White House weighs in on phone unlocking, supports making it legal

White House says it's time to make phone unlocking legal

Following FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s statement that the commission would be looking into the ban on phone unlocking, the White House has released an official statement in support of cell phone unlocking. The statement was made in response to a popular petition on the White House’s We the People website after the petition had been signed by over 114,000 people. In the statement, R. David Edelman, Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, and Privacy, underscored the importance of consumers being able to unlock their phones:

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.

Edelman said that the administration is supporting the FCC in addressing the matter, with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration working closely with the commission to find a viable solution. The White House is also asking for carriers to find ways to make sure that customers can get the most out of their devices. It’s encouraging that the government appears to be taking this issue seriously. Whether or not any actual policy will come from this is questionable, but it is a step in the right direction.

Source: The White House

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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There are 3 comments. Add yours.

stephen007 says:

"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."

I believe this is already allowed under the current provisions.

kralnor says:

The whole thing is overblown to begin with. For one thing, the only thing that's technically not legal is having a third party unlock your phone. You can still ask your carrier to do it, which they will, which is much easier anyways. For two, its not illegal in the sense that it is something being enforced, just that a provision which specifically allowed it wasn't renewed. from what ive read, there isn't a specific law that says "you can't do this."

cheryl64 says:

i don't think it should matter if you're under contract or not to unlock your phone. when you leave the place of purchase it is your phone to do as you please