Cell phone unlocking bill passes in the Senate

Cell phone unlocking bill passes in the Senate
This one has been a long time coming, but it looks like we're almost back to the point where it will be legal to unlock your cell phone in the U.S. Last year, a provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) lapsed which allowed unlocking, although carriers have been good about still allowing the practice. Now, proper legislation is on the way to reinstate unlocking in the law.

The lapse in the DMCA provision hasn't caused much issue, because President Obama came out early to get carriers and legislators on the issue. Carriers agreed to make it easier for customers to unlock devices while Congress worked on the law. The House of Representatives passed a bill recently to allow unlocking, and now the Senate has also passed its own bill. The Senate's version is very similar, but does remove the ban on bulk-unlocking, which had caused worries for companies like Tracfone. The bill wouldn't be permanent, but would require renewal at some point. 

Now that the two bills have been passed, there will either have to be a reconciliation bill to hammer out the details, or this new bill will have to be passed in the House before moving on to get the president's signature. Either way, it looks like it will soon be (once again) officially legal to unlock your phone, and not just accepted practice. 

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11 Comments

1. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Nexus ftw.

3. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

Is that you, StraightEdgeNexus?

5. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Birds of a feather.

9. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

That reminds me of a English drama program, that has been discontinued.

8. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Android Ftw

2. cncrim

Posts: 1556; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Weeeeee, good.

4. wrm2013

Posts: 231; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

This government is a f####### joke.

7. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Government createth the problem, government pretendeth it didn't, government solveth the problem. Public schools FTW!

6. bambamboogy02

Posts: 832; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

VZW LTE phones already come unlocked. I took my Droid DNA, SG3, Iphone 5s over seas and they all worked with the international sims. This was over 6 months ago.

10. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

I never knew it was illegal to unlock a cell phone in the US :-/

11. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

America is a corporatist country where corporations are more equal than people, whose property and other rights are trampled for corporation interests. All your phones are belong to us.

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