Petition to Legalize Cellphone Unlocking will Receive Official White House Response
An online petition asking the Obama Administration to make cellphone unlocking legal has squeaked passed the 100,000 signature requirement in order to receive an official response from the White House. The petition reached the required number of signatures with only two days remaining on an instituted 30-day limit.
Unlocking cellphones, an act previously legal due to an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, was removed from exemption by the Librarian of Congress as of January 26.
The petition’s creator, programmer Sina Khanifar, knows all too well the potential consequences of violating the DMCA. In 2005, Motorola attempted to sue him for running a business selling software that unlocked Motorola phones for use on any carrier. He wants to insure others don’t face similar legal threats and see the consumer’s right to choice restored.
“Consumers will be forced to pay exorbitant roaming fees to make calls while traveling abroad. It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full,” Khanifar writes in the petition’s description.
Without the ability to legally unlock their devices, consumers with carrier-specific phones will be forced to purchase a new device, which can be expensive in today’s smartphone-driven market; or break the law and risk legal action from cellphone manufacturers and carriers.
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