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White House Petition To Make Cell Phone Unlocking Legal Needs 11,000 Signatures 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the freedom-of-technology dept.
On January 26th, unlocking a cell phone that is under contract became illegal in the U.S. Just before that went into effect, a petition was started at whitehouse.gov to have the Librarian of Congress revisit that decision. "It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full. The Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked." The 30 days time limit on the petition is almost up, and it's about 11,000 signatures shy of the amount necessary to ensure a response from the Obama administration (100,000 total, recently increased from 25,000). The creator of the petition received a Cease & Desist letter from Motorola in 2005 for selling software that would allow users to unlock their phones, and he thinks it's only a matter of time before such legal threats begin again. This is part of a larger battle to protect the way consumers can use their devices. While it's still legal for people to root their phones, the Librarian of Congress failed to expand that legal protection to tablets, even though the devices are incredibly similar. The Librarian's decision (PDF) needs further review, and if the White House petition doesn't get enough signatures by February 23, such a review may not happen.
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White House Petition To Make Cell Phone Unlocking Legal Needs 11,000 Signatures

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  • by Khashishi (775369) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @05:48PM (#42960207) Journal

    Are there any examples of a "We the people" petition actually doing anything even if successful?

  • Re:Don't care (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @05:48PM (#42960213)

    Better still, make *locking* phones illegal. It's anti-competitive and should have been outlawed right from the start.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @05:50PM (#42960233) Homepage Journal

    Do you know why [they're] doing this?[ ]It's because of the problem of so many people getting cells/droids under a [contracted] agreement[,] then deciding they want to switch to a [different] carrier without having to pay a large [fee] to get out of the original contract[,] so I can understand why the major [companies] want this law.

    Whew, much better - that poorly typed shit is hard for me to read.

    Here's the issue with your argument - cellular carriers already charge hefty fees for early contract termination, so your main talking point here is demonstrably false.

    Also, this "law," which BTW isn't really a law as the Librarian of Congress is not a fucking Legislator , merely adds insult to injury by preventing everyone from unlocking their phones, up to and including folks who unwittingly bought a locked phone outright (it happens), and people like me that actually fulfilled our contractual obligation, and now possess a fully paid for, albeit nearly obsolete, device.

    The people themselves are the reason this is happening,it is not the fault of the providers whatsoever,it is the fault of the users

    Psychologists refer to this sort of behavior as victim blaming, [wikipedia.org] and is oft employed exclusively by narcissistic assholes.

  • by desertfool (21262) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @08:25PM (#42961531) Homepage

    I can vote in private for just about everything, but to sign this I need to sign in? No thank you.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

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