Concerned about the mobile unlocking ban? Sign the White House petition

by: J. Angelo RacomaJanuary 25, 2013


I earlier wrote about what can be a potential issue among mobile users in the U.S. The Librarian of Congress has deemed it illegal to unlock mobile phones starting Saturday, January 26th, on the premise that the user does not actually own the software in the device, but is only a licensee. As such, you can no longer — legally, at least — have your phone unlocked unless you have finished your contract with your mobile carrier, or unless you have explicit permission from your service provider.

We got a message from a reader about something that can potentially change the minds of the authorities. If you’re familiar with the White House’s We the People Initiatives, citizens can submit petitions, which the government will be compelled to act upon, or at least decide upon, if you reach a certain number of signatures within 30 days. That used to be 25,000, but after the “Death Star” brouhaha, where “the people” wanted the U.S. government to establish an $852 quadrillion space-based weapon, the White House has recently raised the bar to 100,000.

Reader Sina Khanifar wrote us to about a We the People petition, which has already garnered 8,818 signatures as of this writing, and will require 91,182 more signatures by February 23, 2012.

You can sign the petition here: Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal.

“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,” says the petition.

Do note that there is no guarantee the White House will act favorably — as with the Death Star petition, which it shot down due to cost constraints, and because “[t]he administration does not support blowing up planets.” But at least the ruling will be subject to review and discussion. Head on to the source link to sign.

  • A very foolish act, I fully support the petition. Hopefully the White House will act in our favour.

  • n900mixalot

    9,000 signatures so far … Pathetic. People are selfish then will complain about how nothing is happening with this terrible regulation that came out of nowhere.

  • I’ll gladly unlock your phones in the uk and send them back for a fee lol.

  • Just buy a Nexus device. Oh wait, out of stock?…Damn!. Where do I sign?

  • Foolishus

    Smartphone customers number in the hundreds of millions, so write each of your congressional represenatives and demand that they pass a law that requires:
    1. The wireless carriers to unlock and functions and features of the phone that do not directly impact the phones ability to control the signal and power along with registration and transmission of information over the airwaves.
    2. A customer who pays for a smartphone as part of a 2 year agreement or purchases one in which the phones unqiue identifiers are not stolen and who has the proper SIM card for the authorized service can modify features and functions and load applications with the understanding that such modifications are soley the responsibility of the customer and the carrier may nor may not resolve issues with the modified unloacked phone.
    3. If the unlocked phone presents a quality or interferance issue with the carriers signal or service then the carrier can disable the phone and or restrict or reduce services or quality on that carriers network.
    4. If possible the carrier is to text the phone and notify the customer that the phone is impacting its network and services may end or be degraded.
    5. It is up to the customer to go to the carrier to have the phone restored to its OS standard setup and the carrier can charge for that service at a reasonable fee.
    6. If the caarier can not restore the phone then the customer can send the phone into an authorized service to have it restored at the customers expense.
    7. The authorized service center will upon restoring the phone notify the carrier that the phone is restored and can be used on their network and return the phone upon payment to the customer.
    You can copy and paste the above in your letters. Send a mountain of mail to congress and let them know you want to be in control of your purchased smartphone and not the carriers or lobbiests.