News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Build Apps 5x Faster
For Half the Cost Enterprise Cloud Computing
On Force.com
You are here: Home / Mobile Tech / Obama Wants Unlocking Phones Legal
DDoS Protection Powered By Verisign
White House Petitions FCC To Allow Phone Unlocking
White House Petitions FCC To Allow Phone Unlocking
By Barry Levine / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
SEPTEMBER
20
2013


Unlocking a cell phone, currently illegal, may become legal again. The Obama Administration has sent a petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting such an action, and there is support in Congress and at the FCC.

The petition, which came from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the Commerce Department, asks the FCC to "require a provider of certain commercial mobile services, upon request, to unlock any wireless device" in order that the device owner "may use that device in conjunction with another lawfully obtained commercial mobile service."

The petition added that giving consumers greater freedom to choose among mobile service providers and use wireless devices that they acquire legally from other private owners would increase competition and "enhance consumer welfare."

In addition to the NTIA petition, a bipartisan bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to similarly change the law about unlocking phones, and it has received support from companies in the wireless industry.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Locking phones for use with specific carriers has been employed to make movement by customers between carriers harder to do, because it meant getting a new phone as well as signing up for a new service. Unlocking involves using a program to remove software blocks preventing the device from being used on a competing service. In some cases, however, unlocking a phone does not make it completely portable between carriers because of technical incompatibilities.

In January, a federal copyright office in the Library of Congress refused to renew an exemption for cell phones in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act after the exemption expired, thus making phone unlocking illegal and subject to civil and criminal penalties. The agency said the issue was that unlocking a phone required getting around copyrighted software in order to acquire the unlocking codes, and the copyright-protected software was owned by the carriers. A petition to reinstate unlocking was filed through a White House online forum and acquired more than 114,000 signatures.

While some carriers have raised concerns that unlocked phones could carry copyright-protected software between service providers, the movement to make unlocking legal again has received widespread support.

Tip of Iceberg?

The Consumers Union, for instance, has praised the NTIA proposal, in part because it also includes the unlocking of tablets. The public interest group Public Knowledge has similarly been supportive, but has also called for a more far-reaching modernization of copyright laws. And the CTIA, a wireless industry association, has expressed support for the House bill.

In addition to giving consumers new flexibility in determining their relationships with carriers, unlocking would also give new life to the secondhand phone market. Some carriers will now unlock a phone under certain rules, such as for the original owner, but the proposed new rules would enable anyone who owns a phone to unlock it.

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Daniel:

Posted: 2013-09-21 @ 12:11pm PT
Free phones every two years doesn't exist. You pay for them behind the scene with by submitting yourself to costlier carrier plans. T-Mobile charges you for you phone but when it's paid off your bill goes down. Att charges more for the same phone/plan and the price will not go down after having the same phone for two years.

Anonymous:

Posted: 2013-09-21 @ 11:31am PT
Unlocking your phone is not illegal, and never has been illegal. Show me a single court case where someone has gotten into trouble for it. There are none because, as your property, unlocking your phone is a right.

Klimmer:

Posted: 2013-09-21 @ 8:21am PT
Finally, the Whitehorse and Congress agree on something that helps the consumer. However, getting a "free" phone or "discounted" phone every couple of years may become a thing of the past.

keugene:

Posted: 2013-09-20 @ 4:03pm PT
So what if they don't like it...they spend 10's of millions of dollars buying congress to get what they want....to control the market (collusion, monopoly) etc and don't give a dam about their customers.....so i say the government shouldn't peition anything... they should flex their muscles.

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
TOP STORIES NOW
MAY BE OF INTEREST
Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.
MORE IN MOBILE TECH
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Dairy Queen Latest Retailer To Report Hack
Known for its hot fries and soft-serve ice cream, Dairy Queen just made cyber history as the latest victim of a hack attack. The fast food chain said that customer data at some stores may be at risk.
 
Lessons from the JPMorgan Chase Cyberattack
JPMorgan Chase is investigating a likely cyberattack. The banking giant is cooperating with law enforcement, including the FBI, to understand what data hackers may have obtained.
 
Who Is the Hacker Group Lizard Squad?
Are they dangerous or just obnoxious? That’s what many are wondering about the hacker group Lizard Squad, which tweeted out a bomb threat that grounded a flight with a Sony exec aboard.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Intel Intros Lightning-Fast PC Processors
Call it extreme. Intel just took the covers off its first-ever eight-core desktop processor, which is aimed at hardcore power users who expect more than the status quo from their computers.
 
HP Previews ProLiant Gen9 Data Center Servers
Because traditional data center and server architectures are “constraints” on businesses, HP is releasing new servers aimed at faster, simpler and more cost-effective delivery of computing services.
 
Apple Set To Release Largest iPad Ever
Tech giant Apple seems to have adopted the mantra “go big or go home.” The company is planning to introduce its largest iPad ever: a 12.9-inch behemoth that will dwarf its largest existing models.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Samsung Maps Its Way with Nokia's 'Here' App for Galaxy Phones
Korean electronics giant Samsung has opted to license Here, Nokia’s mapping app -- formerly known as Nokia Maps -- for its Tizen-powered smart devices and Samsung Gear S wearable.
 
Will iPhone Finally Catch Up with NFC Mobile Payment Ability?
Apple's latest version of the iPhone may have a mobile wallet to pay for purchases with a tap of the phone. The iPhone 6 reportedly is equipped with near-field communication (NFC) technology.
 
Visual Search To Shop: Gimmick or Game Changing?
Imagine using your phone to snap a photo of the cool pair of sunglasses your friend is wearing and instantly receiving a slew of information about the shades along with a link to order them.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech | Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.