us what you think about this response and We the People.

Source: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/its-time-legalize-cell-phone-unlocking?utm_source=wethepeople&utm_medium=response&utm_campaign=unlock

Related Posts

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 YES! I can finally throw out my 4-year-old piece of shit HTC Thunderbolt. LOOOONG overdue for this new phone. It's amazing how I can press an app and have it open in less than a second, […]
  • Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal. The Librarian of Congress decided in October 2012 that unlocking of cell phones would be removed from the exceptions to the DMCA. As of January 26, […]
  • Time To Get A New Cell Phone In a little less than 3 hours my contract is up and I can upgrade my phone at a discount. Question is, what phone do I get? I'm stuck between the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Samsung […]
  • Samsung Note5 WiFi Issue With Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 I recently updated my Samsung Galaxy Note5 to Android's new OS 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Immediately I noticed issues with WiFi network access. I tried forgetting the SSID's, trying new ones, […]
  • Was Your Friday As Fun As Mine? Nothing like spending your day running wiring in ceilings and along steel rafters 40 feet in the air getting covered in 30-year-old dirt and grime from a warehouse to mount some wireless […]
  • How To Configure Your Motorola SBG6580 Router In Bridged Mode Recently my Time Warner provided Motorola SBG6580 router has been just sucking. Random disconnects and the inability to handle 2 Xbox's on the same network have made me mad enough to […]