This White House Petition Aims to Make Unlocking Devices Legal Again

White House Petition

Unofficially unlocking an iPhone, Galaxy S III, or literally any other cell phone that runs on the United States’ airwaves is going to be illegal starting Saturday. An action that once was just a breach of a contract with a carrier could now be prosecuted as a criminal issue. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or any other carrier can prosecute someone who unlocks their device and use it on another carrier (perhaps for a completely legitimate reason, like traveling overseas).

Doesn’t really seem fair. But how could one protest? There’s already a petition, currently at only 509 signatures, on This petition has a relatively simple goal:

As of January 26, consumers will no longer be able unlock their phones for use on a different network without carrier permission, even after their contract has expired.

Consumers will be forced to pay exorbitant roaming fees to make calls while traveling abroad. It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full.

The Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked.

We ask that the White House ask the Librarian of Congress to rescind this decision, and failing that, champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal.

The threshold of getting a petition to reach the Office of the President of the United States of America is currently at 100,000. That’s a big number, but the number of smartphone owners in the United States is literally exponentially greater. A bill making it permanently legal to unlock a smartphone could affect a huge percentage of those users.

So maybe it’s worth taking five minutes and signing this petition?


Post a response / What do you think?