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  1. tebugg's Avatar
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       #1  
    got a good response today from the white house about legalizing cell phone unlocking. here is the source:

    White House responds to petition: unlocking phones should be legalized

    The recent ruling that effectively bans third-party phone unlocking has ruffled more than a few feathers, and the people have spoken with their electronic signatures -- 114,322 of them, to be exact. Now the petition to the White House, which asks that DMCA protection of phone unlockers be reconsidered, has finally received an official response, and it appears that it's for the positive. The author of the letter is R. David Edelman, Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation and Privacy.
    "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," Edelman writes. All told, the response matches that of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which wrote a letter to the Librarian of Congress in support of extending the exemption last year.
    So what does this mean for us? Edelman states: "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're not going to see immediate change, but it appears that a chain of events is now in motion in which the FCC and Congress potentially play a huge role. We're not out of the woods yet, but it's relieving to see such a positive response -- along with a call to action -- from the government.



    what do you guys think?

    Edit: here is the full response letter:

    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.
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    Laura Knotek likes this.
  2. #2  
    I hope unlocking is legalized soon. I was one of the people who signed the petition, and I Tweeted about it more than once.
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    bawboh86 likes this.
  3. tebugg's Avatar
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       #3  
    i signed the petition also. this probably wont get solved til maybe a couple years from now but it is a step in the right direction. what is odd to me is this part of the letter

    "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."

    why did the librarian go ahead with making unlocking illegal even after getting a recommendation not to? this just makes me think there was money involved here that swayed the librarians decision.
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by tebugg View Post
    i signed the petition also. this probably wont get solved til maybe a couple years from now but it is a step in the right direction. what is odd to me is this part of the letter

    "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."

    why did the librarian go ahead with making unlocking illegal even after getting a recommendation not to? this just makes me think there was money involved here that swayed the librarians decision.
    That's a good question. It sounds like the telecom companies had some undue influence on the decision.
  5. fatclue_98's Avatar
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    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by lak611 View Post
    That's a good question. It sounds like the telecom companies had some undue influence on the decision.
    Ya think?
  6. vpop's Avatar
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    #6  
    me too signed it :)
  7. Daniel Ratcliffe's Avatar
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    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by fatclue_98 View Post
    Ya think?
    I'm inclined to agree here, heard lots of bad stuff about US telcos, but UK ones aren't so bad. Then again, perhaps they realise if they tried a stunt like this the EU would flame them so hot they would melt.

    "Fortune cookie said: 'Outlook not so good'. I said: 'Sure, but Microsoft ships it anyway'."
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  8. thed's Avatar
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    #8  
    It's nice that the administration responded, but judging by the content of the response, nothing is going to happen. It seems to me like the White House is just trying to placate people here while letting the carriers keep all the power. The administration wants to "work with Congress" to implement "legislative fixes." Seriously, does anyone think that there's a snowball's chance in **** that Congress will do something about this?

    The Librarian of Congress is part of the administration. If Obama really wants to make this happen then he can can do it now, instead of waiting for Congress. But it looks like he's not going to take any real action. Now, if they actually do legalize unlocking then I'll gladly eat my words. But I don't see it happening.
  9. ninjaap's Avatar
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    #9  
    I honestly don't know the difference. From what I've read in other articles, Cellphone unlocking has been legalized for years until these recent events. But it still required ATT's permission, a grace period of 6 months from time of purchase or end of contract. With this new law, its supposedly the same thing. *shrugs*
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by thed View Post
    It's nice that the administration responded, but judging by the content of the response, nothing is going to happen. It seems to me like the White House is just trying to placate people here while letting the carriers keep all the power. The administration wants to "work with Congress" to implement "legislative fixes." Seriously, does anyone think that there's a snowball's chance in **** that Congress will do something about this?

    The Librarian of Congress is part of the administration. If Obama really wants to make this happen then he can can do it now, instead of waiting for Congress. But it looks like he's not going to take any real action. Now, if they actually do legalize unlocking then I'll gladly eat my words. But I don't see it happening.
    It looks like this has bipartisan support, though. Lawmakers join effort to legalize cell phone unlocking | Mobile - CNET News
  11. Kevin Rush's Avatar
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    #11  
    Is it too late to sign the petition?
  12. Zeroplanetz's Avatar
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    #12  
    I don't understand why its illegal at all. I mean if we cancel our contracts we have to pay Cray fees. Then by canceling contracts doesn't it effect our credit ratings over time? So knowing all this why is it illegal to begin with? If the consumer wants an unlocked phone then it should just be offered that way but have it to were we can't leave to another carrier for six months. Another way of control. I hate companies and most of the Gov.
  13. ninjaap's Avatar
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    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeroplanetz View Post
    I don't understand why its illegal at all. I mean if we cancel our contracts we have to pay Cray fees. Then by canceling contracts doesn't it effect our credit ratings over time? So knowing all this why is it illegal to begin with? If the consumer wants an unlocked phone then it should just be offered that way but have it to were we can't leave to another carrier for six months. Another way of control. I hate companies and most of the Gov.
    Cancelling our contracts affects our credit? I don't think they report it to Credit Bureau unless you miss payments or don't pay the early termination fee.
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