US Congress gets off its fat ass, introduces bill to make cellphone unlocking legal

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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.

[via Engadget]

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3 comments

  1. kevbo

    [@Seamus McSeamus]
    Cripes! Can you imagine long Rand would have to talk on the Senate floor to get this administration to recognize that basic right of privacy for Americans? It only took 13 hours for the Obama Administration to assure us that they did not have the right to kill Americans on American soil without due process. For whatever that’s worth, since they were for killing Americans without due process, before they were against it. Is John Kerry in the house?

  2. kevbo

    “US Congress gets off its fat ass”. Gotta love that one.

    I haven’t read any of these bills, but it would be great if one completely outlawed the practice of locking phones, not only after the contract expires. I doubt it though. Instead, we’ll be thrown this little crumb and be grateful.