Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Obama Administration ask FCC to Unlock Phones

Earlier this year an exemption in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act expired and effectively made it illegal for consumers to unlock without explicit permission from their carriers. There was quite a bit of backlash to the decision, and after a petition to reverse the decision gained over 100,000 signatures, the White House officially issued a statement saying that consumers that have paid for a device and aren't bound to a service agreement should be free to unlock their hardware.
The Obama administration today filed a petition with the FCC asking that all carriers be required to provide unlocks for all mobile hardware. In the petition, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration requests that the FCC begins work on new rules that would place the burden of unlocking mobile hardware on the carriers and require that they provide unlocks in a consistent and swift manner. 
There's no guarantee yet that any FCC action will be taken as a result of this petition, but it's good to see the White House finally taking action on this issue and working to make unlocking mobile hardware easier for consumers. It's also worth noting that the petition includes the unlocking of tablets and other wireless devices in addition to phones.