Feeds

In the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave ... you can legally carrier unlock your own phone

Once Obama signs law passed today by House of Reps

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Here at Vulture West, we're looking out for porcine aviators: the usually divided US House of Representatives unanimously passed a law allowing people who've bought phones to actually unlock the things from their carriers.

It comes just a week after the Senate showed a similarly united stance.

"With today's House passage of the bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, this important legislation is headed to the President for his signature," said the bill's sponsor Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-FL).

"This law will protect consumer choice by allowing flexibility when it comes to choosing a wireless carrier. This is something that Americans have been asking for and I am pleased that we were able to work together to ensure the swift passage of legislation restoring the exemption that allowed consumers to unlock their cell phones."

More than 100,000 of those Americans signed a petition to the White House demanding the unlocking after the Librarian of Congress decided unilaterally to reverse his earlier position. Up until last January unlocking phones from a carrier network was legal, and the decision to change stance was unpopular with both the public and the White House.

However, getting a law passed has been a slow and tortuous process. Although the House passed a bill on the matter last year it took until last week for the Senate to stir itself into action. Even then the House had to vote again on Friday because of differing language in the legislation over the rights of third-party firms to unlock handsets and sell them on.

The House bill does also have some extra good news for consumers. The amended legislation also allows the unlocking of tablets and any other electronic device that comes from a carrier.

Given President Obama's stated preference for unlocking he should be expected to sign off on the legislation as soon as possible. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.