Bill Proposed To Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking in the United States

In October 2012 the Library of Congress’s Copyright Office made a decision which gave consumers 90 days to unlock their handsets without carrier permission, and in January cellphone unlocking became illegal. This was followed by a petition to the White House which got over 114,000 signatures and the response also came. Now, a bill has been proposed by a US senator to legalize phone unlocking for using it on other networks.

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said via Twitter, “You bought it, you should be able to use it. My Wireless Device Independence Act ensures you can unlock your device“. The proposed bill is for amending Section 1201(a)(1)(B) of title 17 of the United States Code which deals with circumvention of copyright protection systems.

And more responses have come in:

Rep. Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat: “The ban on unlocking cell phones puts consumers in the back seat when it comes to choosing the mobile device and service that best suits them. Competition and consumer choice are equally fundamental to a vibrant mobile marketplace, which is why I intend to introduce legislation eliminating the ban on unlocking cell phones and other mobile devices“.

Sen. Patrick Leahy: “I agree with the Administration that consumers should have the flexibility to use their devices on any network they choose, provided they comply with the terms of service. I intend to work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to restore users’ ability to unlock their phones and provide them with the choice and freedom that we have all come to expect in the digital era“.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz: “You own the phone, you should be able to unlock it“.

FCC: “The FCC is examining this issue, looking into whether the agency, wireless providers, or others should take action to preserve consumers’ ability to unlock their mobile phones. I also encourage Congress to take a close look and consider a legislative solution“.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

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