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FCC to Probe Cell Phone Unlocking Ban

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#1 Scorbing

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 13:58

Source: http://www.pcmag.com...,2416149,00.asp



The Federal Communications Commission confirmed today that it will investigate the ban on cell phone unlocking.


An FCC spokesman did not have any other details on what that might entail or when the probe would commence.


Reports of the FCC investigation were first reported by TechCrunch, which spoke to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Thursday evening at the blog's CrunchGov event in San Francisco.


Genachowski told TechCrunch that the ban "raises competitive concerns." At this point it's unclear if the FCC actually has any authority to step into the debate, but that's something Genachowski said he will look into "to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones," he told the blog.


At issue is an October decision from the Library of Congress's Copyright Office, which gave consumers a 90-day window to unlock their phones without carrier permission before that practice became illegal in January.


The Copyright Office reviews the rules on unlocking (and jailbreaking) every three years, as required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This time around, regulators found that "there are ample alternatives to circumvention. That is, the marketplace has evolved such that there is now a wide array of unlocked phone options available to consumers."


As a result, U.S. consumers can no longer unlock their phones unless they get permission from their carriers.


Opponents argue that the decision reduces consumer choice, will open up regular mobile phone users to carrier lawsuits, and create more e-waste.


OpenSignal's Sina Khanifar, who tangled with Motorola over unlocking years ago, created a White House petition asking the administration to overturn the Copyright Office's decision. It recently passed the 100,000 e-signature threshold required for an official White House response.




#2 Growled

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:13

As a result, U.S. consumers can no longer unlock their phones unless they get permission from their carriers.


That's just wrong. I should be able to do what I want with my phone.

#3 LaP

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:22

I swear one day in USA it will become illegal to open a computer and replace parts and change the OS. It will all be locked and illegal to temper with.

Would be cool if USA was still a leader in the department of freedom.

#4 C-Squarez

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:03

I swear one day in USA it will become illegal to open a computer and replace parts and change the OS. It will all be locked and illegal to temper with.

Would be cool if USA was still a leader in the department of freedom.


+1

#5 OP Scorbing

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:18

That's just wrong. I should be able to do what I want with my phone.


(Y)

#6 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 10:49

Would be cool if USA was still a leader in the department of freedom.


Alas, the USA hasn't been that since the end of the 1950's.

#7 HawkMan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:03

The thing is of course, it's not your phone. until you paid it off, you're merely leasing the phone.
'
'
The right way to do it is to elarn from Scandinavia(Europe?) where the law is that they company can't refuse you to unlock the phone, but if you want to unlock it, you have to pay them out, well that is mostly up to them, but they have the right to ask for compensation of the remaining cost of the phone they covered.

That way they can't "lock" you into them as a carrier, and you can still get a subsidized phone.

Either way you are in a contract with the company selling you the phone, or leasing it, and if the contract says you are not allowed to alter it, that's what the contract says. and that includes unlocking and rooting.

Would be cool if USA was still a leader in the department of freedom.


Ah but in this case, and when it omes to the kind of "freedom" the US population means, they are. They are a capitalist country who things companies should be under no regulations.

So their freedom is that the company is free to make whatever contracts they want under whatever terms they want, and if you the customer don't like it, you are "free" to pick another carrir who doesn't lock you into ridiculous contracts.

of course what these "free capitalist" people fail to realize is that all companies will simply do the same restrictive contracts that give all benefits to them, and you the customer is screwed and have noone to turn to since the government isn't supposed to interfere.

that's freedom for you ;)

#8 Nayos

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:04

The thing is of course, it's not your phone. until you paid it off, you're merely leasing the phone.
'
'
The right way to do it is to elarn from Scandinavia(Europe?) where the law is that they company can't refuse you to unlock the phone, but if you want to unlock it, you have to pay them out, well that is mostly up to them, but they have the right to ask for compensation of the remaining cost of the phone they covered.

That way they can't "lock" you into them as a carrier, and you can still get a subsidized phone.

Either way you are in a contract with the company selling you the phone, or leasing it, and if the contract says you are not allowed to alter it, that's what the contract says. and that includes unlocking and rooting.


It is your phone. You pay for it as part of your contract, sure, but it's still your phone. You can sell it on day 1 of your contract if you wanted to.

#9 HawkMan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:11

It is your phone. You pay for it as part of your contract, sure, but it's still your phone. You can sell it on day 1 of your contract if you wanted to.


It's your phone when the contract is out. sure you can sell it. just like you can sell a car you have a loan on, you still need to pay it down. and depending on the contract you may have liabilities. like some car loans may require a certain level of insurance.

#10 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 13:46

of course what these "free capitalist" people fail to realize is that all companies will simply do the same restrictive contracts that give all benefits to them, and you the customer is screwed and have noone to turn to since the government isn't supposed to interfere.

that's freedom for you ;)



But the government IS interfering by siding with the corporations and making it illegal to unlock your phone.

A government's job is to protect its people, not its corporations.

Also, considering you're locked into the contract term, why would it matter to the phone company whether you unlock or not? They're still getting their pound of flesh either way.

#11 HawkMan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 14:18

But the government IS interfering by siding with the corporations and making it illegal to unlock your phone.

A government's job is to protect its people, not its corporations.

Also, considering you're locked into the contract term, why would it matter to the phone company whether you unlock or not? They're still getting their pound of flesh either way.


Actually the government is just upholding the law that a contract is a binding document and you need to abide by it.

As for why, because the operators also has contracts with the OEMs and google and so on.

Also, unlocked(lets use the term rooted as unlocked it something else) phones have in the past been able to cause problems on the operators network due to modified signals and such.

Also in a pure free capitalist country, the government is not there to protect the peopel anymore than the governments, it's there to protect the country and the people can fend for themselves.

#12 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 15:58

Actually the government is just upholding the law that a contract is a binding document and you need to abide by it.


Contracts are a civil matter, not criminal. They're taking the purely civil issue of breaching contract and making it a criminal offence. That's just ridiculous.