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March 4, 2013
Whitehouse Says Yes to Unlocking Phones; Librarian of Congress Yawns
Remember that petition started at whitehouse.gov for people to advocate for the continuing ability to unlock their cellphones
? Well, the official response from the Obama administration is in and, to my surprise, it's a very clear "yes you should be able to do that."
In fact, the official response from R. David Edelman published this afternoon went further and included tablets and other mobile devices. The response, which is fairly lengthy, notes that this is consistent with past administration position, as published by the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The NTIA had in fact recommended that the DMCA exemption on unlocking be maintained, and the administration is reiterating and stepping up that position.
Unfortunately, the administration can't single-handedly order this done. As the response points out the decision still lies with the Librarian of Congress, though other agencies such as the FCC are sure to get involved. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has also chimed in his agreement with the administration on this issue.
So, what does the Librarian have to say? Um, nothing. To be fair, the brief response acknowledges that the White House has weighed in. Not that they're going to do anything about it, but at least they acknowledged.
It will be interesting to see who moves next in this little Mexican stand-off. As of now the rule is still in place - if you bought a new phone after January of this year you can't legally jailbreak it.
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