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Even More Lawmakers Jumping on Pro-Unlock Wagon

By - Source: PC Magazine | B 23 comments

More lawmakers are stepping out and opposing that crazy ban on unlocking smartphones.

The whole controversy surrounding phone unlocking ban is really heating up, as several more members of Congress have pledged to tackle the issue. The news arrives after the White House agreed with a WeThePeople petition that consumers should have the right, and after Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said she would introduce a pro-unlocking bill in the Senate.

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), Ranking Member on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, said on Wednesday that the ban on unlocking phones puts consumers in the back seat when it comes to choosing the mobile device and service that best suits them.

"Competition and consumer choice are equally fundamental to a vibrant mobile marketplace, which is why I intend to introduce legislation eliminating the ban on unlocking cell phones and other mobile devices," she said.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) agreed, saying that consumers should have the flexibility to use their devices on any network they choose, provided they comply with the terms of service. Klobuchar also sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee with Leahy.

"I intend to work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to restore users’ ability to unlock their phones and provide them with the choice and freedom that we have all come to expect in the digital era," Leahy said.

Sen. Ron Wyden provided a brief statement via Twitter, claiming that he also has a legislation solution to the current cell phone unlocking problem. As it stands now, any consumer caught unlocking a phone purchased after January 2013 will face a $500,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison.

"You bought it, you should be able to use it. My Wireless Device Independence Act ensures you can unlock your device," he stated.

And that's not all. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of the House of Representatives said that "it is a freedom issue", and that if "you own the phone, you should be able to unlock it." Rep. Darrell Issa of California also issued his support for unlocking phones on Wednesday along with Democratic colleague Jaren Polis.

The ban on unlocking cell phones went into effect in January after the Library of Congress let a longstanding exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) lapse. This exemption was added to prevent consumers from violating the DMCA's prohibition on circumventing measures designed to prevent copyright infringement.

 

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  • 22 Hide
    freggo , March 8, 2013 5:12 PM
    dimarHow about not locking the phone at all? How about the cell phone companies just finance the phones to clients separately from the phone bill????


    They don't like it as it than would become clear to the masses how expensive these toys actually are.
    You won't believe how many of my iPhone clad friends brag how 'cheap' they have gotten their iCrap; forgetting they are paying twice the monthly bill now that I pay.
  • 18 Hide
    Onus , March 8, 2013 5:52 PM
    This is CLASSIC elected parasite. Pass a special-interest funded, rights-violating law in the first place. When people start to get upset about it, begin campaigning against that law, then repeal it amidst great fanfare over how diligent you are about looking after your constituents.
  • 14 Hide
    rohitbaran , March 8, 2013 6:09 PM
    I think that some senator's kid tried to unlock their phone and they are facing charges, so they want to get rid of it :p 
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    dimar , March 8, 2013 5:04 PM
    How about not locking the phone at all? How about the cell phone companies just finance the phones to clients separately from the phone bill????
  • 6 Hide
    sargentchimera , March 8, 2013 5:11 PM
    I generally do not agree with those 3 and their ideals, especially Klobuchar, but I agree with them on this issue. Phones should be unlockable, even though I do not do it myself I support it.
  • 22 Hide
    freggo , March 8, 2013 5:12 PM
    dimarHow about not locking the phone at all? How about the cell phone companies just finance the phones to clients separately from the phone bill????


    They don't like it as it than would become clear to the masses how expensive these toys actually are.
    You won't believe how many of my iPhone clad friends brag how 'cheap' they have gotten their iCrap; forgetting they are paying twice the monthly bill now that I pay.
  • 8 Hide
    borisof007 , March 8, 2013 5:22 PM
    Glad to see our legislative officials doing SOMETHING, considering that their inaction allowed this to go into law in the first place.
  • 10 Hide
    catfishtx , March 8, 2013 5:24 PM
    Who are you and what you have you done with Congress?
  • 7 Hide
    annymmo , March 8, 2013 5:30 PM
    Congress doing something sensible involving technology, we must be in a politic-tech renaissance.
  • 6 Hide
    gggplaya , March 8, 2013 5:45 PM
    Phones shouldn't be locked in the first place. You paid for it, you get an ETF fee is you quit the service. That ETF is incorporated into the now useless phone that you already paid for. The consumer is the one getting screwed here.

    You own it, it's your hardware. It shouldn't be locked in the first place, and it most definitely shouldn't be illegal to unlock and move to another carrier with it.
  • 18 Hide
    Onus , March 8, 2013 5:52 PM
    This is CLASSIC elected parasite. Pass a special-interest funded, rights-violating law in the first place. When people start to get upset about it, begin campaigning against that law, then repeal it amidst great fanfare over how diligent you are about looking after your constituents.
  • 7 Hide
    Solandri , March 8, 2013 5:54 PM
    gggplayaPhones shouldn't be locked in the first place. You paid for it, you get an ETF fee is you quit the service.

    Precisely. We don't need a law making it legal to unlock a phone you bought and fully paid for. We need a law making it illegal for sellers to artificially limit what you can do with stuff you bought and fully paid for.
  • 1 Hide
    murzar , March 8, 2013 5:56 PM
    The last couple of days almost seem unreal. First Microsoft now the american congressmen?
  • 4 Hide
    manodjow , March 8, 2013 6:01 PM
    ok seriously, even on Brazil carriers MUST unlock your phone if you ask then... cmon guys you should've unlocked phones by default...
  • 14 Hide
    rohitbaran , March 8, 2013 6:09 PM
    I think that some senator's kid tried to unlock their phone and they are facing charges, so they want to get rid of it :p 
  • 6 Hide
    murzar , March 8, 2013 6:13 PM
    rohitbaranI think that some senator's kid tried to unlock their phone and they are facing charges, so they want to get rid of it


    Lol. That's is possible. :p 
  • 2 Hide
    punahou1 , March 8, 2013 7:32 PM
    They should have thought of this when they originally drafted and voted on this law. Now they have to back peddle after being exposed for how ridiculous this is....
  • 5 Hide
    dalethepcman , March 8, 2013 7:33 PM
    This whole thing came about due to political posturing. If the lazy SOB's in congress had bothered doing their jobs, then they wouldn't have let the exception expire in the first place. They must think is much better for all the sheep to see the Congress appearing as a hero for saving them from 10 years in jail for taking their AT&T phone to T-Mobile, than to have the issue never happen in the first place.
  • 7 Hide
    bllue , March 8, 2013 7:45 PM
    Blame Apple for pushing unlocks to be illegal.
  • 6 Hide
    dimar , March 8, 2013 8:27 PM
    Whoever voted to accept this law in the first place should resign!
  • 2 Hide
    blurr91 , March 8, 2013 9:15 PM
    They are against the lock because they aren't the ones doing the locking.
  • 3 Hide
    sykozis , March 8, 2013 10:56 PM
    dimarWhoever voted to accept this law in the first place should resign!

    Most have already been voted out of office.... The DMCA was passed more than a decade ago...before the "smartphone market" really got started.
  • 5 Hide
    chumly , March 8, 2013 11:35 PM
    If I pay for something, I am going to do whatever the hell I want to it, regardless of the piece of fruit stamped on it.
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