by Brent Dirks
August 1, 2014
After being passed unanimously by both the Senate and House of Representatives, U.S. President Barack Obama will today sign the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Once signed, it will once again be legal for consumers to unlock their phones. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, one the bill’s sponsors, wrote more about the law in a White House blog post co-authored by Jeff Zients:
What we saw in the end was a bipartisan commitment to solve a problem that affects millions of Americans. This month, the Senate and the House both unanimously passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act -- the first time a We the People petition has led to a legislative fix. The bill not only restores the rights of consumers to unlock their phones, but ensures that they can receive help doing so if they lack the technological savvy to unlock on their own. The most important part of this joint effort is that it will have a real impact. As long as their phone is compatible and they have complied with their contracts, consumers will now be able to enjoy the freedom of taking their mobile service -- and a phone they already own -- to the carrier that best fits their needs. At a time when partisan gridlock all too often threatens progress on everyday issues that matter to consumers, working together we listened to your voices, and the American people benefited as a result.Consumers were banned from unlocking their phones in 2013 because of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Soon after, almost 114,000 citizens signed a petition for Congress and the White House to overturn the ruling. The bill also directs the Library of Congress to study legalizing other wireless devices like tablets. For other news today, see: Apple welcomes Beats Music and Beats Electronics to the 'family,' Realmac updates Ember for Mac with screen recording feature, and Screen size not the only difference between Apple's two rumored 'iPhone 6' models?