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The White House responds: phones and tablets should be unlockable

Posted: , by Michael H.

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The White House responds: phones and tablets should be unlockable
The system looks like it's working. We the people signed a petition on We The People. We wanted our voices heard on the topic of being able to legally unlock our carrier-locked cell phones, and the White House has responded. And, interestingly, the White House fully agrees with our complaints, and wants to go a step farther and make sure that tablets are free to be unlocked as well.

The White House response said that a group of experts in "telecommunications, technology, and copyright policy" was pulled together last week to discuss the issue, and there was agreement that consumers should be able to unlock phones and tablets as they wish. 
This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs -- even if it isn't the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility.
And, the response gives a few options for how the laws can be changed to make this happen. One possibility is to change the law so it is clear that "neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation." The White House also said that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) would be working with the FCC in its efforts to change the laws, as stated by the FCC chairman last week. 

Lastly, the response included a call to wireless carriers to "ensure that their customers can fully reap the benefits and features they expect when purchasing their devices." That's a pretty broad thing to as of carriers, but we have heard that some carriers are already helping users to unlock devices at the end of their contracts, but that was part of the original DMCA agreement, requiring "carrier permission" to unlock your device. 

To go along with the response, the White House is asking people to fill out a survey on the topic, so be sure to do that. 

Story timeline

This story is part of: Cell phone unlocking law(6 updates)

26 Comments
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posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:15 1

1. Nokianhero (banned) (Posts: 26; Member since: 04 Mar 2013)


Nokia is always making phones unlock able, it is standard for lumia!

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:40 15

9. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)


and where did you get that? out of your ass?

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:48 8

10. menny07 (Posts: 89; Member since: 13 Dec 2012)


^the above *nods head*
Lesson: Don't be an ignorant fan boy :)

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 17:02

13. Nokianhero (banned) (Posts: 26; Member since: 04 Mar 2013)


No its standard for nokia. Now other phonemanufactures wants to copy!!

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 17:26 5

17. _PHug_ (Posts: 380; Member since: 11 Oct 2011)


This new Nokia bit is hilarios

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 17:27 8

18. procopiojose (Posts: 132; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


nokia can add free escort service with their phones but it will still not sell.. period.. (gets money and run to a nokia store)

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 18:45 3

22. Omarc07 (Posts: 233; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


@ nokia hero so is sony they sell all there phones unlocked online

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 20:23

24. Bernoulli (Posts: 1433; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


How come they won't unlock the lumia 920 from at&t?

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:16 8

2. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 832; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


Now if we the people can ask congress to make changes on things that really affect our lives with a petition! Your voice does count when you exercise the right to use it.

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:35 14

6. Droiddoes (unregistered)


Came in to post just this. We will let them strip away our liberties and freedoms one by one, but we'll be damned if they try and f*ck with our gizmos and toys.

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:37 7

8. ZeroCide (Posts: 683; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


Maybe we can petion for those back to. Starting with internet freedom.

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 17:14 2

14. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2384; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


LMFAOO!!! Hell yea bro:

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:22 2

3. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3230; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


I still don't really see this as an issue.

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:35 7

7. ZeroCide (Posts: 683; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


Ask your iphone it may explain then you will believe.

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:49 6

11. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)


ask siri

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:50 4

12. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5464; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Of Course you don't.

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:24 3

4. technut (Posts: 52; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)


It's nice to be heard for a change. Thanks phonearena for bringing up the petition!

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 16:34 5

5. ZeroCide (Posts: 683; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


Horray for petioning!!!!

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 17:17 3

15. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2384; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


Well Michael, thanks for writting those articles and informing us on the matter. God bless

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 17:23 5

16. Just_a_boy (Posts: 183; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


The U.S. market is bigger than our in Brazil, but all phones sold here are Unlocked, even those sold on contract. Is law here give the consumer the right to choose, and the carriers are obligated to make the portability in 24 hours if the consumer want to change from carrier.

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 18:23 1

19. yyuu1000 (Posts: 152; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)


Get a nexus device I tell you the nexus 4 is great

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 18:27 3

20. corporateJP (Posts: 1520; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


Great. They heard us. Now it will take another ten years to put it into law again that all phones should be unlockable. Of course, let's not forget all the additional pork that will be added to the bill.

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 18:32 5

21. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2650; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Buzzkill...

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 20:08

23. thachlel (Posts: 61; Member since: 20 Apr 2012)


SECONDHAND!

posted on 04 Mar 2013, 22:37

25. networkdood (Posts: 6252; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


I would say that any non-subsidized product be unlockable.

posted on 05 Mar 2013, 07:19

26. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 847; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


Your locked into the contract not the phone. The phone is an incentive. If you get a free hat for going to a baseball game are you obligated to wear it throughout the game and keep it for life?

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