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.