White House considers cellphone unlocking possibilities

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Unlocking mobile phones may soon be legalized in the United States. The White House has given in to popular demand for the ban on unlocking cellphones to be lifted and has admitted that being able to use a phone on a network other than its own should be made legal. In January 2013, the Librarian of Congress had vouched for cellphone unlocking to be included in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), this made unlocking a phone for a different network illegal.

An online petition that gathered 114,000 signatures has managed to sway the government. This petition was backed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), saying that it was ‘common sense’ to allow phones to be unlocked. The senior adviser for the internet from the White House has said that if one has bought a phone, which is free from a service agreement, then the phone should be made available for use on a network that the user chooses.

In order to work around the ban, the White House could offer a legislative fix. It could also consult with the FCC and come up with with an alternate strategy. What phone companies will have to look at now, is whether they would be able to provide sufficient privileges to their customers if the ban is indeed lifted.