FCC to Investigate Smartphone Unlocking Ban

by - 8 years ago

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission mentioned about the Library of Congress’s controversial decision to stop allowing consumers to unlock their cellphones so that they can switch to their preferred wireless carriers.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski gave an interview to techcrunch, where said that the “ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns.” during the CrunchGov event in their San Francisco headquarters.

The Digital Millennium Copyright act allows the congress the power to make exemptions to the anti- circumvention process. During its latest rulemaking process, the congress cancelled the exemption for cellphone unlocking. Up till now, these provisions were in effect for the last six years.

It’s because of this decision, that unlocked cellphones that were purchased after January 26 to switch to preferred wireless carriers will lead to civil and maybe criminal penalties.

Last week there was a petition filed on the White House’s website which attracted 100,000 signatures viz. a bare minimum signups where an official white house response is supposed to be given.

While the FCC may be investigating the change and will try to bring more clarity into this issue, it’s unclear if the FCC has the authority to resolve this on behalf of the people. Genachowski however said that they will be looking at ways to see if they can reverse this decision. He said,”It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones.”

Derek Khanna, an online activist and a former staff member in the Republican party was the one responsible to publicize this issue. He did say that the FCC’s decision to look into the matter as terrific development as this decision is indefensible.

He also pointed out that the Competitive Carriers Association has called for the ban on cellphone unlocking to be removed. The Carrier Association represents wireless carriers such as Sprint, T-Mobile and many smaller wireless carriers.

Source: Ars Technica

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