With the recent ruling that made unlocking cell phones illegal, the toping has been a common one in various government bodies. In particular, the petition for The White House’s We the People program reached over 100,000 signatures, requiring a response from The White House. The response was in favor of unlocking cellphones being made legal:
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 response from R. David Edelman came among several authorities’ statements on the matter, including one from the Library of Congress, which agreen that the topic of cell phone unlocking should have Congressional reviewal:
Both the Librarian of Congress and the Register of Copyrights value our colleagues in the administration and the thoughtful discussions we have had with them on this issue. We also agree with the administration that the question of locked cell phones has implications for telecommunications policy and that it would benefit from review and resolution in that context.
The Chairman of the FCC also agreed that unlocking needs to be revisited, and said that Congress should look for a legislative solution.
From a communications policy perspective, this raises serious competition and innovation concerns, and
for wireless consumers, it doesn’t pass the common sense test… I also encourage Congress to take a close look and consider a legislative
The White House will work with the FCC in an attempt to come up with a solution to the problem of unlocking, but with the pressure coming from all angles of government, it seems as though we will be seeing some change, probably for the better, quite soon.