The Obama administration is taking a position on unlocking cell phones — namely, that it should be legal.
The statement — by R. David Edelman, the administration’s Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation & Privacy — comes in response to a successful petition on the administration’s “We the People” website, reports the Associated Press.
More than 114,000 people signed the petition calling for the legalization of phone unlocking. Currently, unlocking a cell phone — which allows users to keep their device when switching networks and carriers — carries the risk of both criminal and civil prosecution.
The official position Edelman put forth says owners of mobile devices — tablet computers as well as cell phones — should be able to unlock them provided they paid for the device and are under no service agreement or other obligation. The administration believes such a move would protect consumer choice and promote innovation and competition.
The administration is asking that the government organizations responsible for such things — including the Federal Communications Commission and the Librarian of Congress — put together a plan that would take this view into account. It would support a set of narrowly written legislative acts that dealt with the unlocking of mobile devices should such be proposed by congress.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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