Eric sez, "The Library of Congress recently withdrew the cell phone unlocking exception to the DMCA. In response, a 'We the People' petition was created to ask the White House to weigh in and push to overturn the LoC's decision. Less than two weeks after the petition period closed, White House advisor R. David Edelman has now issued an official response pledging support for the freedom to unlock not only mobile phones, but also tablets. White House advisor R. David Edelman has now issued an official response pledging support for the freedom to unlock not only mobile phones, but also tablets."

29 Responses to “White House weighs in on right to unlock your phone”

  1. Allen Bukoff says:

    there’s an echo in here. in here.  

  2. Goodsq says:

    Solution is simple – don’t carry phones, or smart phones. Don’t be on internet, or use computers :-)

  3. SedanChair says:

    Talk is cheap. It was cheap before Obama flooded the market with talk and drove down the price, and it’s even cheaper now.

  4. C W says:

    Is this potentially the only useful thing to come from internet petitions yet?

    • EH says:

      Yeah, they’re really sticking their neck out on this one.

      • How dashing, how unprecedented, nay revolutionary, endorsing a viewpoint taken up by pretty much every single one of their constituents regardless of political affiliation. It could threaten lobby money though… don’t forget the poor lobbyists, they’re a constituency too! Oohhh the lobbyists are so poor, would nobody think of the lobbing minority ffs!? Don’t forget, corporations are people too. They should not be discriminated against. Will nobody think of poor abused monopoly holding corporations? What has the world come to?

  5. twianto says:

    White House advisor R. David Edelman has now issued an official response pledging support for the freedom to unlock not only mobile phones, but also tablets. White House advisor R. David Edelman has now issued an official response pledging support for the freedom to unlock not only mobile phones, but also tablets.

    Okay, but there’s one thing that isn’t addressed in the blurb: has White House advisor R. David Edelman now issued an official response pledging support for the freedom to unlock not only mobile phones, but also tablets?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

  6. MythicalMe says:

    This would be good news, if Obama wasn’t mired in other problems now. I think that the President would get behind this as a less objectionable than copyright and patent reforms.

    Personally, I would rather see industries stop using DRM and data locks altogether.

    • EH says:

      The Obama Administration coming down on the side of unlocking, compared to all of the other benefits telcos receive, is the equivalent of telling the TSA they can’t insert more than one finger into your rectum.

  7. Bangorian says:

    I’d be more interested in seeing some action than in reading that they are in support of someone taking action.  If the Librarian of Congress has the authority to ban unlocking, then surely someone has the authority to tell said Librarian to shove off, right?

    • Eric0142 says:

      Congress. He’s their Librarian.

      From a NY Times piece on the issue: “Because the Library of Congress, and therefore the copyright office, are part of the legislative branch, the White House cannot simply overturn the current ruling. But both the White House and the F.C.C. urged Congress to take up the issue.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/05/technology/fcc-urges-a-right-to-unlock-cellphones.html?_r=0

      • toobigtofail says:

         Oh. Congress. Right.

        Never mind.

      • bill_mcgonigle says:

        Obama can executive order the DoJ and the FBI to not pursue any cases arising from such complaints.  The Capitol Police aren’t exactly outfitted for such duties.

        • Eric0142 says:

          The DoJ and FBI are law enforcement and rarely take that sort of direction (what criminal laws to follow, what not to follow) from the executive. And it won’t stop rights holders from bringing civil cases.

          There’s probably more that the WH could do, but this is a start.

          • ohbejoyful says:

            Law enforcement is part of the executive branch of government.  They “execute” the laws that the legislative branch enact.  The DOJ and the FBI are under the direction of the President.  For instance, the President has instructed the DOJ not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.

            Municipal law enforcement, aka the police, are under the direction of the mayor, and state police similarly under the governor. This means that in Oregon, where marijuana is legal for medical use, the local authorities have instructed their law enforcement to go after pot users only if they have nothing else to do.

  8. Scott Wetterschneider says:

    Whoa, whoa, hold on. This isn’t about phones. It’s about owning ANYTHING we buy. Phones are computers. We need protection to be allowed full access to any computer we buy and by logical extension should own. We also need protection to “allow” us freedom to lend books, sell 2nd software, refill printers, backup media, bypass region-locks, access laws and ordinances.

    • l337n00b says:

      Maybe someone needs a different angle on this problem.  We all know future wars are going to be cyberwars, right?  So computers are weapons.  Second amendment!

      • oasisob1 says:

        You can’t tell me that there’s any good reason to have a quadcore with 32GB of RAM. We realize that computers will never be completely banned, but we think1950′s era pocket calculators should be sufficient for any personal need.

    • Jacob Ewing says:

      Exactly.  What they’re claiming to support is a ridiculously limited exception.  It should be taken for granted that you have every right to hack your purchased items however you see fit.

      If auto-manufacturers produced automobiles that could only be driven on privately owned toll roads, then this would be equivalent to the government supporting one’s right to modify hatchbacks and motorbikes.

  9. donovan acree says:

    Sounds like some people in congress have a great angle here. They pledge ‘support’ to allow unlocking phones. As a result they will receive truckloads of cash from the cell carriers to make sure that support remains only support.

  10. KevinRaposo says:

    Well it’s good to see they that the politicians are finally doing their job! 

    • l337n00b says:

      Is their job to say, “Oh yes, we agree”?  Because that’s all they’ve done.

      • KevinRaposo says:

        True, but I believe it’s their job to agree and move forward with this. Hopefully they can get it done as opposed to agreeing with it. We’ll see what happens…

  11. Andrew Singleton says:

    And the War on General Purpose computing continues… 

    Make us feel grateful to have limited use consumption only devices to the point where we aren’t focused quite as much on the computer that’s being hobbled.

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