Senate passes bill allowing mobile phone owners to unlock devices

  • 17 July 2014
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Grant Gross   Jul 16, 2014
 
The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that would allow mobile phone customers to unlock their devices for the purposes of switching carriers.
 
The Senate, late Tuesday, approved the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act by unanimous consent.
 
The bill would overturn a January 2013 decision by the Library of Congress that removed legal protections for mobile phone unlocking. The library had previously allowed phone unlocking as an exception to the security circumvention provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA gives the Library of Congress rule-making authority over the anti-circumvention provisions in the law.
 
The House of Representatives passed its own version of a mobile phone unlocking bill in February. The House would have to pass the Senate bill before it goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
 
The Senate bill reinstates a 2010 rule by the librarian of Congress that allows mobile phone owners to unlock their devices without running afoul of copyright laws. It also directs the librarian of Congress to consider whether other wireless devices, like tablets, should be eligible for unlocking.
 
Full story
 

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Agreed Beth!  Apparently things are quite different in Europe, where people buy phones individually and expect to be able to switch carriers whenever it is convenient for them.
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This bill is long overdue. Consumers pay for atheir phone and should not be required to purchase another phone if they decide to change their wireless provider.
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Commnet: We get some breathing room and freedom with our cellphone
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By Stephen LawsonAugust 1, 2014 08:24 PM ET IDG News Service - The right to unlock your cellphone became law on Friday as President Barack Obama signed a bill that rapidly passed both houses of the U.S. Congress.
The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act passed in the Senate on July 16 and was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives last Friday. Obama had been expected to sign it.
The law restores U.S. consumers' rights to update the software on their phones so they can change mobile operators. That practice had been outlawed by a January 2013 decision by the Library of Congress, which ruled that consumer unlocking violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
 
ComputerWorld/ Full Article Here/ http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9250121/Obama_signs_cellphone_unlocking_bill

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