We all know that you are likely to go to jail for unlocking your iPhone and other phones tied to a carrier contract. Even when the contract is over and your phone is still tied to a carrier, unlocking it yourself in equally culpable. The law took effects from 26th January and was passed by the Library of Congress late last year. We reported it on this blog on 31st December 2012.
Well, things are about to take a different turn as consumers have petitioned the White House and the petitions got past the mandatory 100,000 signatures needed to force the White House into action. The petitions hit 114,000+ signatures. The White House has promised to look into the matter and has this to say recently:
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. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones.
R David Edelman, Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation and Privacy for the White House further said:
“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” .
With the rights groups putting pressures on the government of the United States and consumers taking their destiny into their own hands, it is not surprising that the carriers who are the sole beneficiaries of this law are kicking back. The CTIA, a trade union of the carriers through one of their lawyers has this to say:
“When the contract terms are satisfied, or for a reason that is included in the carrier’s unlocking policy – such as a trip outside the U.S. – carriers will unlock a phone at their customer’s request.”
In other words, the unlocking should only be done by the carriers on request from consumers after the carrier has satisfied itself that it is in its own interest to do so.
Whichever way the pendulum swings will be very interesting and is worth watching out for.
We shall keep monitoring the situation and keep you posted. Please bookmark and follow our blog.
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