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The contentious cell phone unlocking ban that went into effect this year may be on the ropes. The Obama administration filed a petition (pdf) with the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday, asking the agency to create new rules that would allow cell phone users to unlock their handsets once their carrier contracts expire. The petition, formally filed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), requires that wireless carriers unlock devices that are paid in full, allowing users to move their device to another carrier. Currently, the law mandates that wireless customers may only unlock their devices with permission from the carrier. The Librarian of Congress, which issues new rules every three years to allow for exemptions to the DMCA, decided to remove cell phone unlocking from the list of approved practices last year, where it sat since 2006.
Sina Khanifar, an entrepreneur turned digital rights activist who launched the White House petition, says the NTIA petition is an important first step toward restoring consumer rights.
Khanifar adds that, even if the petition successfully lifts the ban, it does not solve all the problems.
Update: Well, would you look at that, just moments after reports of a deal being near comes the news that a deal has actually been reached. Disclosure: Each carrier will post on its website its clear, concise, and readily accessible policy on postpaid and prepaid mobile wireless device unlocking.
Postpaid Unlocking Policy: Carriers, upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices or provide the necessary information to unlock their devices for their customers and former customers in good standing and individual owners of eligible devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device financing plan or payment of an applicable early termination fee.
Prepaid Unlocking Policy: Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.
Notice: Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely when devices are eligible for unlocking, without additional fee. Response Time: Within two business days after receiving a request, carriers will unlock eligible mobile wireless devices or initiate a request to the OEM to unlock the eligible device, or provide an explanation of why the device does not qualify for unlocking, or why the carrier reasonably needs additional time to process the request. Deployed Personnel Unlocking Policy: Carriers will unlock mobile wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing upon provision of deployment papers. Carriers reserve the right to decline an unlock request if they have a reasonable basis to believe the request is fraudulent or the device is stolen. But carriers already unlock devices upon customer request it if they’re out of contract. First of all, the disclosure provision is definitely new and not something the carriers are going to necessarily like.
What consumers need is a way to unlock their phone ahead of their contract expiration as long as their account is in good standing and they are obliged to continue their monthly payments.
So the government believes we should have a choice in cell carrier, but not a choice in healthcare providers or service. Senate Passes Cell Phone Unlocking Bill, What Does It All Mean For You And Your Cell Phone Plan? The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act sounds like a mouthful, perhaps too much to care about, but it’s going to change the way you do business with your cell phone company. Before this law was amended, you could not switch phone companies and continue to use your cell phone from a different carrier. This means wireless providers can treat you unfairly and do whatever they please, but if you are unhappy and want to switch services, you can’t take your phone with you, unless you want to go to jail. On February 25, 2014, the house passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act into law. The whole reason unlocking cell phones became illegal in the first place has to do with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, specifically a part titled “Section 1201.” Instituted in 1998, the DMCA is poorly written and criminalizes seemingly unrelated acts, thus taking away consumer freedoms.
According to Tim O’Reilly, “Section 1201 of the DMCA takes away critical rights from owners of consumer electronics. Since the Library of Congress is elected to protect the rights of everyday Americans, and not big corporate interests, they are fast to fight this off.
The CTIA gives another defense for keeping the ‘unlock’ law in place, warning that unlocked cell phones will increase the ease of stealing and selling smartphones. If you want to switch carriers for any reason at all, you can switch without buying a new phone. Those excited about the law changes can thank Sina Khanifar, the man behind the movement to stop the ban on unlocked cell phones.
A clear improvement from before when cell phones were 100% illegal to unlock, there are still 5 key problems with the current unlock act. Since cell phone carriers seem reluctant to follow along with the new rules, the FCC is being pushed to continually check up on providers and see if they are making it easy for customers to have their phones unlocked.
Some service providers will still not allow you to unlock your device unless your service plan has spanned the entire 2-years and the contract is now expired.


While the new act asks the Library of Congress to make an exception and include other mobile devices in its law, as of now it does not.
Anything that increases competition and makes customer retention more difficult is clearly not going to be loved and adored by any brand trying to make money and keep down costs. Beginning Friday, August 1st, it is once again legal to unshackle your carrier-locked cell phone in the United States.
The post continued, “The petition drew an extraordinary response, with more than 114,000 citizens making their voices heard. Just so we're on same page, the anti-trump protestors over the last 24 hours > any incidents at trump rallies ever, combined. A White House petition calling on the Library of Congress to make cell phone unlocking legal again has caught the attention of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The power to change the rule more directly lies with Congress and the Librarian of Congress.
After several angry consumers became aware of the new ban, they brought the media’s attention to the issue and created a White House petition to make unlocking cell phones legal again. If approved, wireless carriers would be required by law to unlock customers’ devices. If enacted, the new FCC rules would also allow those who buy secondhand devices to unlock them via the original carrier.
If a person unlocks a device without carrier permission, he or she would be in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), which protects the software used by carriers to lock devices to their networks. As of January, unlocking a device without wireless carrier approval has carried a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $2,500 fine per violation. Older devices and those produced by smaller manufacturers may not be easily unlocked due to out-of-date or incomplete databases of unlock codes.
The CTIA has posted a PDF document that reveals some of the agreed upon terms of the negotiations.
However, there is now a clear and concise message for cell phone unlocking in the US and the timelines for each type of customer.
Everything else is already being followed and for anyone who actually wants their device to be unlocked, either by already knowing devices can be unlocked or through googling to find out how to use a device on another carrier and learning about unlocking, is not hindered in any way by the current implementation that they will not be by the new one. This new law allows users to ‘unlock’ their phones and take them over to any service carrier they want.
In order to use your phone through a different service provider you must have the phone unlocked. People that needed to unlock a phone for financial or travel reasons risked up to 5 years jail time doing so. Even if your phone was fully paid for and your contract was canceled or no longer in effect, the phone was not to be unlocked and used through any other service. In 2009, Texas Instruments threatened to sue 3 different bloggers after they each wrote about ways you can “reverse-engineer” aTI-83 Plus calculator so that it runs a completely different operating system.
One member of the Library of Congress spoke out about their decision to leave the law alone, Gayle Osterberg, said that her team of congress kept the cell law the same because they believed cell phone providers could be trusted to take care of when and when not to unlock their phones. Even though the law has now passed, he remains busy making sure that Congress renews the exemptions for tablets and other devices.
If on a whim you decide to travel abroad and unlock your own device, it is still considered a felony punishable with up to 5 years in prison. If a long and tedious process is asked of all customers that want their phone unlocked, this isn’t useful and shouldn’t be accepted.
Every company is different; you will have to read the fine print to find out what your cell phone service offers (Read More).
Only phones can be unlocked, no smart watches or tablets are included in the current unlock bill. Therefore, it’s no surprise that cell phone carriers like AT&T and Verizon were slow to come to an agreement about changing the law so that cell phones can legally be unlocked.
The deal constructed stated that unlocked cell phones are legal, but they won’t come unlocked, instead customers have to ask their carrier to unlock the phone.
Email * With the introduction of a new bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives, U.S. Find out everything we know so far, including how you can get your hands on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered this November. This new law will make unlocking those cell phones for use on other networks via a third party legal once again after an amendment to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act made it illegal last year. Under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) the Librarian of Congress was authorized to issue exemptions to the law, which bans technology that violates copy write laws.


The petition has now exceeded the 100,000 signature threshold and is awaiting the White House’s response. The unlocking ban would also be lifted for both cell phones and tablets that are locked to a specific carrier. Further, says Khanifar, the new rules would not require wireless carriers to unlock devices in a timely manner.
The bottom line is no matter what, this is a major win for consumers and the overall industry even if the carriers are probably steaming over the deal. Notice to prepaid customers may occur at point of sale, at the time of eligibility, or through a clear and concise statement of the policy on the carrier’s website. Most turn to questionable services on line (some legit, some aren’t, I love Chronicunlocks).
Once upon a time it was legal to unlock your phone, but since 2012, unlocking your cell phone has been punishable by jail time. If unlocking is illegal, that means you can’t buy a Verizon iPhone and then use it at AT&T, even if you later switch to their services. It’s become normal, but when you think about it it’s completely unfair, if you have purchased the phone it’s rightfully yours and you should be allowed to do as you please with it. From 2006 until 2012 the Library of Congress made an amendment in the law that allowed cell phones to be unlocked legally. There are so many issues with this law that there is an entire movement surrounding the need to fix the DMCA, hence how over 115,000 signatures were collected last year in protest.
He also strives to make these measures permanent so that if one-year people turn a blind eye, cell phone companies don’t end up winning over the average American again. Cell phone companies further negotiated that phones can only be unlocked after the contract is canceled or has come to an end. However once the contract runs out and you want to swap to a different carrier, you can’t because the phone is locked, but by unlocking it, it would be usable on another carrier’s network. Previously the Librarian of Congress had opted not to criminalize the unlocking of cell phones, but changed his mind late last year.
For other carries, since I just assumed their processes would be similarly standardized considering they are major carriers, things may be getting a lot more user-friendly. President Obama calls the new law, “…another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, that that they can find a cellphone carrier that meets their needs and their budget.” He signed the bill into action and applauded Congress for their good work. When you want it to do something more, you can’t modify it.” Many of these unwarranted bans come directly from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The strange thing is that in 2012 they decided not to extend the exception, causing quite a commotion.
It is said that cell phone service providers were putting a lot of pressure on the Library of Congress to leave the law as-is, without the amendment from 2006-2012. Of course there are some caveats and conditions before a customer can unlock their phone, but at least with the bill being passed and signed, it would no longer make it illegal for them to do so.Filed in Cellphones. What the FCC really needs to do is something regarding the insane prices of services such as texting. This started a movement, which was able to collect over 114,000 signatures bound for the White House, in hopes of changing the law. This way, cell phones would legally have to remain locked, an obvious upside for businesses like Verizon and T-Mobile.
Find out when the game is headed to stores and check out the first Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer from Activision and Infinity Ward.
You only need 100,000 signatures in order for the White House to check into an issue and offer a response. Librarian of Congress in October 2012 changed the DMCA to stop cell phone users from unlocking their devices.Unlocking Cell phone bill will allow Americans travelling in foreign countries to access local cell phone networks and avoid un-necessary roaming charges. It can’t possibly cost that much to send such trivial amounts of data, even when in the thousands of messages. Later that same year, in 2013, President Obama spoke publicly about the issue, and asked that the Federal Communications Commission change out the rules and give consumers back their right to unlock their phone. Only T-Mo really at the disadvantage, but they seem to be OK with that because they’ve already pushed ahead with the no-contract business model. Finally, it kinda appears to indicate that PrePay doesn’t HAVE to tell you at point of sale if the device is or will be locked, just that they MAY.



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