White House petition goes up to make unlocking phones legal again

By , Jan 29, 2013

white house petition

By now, you’ve likely heard of the recent change in DMCA policy that makes the act of unlocking newer cell phones illegal. And even though the EFF clarified some things for us earlier today, it still sounds like we’re getting screwed.

In fact, some folks feel so strongly about the new law that they’ve started a White House petition calling for the Obama administration to either rescind the decision, or create a new bill making unlocking permanently legal…

The petition calls The Librarian of Congress’s decision to remove unlocking cell phones from the DMCA exception list unfair, noting that it decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have, one way or another, paid for in full.

“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.

The Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked.

We ask that the White House ask the Librarian of Congress to rescind this decision, and failing that, champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal.”

While petitions like this rarely institute significant changes in policy, they do help call attention to their issues. For example, if the petition garners 100,000 signatures or more before its deadline, the White House has to give a response.

At the time of this writing, this petition to make unlocking legal has collected 36,748 signatures. That means that it has to grab another 63,252 of them by February 23, 2013 if it wants to get a response. Click here to add your name.

Have you signed yet?

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  • http://twitter.com/BouchardAnthony Anthony Bouchard

    Signed it. Would really appreciate everyone else willing to support the cause to sign the petition as well. Thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/digitalfeind Dani Hayes

      There is no valid reason against unlocking your phones on your own.

      • http://twitter.com/BouchardAnthony Anthony Bouchard

        Agree!

      • adam lompis

        I see it from both sides. One side : I purchased my phone therefore I can choose to do what I want with it. Other side : What is the reason you need your phone unlocked if you’re in a contract with your current carrier. Either way you have an argument… so for the sake of it what harm will it cause if someone chooses to unlock it, like someone said “its not like you can take your phone back to your carrier and they will pay you back for using “THEIR” phone.

      • http://twitter.com/digitalfeind Dani Hayes

        Nice. I love the “taking your phone back” analogy.

      • adam lompis

        Haha, Thanks Dani!

      • Kurt

        if you are under contract and you want to go abroad. is it fair that you can’t use your phone in the other country? unless you want to pay your carrier (who locked your phone) extremely high roaming charges? we should have the right to put in another sim card in while abroad so we can pay local fees. when i visit my family back in the states i cant get an at&t sim since my korean iphone is locked. i have to used wifi and skype to make phone calls and receive them when i have wifi of course

  • http://twitter.com/_nerd The Nerd

    iSigned it people. Now, it’s your turn.

    • http://twitter.com/x_rus_x Vitaliy Anonymous

      iSee what you did there.

  • sdhn97

    I don’t even live in the US, but I still signed this petition as I think a phone belongs to you and you should be able to do what you want..

    • steiney

      Wow, it just occurred to me after reading your comment that anyone can sign that petition using their info and putting in any US zipcode.

      • Kurt

        its easy to do. obama actually got thousands of votes from dead people in tight races. amazing but this stuff goes on. hopefully in this case we can get the 100,000 signatures and osama will do the right thing

      • steiney

        Haha, yeah we’ll see. It’s not like Obama was the sole decider on that legislation. It could have slipped by on another bill or whatever. American politics and government operations are pretty ridiculous but you can’t put the blame for all that on Obama solely. The same stupid stuff would happen with Romney or any other person in office.

      • Kurt

        huh? ill be first to admit obama is one terrible president but i dont think i was blaming him alone.

      • steiney

        Oh, okay. You called him “Osama” so I just figured you were blaming him.
        I actually think he’s a great president. No one is perfect, but I get
        the feeling he actually cares about this country as opposed to most of
        the others who are in it for personal gain and the betterment of the
        groups they belong to.

  • http://twitter.com/xXJeanmarchpXx JeanMarc

    If we don’t fight for these, we could lose our privilege of jail breaking in the future.

  • koonlay

    Never been to the US before and yet I signed it. I even twitted it to encourage people to sign it. Guys, I suggest we should all create the awareness again on all social networks and feeds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/angelofchit May T. Win

    I signed too. N will tell all my siblings n coworkers to sign.

  • http://twitter.com/RogWilco Nick Williams

    Not only should it be legal. It should be *illegal* to lock the phone in the first place, by *anyone* (most importantly carriers).

    There is zero benefit to society or a healthy marketplace in having locked handsets, and *only* benefits to requiring unlocked handsets.

  • http://twitter.com/Tuanvy512 Tuan Z

    Done and done

  • ghulamsameer

    It may seem trivial to you this for consumer electronics, but America is the “land of the free.” Our smartphones should be too! It’s obvious that this is lobbying from other companies (AT&T) and we should not let our laws be corrupted this way.

  • Kurt

    since when can an “independent board” make law? and a law that will fine you 500,000 dollars and throw you in jail for 5 years?

  • http://twitter.com/NerFTed Jason Duong

    Signed this from Australia! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/fmbar00 Fabio Rodrigues

    it doubled the signings on the petition in 2 days since this post, this way it would take only take less than a week to reach 100.000, I hope it keeps growing up, I really do lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/SAINXI Sainxi Monroe
  • http://www.facebook.com/capistrano.tabuco Capistrano Tabuco

    We can and is a must for us to raise against all of those who want to limit our chooses. I didn’t know at the time of buying that my phone will be such limited in options, and because am a fan of windows gadgets it’s my duty to sign the petition.