This afternoon the White House has responded to the ongoing debate regarding unlocking our smartphones for use on other carriers. Their official response shows support for the consumer to have the choice should they please once they're no longer on contract, and the White House even mentions tablets. For those worried that unlocking cell phones is now illegal, read on for more details.
As a refresher, back in January an exception to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) ended which made unlocking smartphones and cellphones for use on other carrier illegal. Immediately a petition was started and sent to the White House urging them to reconsider, and today it looks like all those efforts will hopefully pay off.
The Petition to make unlocking smartphones legal again passed the 100,000 signature goal and got nearly 115k in the process, and today the White House responded and had some rather good things to say. Not only do they completely agree with us consumers regarding this issue, but they also feel it extends to tablets and that carriers need to work with the government and the FCC to make this happen. Here's a direct quote from the White House:
"The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network."
The official response goes on to call unlocking of smartphones only "common sense" and crucial for protecting consumer choice - which also will help add to the demand for innovation and a competitive wireless market. We all know if the wireless market gets too one-sided it will only end poorly for the consumer, and the White House understands this.
In the end it appears that the White House agrees once a consumer has purchased a device and is no longer under contract, they should have the right to do as they please with the device and use it wherever they see fit. They've updated their post with a response from an FCC chairman and many other small bits, so you'll surely want to hit the link below. Obviously nothing will happen overnight, but this is certainly a step in the right direction and a win for the good guys.