FCC Chairman to Investigate Phone Unlocking Ban
If you’re one of the many smartphone users who were more than a little angry about the recent ban on unlocking phones, you can now breathe a little easier in knowing that you have an unexpected new ally: the Chariman of the FCC.
According to Techcrunch, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told writer Gregory Ferenstein that the “ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns” at an event for CrunchGov, an TechCrunch iniative to help policymakers create more informed technology legistlation in the wake of SOPA and PIPA.
Genchowski will now investigate how the ban may effect market competitiveness, as well as whether it is entirely legal for such a policy move to be made at the executive level rather than by the legislative branch. While the chairman is reportedly unsure how much influence the FCC has over reversing the ban, but vows that all avenues will be looked into.
“It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones,” said Genarchowski.
For the last six years, cell phone unlocking was exempt from legal ramifications under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which otherwise bans forms of circumventing copyright protection. The exempt status of cell phone unlocking was then reversed on January 26th by the Library of Congress, resulting in a ban on cell phone unlocking when users change mobile carriers. Now, if a user wishes to change their carrier, they must purchase a new phone as well.
Earlier this month, an online petition at WhiteHouse.Gov for reversing the ban surpassed the 100,000 signature threshold, thus automatically requiring an official response from the Obama Administration. The White House has yet to comment.Source: Techcrunch
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