America, the land of the free, hasn’t quite lived up to its motto in terms of mobile liberty. Once a common and completely legal practice, unlocking a smartphone became illegal in 2013. Fast forward to today, over a year later, and we can set our smartphones free once again. All without fear of any possible prosecution.
The good news comes from the White House and senator Patrick Leahy, one of the leaders who helped spearhead the bill into acceptance. Today, President Barack Obama is to sign the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, allowing people to modify smartphone firmware and remove carrier restrictions.
Those who criticize online petitions for being ineffective will be surprised to find this is how this very bill was started. The White House responded to this issue as a follow-up to an official online petition that collected over 114,000 signatures. What’s even more surprising is that it didn’t take long for them to take action, responding within a couple brief weeks.
This victory is quoted as being “a win for American consumers, a win for wireless competition, and an example of democracy at its best.” A statement we would have to agree with, especially those of us who live on such a restrictive mobile market as the USA tends to be.
It’s important to note this is not exactly a permanent solution, leaving a bit of uncertainty in how these matters should be handled in the coming years. As stated last week during the initial announcement of this bill’s passing, this decision is to be revised every 3 years. Whether the bill is to stay alive or not depends on how the market and other factors may look upon revision.
For now, you can unlock away with no fears! It’s interesting to see how technology happens to naturally evolve faster than laws can adapt to it, though. It’s starting to become a more common practice for manufacturers and carriers to ship devices already unlocked. We have a long way to go, but the market is definitely moving forward.