White house petition to make unlocking legal still needs 28K signatures. Only 5 days to go!

by: J. Angelo RacomaFebruary 18, 2013


Blame it on the petition to build a Death Star and the government’s shooting down the proposal because of budgetary constraints. Because the White House raised the minimum number of “we the people” petition signatories from 25,000 to 100,000, we mobile phone lovers would have to work harder for something that many believe is our right as consumers. Phone unlocking is now illegal, you may have heard. But if you want to ask government to rule otherwise, you may still have a chance if you sign a petition.

I earlier wrote about a WhiteHouse.gov “we the people” petition to make unlocking legal, which needs 100,000 signatures before authorities are compelled to make a response or act on the matter. The petition starter, Sina Khanifar, got in touch with us to say the petition needs more signatures, and that the petition is running out of time. As of writing, the “Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal” petition has garnered 71,994 signatures and will need 28,006 more in order to reach the goal. The campaign only has until February 23, which is five days from now.

“The decision to remove the exemption for unlocking phones is bad for consumers, and it’s up to our elected officials to help defend consumer rights,” says Khanifar in an article explaining the circumstances behind his launching of this campaign. In gist, he says consumers should be able to decide which carrier to use, whether domestically or abroad (to save on roaming fees). Carrier lock-ins are protected by pre-termination fees, anyway, so carriers’ contracts are protected should a user decide to cut short the two-year contract, which often subsidizes the handset cost.

See also: Mobile phone unlocking will be illegal by January 26

It can be argued that government and carriers would not care anyway if you unlocked your phone. But what the ban affects is the developers that create unlocking tools. Khanifar himself was sued by Motorola under the DMCA for creating software tools for unlocking their phones. Without these tools, then users might find it more difficult to unlock our devices.

And there’s a precedent of prosecuting consumers in the recording industry. If the RIAA can sue 9 year olds and grandmothers for “illegally” downloading songs, then what’s stopping carriers for suing its users who unlock phones? (I’m not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one, though, so this is just an observation.)

Do you want phone unlocking to be legal? Then head over to the source link to sign the petition.

  • Dylan

    Signed it.

  • Murrica
  • Murrica


  • Justin Winker

    Sad day. It’s probably not going to make it :(
    I signed it in January and there were quite a few signatures already, but I just don’t think there are 28,000 people that will read this and/or other blogs that will care about this type of issue.

  • Anon

    Might help if your site and text wasn’t covered in ads, and the link to the petition was more obvious than a note to “head over to the source link.”

  • Guest

    Where is the link

  • namikral

    its over 75k so no need to worry about it any longer

    • Please don’t spread misinformation. As of right now there is just over 72k signatures and 100k total are needed. Get over there and sign!

    • dude.. i been constantly watching the numbers trickle in since Feb 1st.. when no major internet posts reminds people to vote then i see around 10 avg votes every 20min which equals to about 1,000 hits per 24hrs if that. when a few of the press post.. the petition receives a nice little surge like several hundred to 1,000 and then it trickles down to around 50 votes per 60min.. which equals around 1500 votes in 24hrs. i just noticed from 5pm-6pm today 2/18/13 a nice jump of 1,000 votes came in. that means people are seeing the need for now.. but that doesn’t lift the pressure.. we gotta keep it up and encourage others to vote. even if they don’t think they gonna need it, they should vote for it because this is about your freedom without federal prosecution. there’s still 24k left before we meet the 100k minimum.. with 5 days left that means we need to get 5,000 votes per day, that’s 210 votes per hour. We can do it but we need to keep encouraging others to help. i’ve already spent 1,000 hours and a $50 advertising the direct petition link ~man i tell you that was a struggle from 58k to 68k.. the good thing is that you don’t have to spend any $ into just telling people to do it.. i know we can do it if we just keep trying.. :)

  • Prwz23
  • Signed and I see a ton of new signatures just today so don’t give up hope.

  • EVERYBODY you can get a free unlock code for signing the petition. The unlock codes are sponsored from this site: http://www.signunlockpetition.com/