FCC chairman nominee voices support for ending the ban on cellphone unlocking

June 19, 2013
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unlocked-phone

From the Wireless Device Independence Act to the Unlocking Technology Act, there have been several bills proposed that aim to tackle the issue of cell phone unlocking in the United States.

While the various forms of proposed legislation have yet to get very far, it remains clear that not only is most of the U.S. public in favor of making cellphone unlocking legal again, so are many U.S. politicians. The latest politician to speak up in favor of cellphone unlocking is the newly nominated chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler.

Recently Wheeler was nominated by President Obama to become the new FCC head, and today the would-be Chairman appeared in front of the Senate Commerce Committee for a nomination hearing. During the hearing, Wheeler made it clear that he feels that cellphone locking should be legal and that library of congress shouldn’t have had the reach to ban unlocking in the first place.

“I am a strong supporter of intellectual property rights. At the same point in time, I believe that when I as a consumer or you as a consumer, or anyone have fulfilled our commitment and we’ve paid off our contract, that we ought to have the right to use that device and move it across carriers as we see fit. I look forward to working on this issue and resolving this issue to give consumers flexibility.”

While Wheeler claimed interest in changing the law here, he also admitted he’s not exactly sure how the issue should be handled.

“I don’t know whether it [should be] a permanent exemption [to the DMCA], whether it is a rewrite of the Copyright Act, or what the appropriate solution is, but I do believe there needs to be a solution and consumers should have the right to unlock their phones after they’ve lived up to their side of the agreement.”

What do you think of the issue of cellphone unlocking? How should it be handled going forward?

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