US Congress gets off its fat ass, introduces bill to make cellphone unlocking legalMarch 8, 2013 3 Email article | Print article
There has been a lot of unrest regarding cellphone unlocking since the Librarian of Congress declared it illegal to unlock cellphones in the United States without the explicit permission of carriers. First, over 100,000 Americans signed an online petition asking the White House to legalize unlocking of cellphones. Then the White House and FCC publicly voiced their support for cellphone unlocking to be made legal. Now Congress is getting in on the action.
Three senators — Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Mike Lee (R-UT) — have introduced a bipartisan bill in the Senate dubbed Wireless Consumer Choice Act that looks to legalize unlocking of cellphones in the United States. A companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representative by Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and a separate but more or less similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by Rob Wyden (D-OR). So, in total, there are three bills floating around US Congress that aim to make cellphone unlocking legal in the United States.
Of course these are only bills and not yet law. So it is impossible to know the final form of these bills — which will likely be merged into one — when (if) they become laws, e.g. if there will be preconditions to unlocking a cellphone or if unlocking of cellphones will be legal unconditionally. However, the fact that these have been introduced is a good first step.