FCC Chairman to Look Into Cellphone Unlocking Ban

Mar 1, 2013 3:29pm
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FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Roll Call/Getty Images.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says he plans to look into the law that has made it illegal for Americans to unlock their phones, says TechCrunch. According to the tech news site, Genachowski says the “ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns.”

Last month it became illegal to unlock your cellphone, which makes it possible for the phone to work on other carriers if you make a software alteration and put in a new SIM card, or take the phone to another carrier for service.

When reached by ABC News, the FCC confirmed the chairman’s comments, but had nothing further to say at the moment.

Immediately people took to protesting the new rule.  A “We the People” White House petition has garnered over 100,000 signatures, now requiring the White House to respond. Unlocking a phone, Genachowski, however, isn’t sure what sort of control he may have over the law. “It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones,” Genachowski told TechCrunch. The FCC regulates radio, television, wire and cellular communications in the U.S.

Unlocking a cellphone was legal until Jan. 26.  In October 2012 the U.S. Copyright Office and Library of Congress decided to remove phone unlocking as an exemption under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

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