White House responds to cell phone unlocking petition, “agrees” with consumers
The White House has officially responded to the 114,000 plus petitioners who think that the ban on cell phone ‘unlocking’ is a violation of a users rights. Here are the official details released today.
In an official response the White House states, “The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties”. The White House went on to say that “we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones”. The White House also agrees that “if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network”.
The White House calls it “common sense” and “crucial for protecting consumer choice”. Also mentioned was the fact that these phones could be purchased second-hand or as a gift, which means that customers should have the option to choose a “wireless network that meets your needs”. The White House states, “all consumers deserve that flexibility”.
The response comes as from a meeting of President’s chief advisory Agency on these matters: the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). All of this started after the Librarian of Congress ruled that phones purchased after January of this year would no longer be exempted from the DMCA.
In the statement the Obama Administration would “support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: 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 mentioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), who the White House states “has an important role to play here”. In conclusion, the White House says that it should “encourage mobile providers to consider what steps they as businesses can take to ensure that their customers can fully reap the benefits and features they expect when purchasing their devices”.