The White House asks FCC to enforce on Wireless carriers to sell unlocked mobile devices

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Did you know that your cellphone is most probably tied to one service provider and that if you had to try to switch provider, your phone may not work?  Well this is a problem isn’t it?  After all it is your phone and you should be able to decide which service provider you would like to use, shouldn’t you?

The White House is in agreement with this and they have just filed a petition with Federal Communications Commission requesting wireless carriers to unlock mobile devices so as to allow users to change carriers as they desire.

“The proposal from the administration’s tech policy arm follows up on President Obama’s response last spring to furious complaints from online activists after the Library of Congress made the practice illegal in January when an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act expired. The activists posted their complaint on the White House’s protest forum and collected over 114,000 signatures on their petition to overturn the Library of Congress decision.”

Although the FCC says they support cellphone unlocking, the idea has become somewhat obscure but administration is trying to bring it back into the legislative field.  There are various arguments against unlocking devices, one of which states that legalizing the unlocking will make it too easy for consumers to transgress copyright laws as users will illegally take copyrighted software from one carrier to another.  However, in the petition handed to FCC on Tuesday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said that unlocking devices would foster competition and improve consumer options, whilst also shifting the burden of changing networks from consumer to companies, like it presently is.

Politicians and advocacy groups commended the NTIA and agree with his statement that Americans should have the right to use their mobile devices on any network they please.  Even more encouraging was that this extension of unlocking would extend to tablets, as well as cellphones.

According to Public Knowledge, a DC-based public interest group, the White House’s action is a good sign as far as unlocking of mobile devices are concerned, but that the next thing big thing to look at will be changes to copyright law as a whole.

There are lots of complications and regulations that are challenging and prohibitive as far as this law is concerned.  It’s not only FCC rules that need to change, but also copyright law that must change.

via WashingtonPost

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