As of January 26, it’s no longer legal for individuals to carrier-unlock their cell phones (Android smartphones included) without the express permission of the mobile operator that sold the device for a subsidized price – if the handset is sold for full price, then the device is not locked to a certain network.
Since then, we explained what that unlocking vs rooting/jailbreaking means for you, legally speaking, and we pointed out a White House petition that has already been created urging the Obama administration to make changes to this new cell phone unlocking policy.
The petition, “Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal,” requires 100,000 votes by February 23 to go through and receive an official response from the White House. With 12 more days to go, the petition needs some 38,000 votes in order to reach the administration.
You can still vote by going to this site. Meanwhile, here’s the full text of the petition:
Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal.
The Librarian of Congress decided in October 2012 that unlocking of cell phones would be removed from the exceptions to the DMCA.
As of January 26, consumers will no longer be able unlock their phones for use on a different network without carrier permission, even after their contract has expired.
Consumers will be forced to pay exorbitant roaming fees to make calls while traveling abroad. It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full.
The Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked.
We ask that the White House ask the Librarian of Congress to rescind this decision, and failing that, champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal.
Since we’re talking about petitions, we’ll tell you that the White House has recently responded in a rather serious manner to a more hilarious petition – “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016” – explaining why such an endeavor won’t be pursued by the administration.
So we definitely expect a similarly serious response to an even more serious matter than the Death Star, cell phone unlocking. Of course, the petition won’t get an answer unless it reaches 100,000 votes, so in case you haven’t voted but feel strongly against the fact that you can’t legally unlock your cell phone by yourself, then you can still submit your vote in the next 12 days.
Are you voting?