After collecting a total of 114,322 signatures via an online petition on The White House’s website to remove DMCA exemptions for unlocking cellphones which was implemented by the Librarian of Congress, The White House has given a response: You should be able to unlock your phone with no legal penalty as long you own the phone.
It should be noted that the term “unlocking” should not be confused with the term “jail-breaking”, but unlocking was made illegal without carrier permission during late January, a decision made just after removing a DMCA exemption that lets users go ahead with it. This caused anger among many phone owners and eventually a petition was filed on The White House’s page where they’ll have to give an official response once 100,000 signatures are collected.
The White house made it clear that unlocking should be allowed, so long as the phone is not under contract. The response also said that it should apply for second hand or any other mobile devices where you buy or receive it as a gift and wish to activate the wireless network of preference or need, even if it isn’t the one which the device was first activated with. All consumers deserve that flexibility.
The White House also said that Librarian of Congress have made this decision against the advice that came from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) who is The President’s advisory organization for such matters in hand.
The response also added that The Obama Administration would support to address this issue to make it clear that neither criminal law or technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer under a service contract or any other obligation. It also noted The Chairman of Federal Communication Commission Genachowski voiced his concern about mobile phone unlocking. Therefore, NTIA will be formally engaging with FCC to address this issue.
Although it maybe a while before this is discussed upon, having The White House’s official response should boost some pressure to reverse the decision eventually in the people’s favour.