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Unlocking phones and tablets should be legal, Obama admin tells FCC

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 20 Sep 2013 23:07 User comments (6)

Unlocking phones and tablets should be legal, Obama admin tells FCC The Obama administration is petitioning the FCC to make moves that will thwart a law that criminalizes the unlocking of smartphones and tablets that are owned by users.
Through the NTIA - the President's principal adviser on domestic and international telecommunications and information policy - the White House is petitioning the FCC to make new rules related to unlocking smartphones and tablets.

The new rules would act thwart a law scheduled to take effect on January 26, 2014, that would make it punishable for up to five years to unlock a mobile phone without permission from a carrier.

It is common practice for carriers to lock smartphones to their networks when customers buy a subsidized device on a specific plan, like a two year plan. At the end of this time, customers may feel they want to take their device - which they now own - to another network.

Every three years, the Library of Congress examines possible exemptions to copyright laws. In the latest round, it decided not to renew an exemption that affects the unlocking of phones, setting the course for the law to take effect in January.

The Obama administration already asked the U.S. Congress to act on the issue, but as usual, the Congress has been slow to act. Therefore, the administration is looking to the FCC as another route.

Read the NTIA petition to the FCC at: ntia.doc.gov (PDF)

Tags: fcc
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6 user comments

123.9.2013 16:51

Just so I don't think I'm crazy can someone explain why there are laws in place to prevent other laws from taking effect? What is the point of that? Why use an exemption if you know the law was broken* in the first place?


Oh wait... this is congress we're talking about, of course they fill their plates with as much garbage as possible to make it appear they actually do something.

*Broken as it will never work and has no way to be fixed, not the fact that everyone is out breaking said law... but that's beside the point.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Sep 2013 @ 16:53

228.9.2013 12:33

We in "socialistic democracy" of India are far better off. The entire GSM service it totally unlocked. One can use absolutely ANY sim from any service provider in absolutely ANY GSM phone available in the market. In fact I can even take a CDMA phone from one service provider to alternate one and have it recoded to their service ! THAT IS FREEDOM.

This is what American "capitalistic" and "free market" economy does to the people. You get screwed. I am not surprised by the current figures of the top "1%"ers' income going up by 19.5 % and for the rest of 99% population not even by 1%!

328.9.2013 14:17

pmshah, free market no & your last sentence also applies to india, democratic & so-called democratic countries like russia.

428.9.2013 20:26

Originally posted by ddp:
pmshah, free market no & your last sentence also applies to india, democratic & so-called democratic countries like russia.
yeah,like the neil young song goes. "they give you this but you pay for that".

530.9.2013 8:01

@ddp

I concede but not to the extent as happens in the US. We have parliamentary system of government. The Prime minister is not directly elected by the public but by elected parliament members. Simple 51% majority (some times in coalition), works absolutely unlike the US congressional system where even 59 % does not! Your president can't get anything done. You need another J. Edgar Hoover, but benevolent kind, who has files on ALL politicians and can really get things done!

630.9.2013 18:56

i'm canadian not american so we use same system as you do.

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