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Cellphones United States Your Rights Online

White House Petition To Make Unlocking Phones Legal Passes 100,000 Signatures 317

An anonymous reader writes "A White House petition to make unlocking cell phones legal again has passed the 100,000 signature mark. Passing the milestone means the U.S. government has to issue an official response. On January 26th, unlocking a cell phone that is under contract became illegal in the U.S. Just before that went into effect, a petition was started at to have the Librarian of Congress revisit that decision. 'It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full. The Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked.'"
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White House Petition To Make Unlocking Phones Legal Passes 100,000 Signatures

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  • by F34nor ( 321515 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @11:46AM (#42967525)

    Break them up or replace them with a state run monopoly. Discuss.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @11:48AM (#42967553)
    Why is the government protecting a business model that is based on selling equipment at a loss?
  • Option 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @11:54AM (#42967619)
    Create a new amateur license class, that allows individuals to run 4g networks; encourage cooperatives, meshes, and other citizen-run communications systems. Give the spectrum the carriers have to the people and let us manage our communications without relying on monopolies.
  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Thursday February 21, 2013 @11:56AM (#42967663)

    Oh, you want it unlocked AND dirt cheap....Well, pick one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2013 @12:04PM (#42967781)

    Break them up or replace them with a state run monopoly. Discuss.

    Non issue. It's not illegal to unlock your phone, it's only illegal to unlock a phone which you have signed a contract which says you can't unlock it. And all the contracts I've seen only prohibit unlocking when you've bought a subsidized phone, and they all allow for unlocking once you've fulfilled your contract.
    Don't like it? Then don't buy a $400 phone for $99 with a 3 year locked-in contract.

  • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @12:04PM (#42967783)
    When you buy a phone via a contract, over the term of that contract you pay for the discount (and more). Therefore, even if you purchase a locked phone, after the contract is up it would be fair to allow it to be unlocked. In fact, since breaking a contract and switching companies is always accompanied by a large fee, "dirt cheap" never applies. The only situation in which an unlocked phone would be useful as a current customer is travel. And in that case you are still a current customer, so the phone company is still getting their desired value for the phone.
  • by F34nor ( 321515 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @12:06PM (#42967801)

    Attack their strength was Karl Rove's motto, little has changed. Basically anything the right wing says in taking points is the opposite of what they believe. Truthiness is king.

    Remember economics is not a science.
    The US is oligopoly in natural monopolies.
    Regulation bows to the regulated.
    Cash is king.
    It is cheaper to buy a congressman than to fix your business.

    If one of those didn't answer your "why is this business fucking me" questions I'd love to know,

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @01:02PM (#42968723) Homepage

    Why did you feel you needed to bring up ending Don't Ask Don't Tell? How is that even a /civil/ right?

    How isn't it?

    They wouldn't kick someone out of the military for being black, brown, yellow, or purple ... for being Catholic or Muslim. But for being homosexual? Buh bye before they repealed DADT.

    One group of people passing a law saying another group of people shouldn't have a right because they say so is definitely a civil rights issue. Especially since the main objection is on religious grounds, since it uses your religion to discriminate against someone else.

    If someone tried to say churches shouldn't be considered charities for tax purposes, there would be a huge amount of whinging their religious freedom is being infringed -- and yet these people are often the first in line to try to limit the rights of others. You should be free to believe what you want, but I don't see why that should give you a tax break for it.

  • Re:Option 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alien Being ( 18488 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @01:39PM (#42969343)

    I think we need a new reality tv show where, each week, a leading corporate or government scumbag gets dragged into Times Square and bludgeoned by the public at large.

  • by keytoe ( 91531 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @02:12PM (#42969761) Homepage

    Because state-run monopolies are famous for low prices, excellent customer service, and being at the forefront of technological advance.

    My utilities board is a 'state run monopoly' and does a fantastic job of keeping prices low, customer service responsive and is constantly looking at new technical ways to save me even more money. They provide incentives to motivate people to adopt higher efficiency heating and insulation, driving overall demand down and reducing the environmental footprint of the entire community. A private company would have no incentive whatsoever to do any of that.

    I guess I don't see the advantage to having a corrupt corporation not looking out for me over a corrupt government not looking out for me. I can't change the corporation, but I can at least try to change the government. Both options seem to have roughly the same success rate overall, so why not support the one that gives me a voice?

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @04:15PM (#42971439)
    My opinion is that cellular service, the network/towers, and phones should be mutually exclusive. You buy your own phone, and can activate it on any carrier (supporting similar technology). If the carrier wishes to subsidize phones by giving you a loan for your phone purchase, they can. But you still have to buy the phone elsewhere. That way phone manufacturers compete purely on what their phones can do, regardless of what carrier you end up using it with.

    Likewise, the carriers would ink contracts with companies owning towers in a region to put together their own patchwork nationwide network (your phone already does this - it as a preferred roaming list saying which towers it's allowed to talk to). If they're unhappy with the coverage in a region, they can contract for more towers, or drop contracts for one company's towers in preference for another company's towers. That way people don't feel like they have to choose a specific carrier because they have the best physical tower network. And small startup carriers aren't forced to pay big carriers just to have access to towers.

    Finally the companies operating the towers would be competing with each other for the carriers as customers. If you put together a crappy tower network, the carriers won't contract with you or will negotiate for lower prices. If you put together a good tower network, they will be beating on the door with money in hand.

    The "carrier sells you the phones and owns the towers" was probably a necessary step to get past the chicken and egg stage of no phones and no towers without customers, no customers without phones and towers. But we're beyond that now and need to tweak the market to make it overcome the natural monopolistic tendencies of exclusive phones and towers, so it can operate more efficiently.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn