It looks like the White House has heard the voices of the 114,000+ people who believe that unlocking their cell phone should be a legal process. It too believes that banning people from unlocking their cell phones isn’t fair, especially since people paid good money for those devices. Not only that, but the White House wants to also legalize the unlocking of tablet devices as well, since tablets fall under the same category as cell phones.
Now that the White House has agreed that cell phone unlocking should be legal, they have to work on a variety of different ways to remedy the problem. R. David Edelman, the White House’s Senior Adviser for internet, innovation, and privacy, wrote that the Obama Administration is working on legislative fixes that will make it clear that, “neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation.”
Edelman also wrote that the FCC and the mobile service providers will have huge roles to play in terms of legalizing cell phone unlocking. The FCC released a statement saying, “From a communications policy perspective, this raises serious competition and innovation concerns, and for wireless consumers, it doesn’t pass the common sense test.” The FCC will further analyze the situation to see whether or not consumers should be able to unlock their phones. It also encourages Congress to think up some solutions to the problem.
Consumers should be very happy now that the White House is siding with them, especially since the ban on cell phone unlocking caused a lot of outrage in the wireless community. By sticking out their contracts, or by buying their phones off contract, they should be able to do whatever they want with their device. T-Mobile should also be happy about the White House’s decision, seeing as it’s been gunning for AT&T customers to convert over to its service with their unlocked mobile devices.
We’ll keep you posted on any updates regarding this issue. Edelman wrote that the White House will continue to work to “ensure our laws keep pace with changing technology, protect the economic competitiveness that has led to such innovation in this space, and offer consumers the flexibility and freedoms they deserve.”
[via White House]