U.S. cellphone unlocking bill awaits Obama's signature after passing through the House

U.S. cellphone unlocking bill awaits Obama's signature after passing through the House
All that is needed is for President Barack Obama to put his John Hancock on the bill, and unlocking your cellphone will be legal once again. The House of Representatives passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act after the bill passed the U.S. Senate earlier this summer. The president has announced today that he will indeed sign the bill, so don't expect any Obama drama here.

The bill allows consumers who purchased a handset from a carrier, to request that it be unlocked. At the same time, a third party can also request that a phone be unlocked at the direction of the owner. Thanks to the bill, the owner of a cellphone no longer has to wait to see if his carrier will follow-up on a request to unlock a phone. If a handset was purchased under a contract, the terms of the contract must be fulfilled first. In other words, if you signed a two-year contract with Verizon, the terms of that contract must have been completed by the owner of the device first, before the phone can be unlocked.

The bill doesn't permanently allow cellphones to be unlocked. In 2015, the Library of Congress will reconsider the rule again, and will continue to do so for every three years. Laura Moy, staff attorney at advocacy group Public Knowledge, said that the bill will keep millions of cellphones from landfills. The law requires the reinstatement of an exemption to the section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that prohibited unlocking a phone. It also directs the Library of Congress to determine whether the same unlocking ability should be given to owners of tablets.


source: NPR, TheVerge via Engadget

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26 Comments

1. sid8911

Posts: 54; Member since: May 29, 2010

Is this carrier unlocking, bootloader unlocking, or both?

3. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Maybe both.

4. iamoa unregistered

*off-topic:* guys, is galaxy alpha and galaxy F and galaxy s5 prime all the same? actually, going to buy galaxy s5 in a day or two so was wandering that if something better than galaxy s5 is coming (not the alpha ofcourse) so i should wait a lil. or if all these are same then i am good to go with galaxy s5. the alpha leaks and render leaks by evleaks of galaxy F looks completely different so that pops up the question in my mind. please do help. cheers. :)

9. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

S5 is a good buy but better wait for s5 prime or what ever they call it maybe just maybe they added additonal features in it that would be a deal breaker to you.

11. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

I would wait a while, because Samsung is definitely planning to release some kind of premium version of the S5...

2. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Good thing I live in Asia where every OEM sell unlocked phones.

5. HASHTAG unregistered

I sometimes hate how this country runs.

8. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Seriously.

10. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Seriously.

20. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

There are other options for you guys to live, like Malawi, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Haiti, Belarus, North Korea, and more. Look on the bright side, no waiting lines either! Below is a link to some best seller suit cases also. Thought it might help. http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Clothing-Suitcases/zgbs/apparel/2477388011 Also a direct link to Ethiopian airlines. http://www.flyethiopian.com/en/default.aspx Cheers =)

24. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

You won, the US is a better place to live than Malawi, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Haiti, Belarus, N. Korea. Meanwhile, those living in Canada, Holland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Chile, etc. pity the US.

25. Vexify

Posts: 570; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

Dont misunderstand me here, there are places I'd love to live more than the US. But it is what it is. Every country has negative factors. People take the US for granted a lot though.

6. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Locked cellphones are a stupid thing in the first place...

7. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

A bill that kind of allows one to exercises property rights over what one owns, for now, until some time in the future in these corporatist states of america.

12. jesusnexo unregistered

No more 90 dollar unlock for iphones

13. Landmarkcm

Posts: 507; Member since: Aug 11, 2009

So all these sites operating online that have been doing it & still are. They are operating illegally I guess technically..?

14. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Maybe it is because I am not american, but how can it be illegal to do this to your own property? Specifically how did it become illegal in the first place?

15. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

The rights of individuals are overridden by corporate interests. This is what America is about, if not on paper, in reality.

16. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

But wasn't the US constitution specifically made 'for the people'? While I don't know it really, it is at the very least portrayed to be to protect people from overlords/tyrants e.t.c. which referred to the English crown back then yes? If that is so, it really makes no sense the whole corporation thing that US has now it seems? wouldn't it be against the constitution?

18. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

It is. Augustine is making a short gerneralization. Now corporations don't override the Constiution per say. But corporations and special interest groups control a lot of currupt politicians. The obama administration has brought this to a new level, with it's complete disregard for the Constitution. Just like every country, yours included, money talks, and those who have money, tend to get things they want.

19. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Meh, Unfortunately true. Money/Power tends to corrupt no matter where you are. Less in some countries, more in others. But going against the founding principles of the countries constitution, doesn't happen (yet) so many places. Isn't there something the citizens can do, or have people given up because of they don't believe they can win against big corps, can't protest certain places e.t.c.?

23. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Citizens are all accomplices of the states of things. How many times don't people in these comment boxes come out defending carriers acting in their sole interests against the consumers, or they themselves? It's the same thing. Americans were indoctrinated to be subservient in school and are ready to do so, be it at the school itself, in the workplace, in the state, in the military. Sure, they are allowed small freedoms, even to the point of inebriation, but just so that they don't realize the great freedoms that they are denied. They are used to being told what to do by any authority figure. Every airport is not unlike Checkpoint Charlie... from its Eastern side. Yet, after being frisked without probable cause, they huff and puff about being a chosen race under the stars and stripes. There is no worst blind than the one who doesn't want to see.

17. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

If he put his HanCock on Obam-BamCare, he needs to sign this forthwith!!

21. chebner

Posts: 249; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

"In 2015, the Library of Congress will reconsider the rule again...". Do you mean Congress will reconsider the rule in 2015? The Library of Congress is a library, a collection of books and other publications. The Library of Congress holds no legislative power.

26. Gibscreen

Posts: 32; Member since: Jun 03, 2014

Why the F do they have to review it every 3 years? Just make a damn law and later if it needs to be changed, change it. With a review every 3 years they can "quietly" let it expire if they want to be the carrier's bitch again.

27. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Because it raises their fee to legislate for the highest bidder.

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