Last month, Sina Khanifar, co-founder of OpenSignal, filed a petition on whitehouse.gov for making unlocking carrier-locked phones legal. With a little over two days to spare, the petition reached the 100,000 signature goal, which means the White House must respond.
The response has now come from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission)! FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski exclusively told TechCrunch that they will investigate the ban to find if it has any harmful effects for end consumers and competitors and if the executive branch has any authority to change the law.
The “ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told at a TechCrunch CrunchGov event at San Francisco headquarters.
Per report, FCC Chairman Genachowski tone was in the favor of consumers and that ban imposed by the Librarian of Congress might be lifted soon to enable consumers to make unlocking legal again.
For six years, the US Librarian Of Congress exempted cell phone unlocks from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). But during another round of review, the decision was reversed in favor of telecom giants and cell phone unlock was stamped as illegal.
Legal protection for people who unlock their mobile phones to use them on other carrier networks got expired in January 2013.
Users who dare to unlock carrier locked iPhone – or any smartphone – in the USA are subject to legal penalties - up to $2,500 per unlocked phone in a civil suit, and $500,000 or five years in prison in a criminal case where the unlocking is done for “commercial advantage”. But the law only applies to phones purchased on or after January 26th 2013.