Dept. of Commerce takes tiny step towards restoring right to unlock cellphones

20 09 2013
My fellow Americans: our government has taken a baby step that may just let us, once again, legally unlock our own mobile phones. On Tuesday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) submitted a formal application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would reinstate this former right. The NTIA, which sits under the Department of Commerce, is the president’s primary advisory agency on telecom and information policy.As Ars has reported before, the legality of unlocking one’s cell phone to run on any network has flipped back and forth throughout the past several years. It was deemed illegal to unlock a phone under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, then it was made legal by the Library of Congress in an exception to the DMCA passed in 2006. The Library chose not to renew the exemption in 2012, however, and it expired in January 2013. Both the White House and Congress want unlocking rights to be restored.


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