The White House will have to provide answers on whether it thinks cell phone unlocking should be illegal. Unlocking cell phones unlocks them from specific carriers, allowing users to switch to a different cellular provider. This was the law until recently, when the Library of Congress decided not to renew the Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemption for open access.
Angry cell phone users accusation The White House is petitioning for a change of this policy. The petition was filed days after the White House said petitions would only be answered if they received 100,000 signatures within a month, instead of the previous threshold of 25,000.
The mobile phone unlocking request exceeded 100,000 today, two days before the deadline. You can also sign it if you want. The text reads:
WE ASK THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Are Unlocked Cell Phones Legal.
The Senate of Congress decided in October 2012 that unlocking cell phones would be excluded from the exemptions to the DMCA.
On January 26, customers will no longer be able to unlock their phones for use on another network without the carrier’s permission, even after their contract has expired.
Customers will be forced to pay higher roaming charges to make calls while traveling abroad. It reduces consumer choice, and reduces the reusability of devices that customers have paid for in full.
The librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones now, but most of the phones sold are still locked.
We ask that the White House ask the Speaker of Congress to cancel this decision, and if that fails, champion a bill that makes it completely legal.
While the White House often provides a response to petitions, there does not appear to be any deadline for doing so. For example, a successful petition from May 2012 asking the government to “require free access on the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from tax-funded research” went and did not answer.