February 20, 2013, 4:56 PM —
Image credit: flickr/Silly Little Man
The deadline to stop the Librarian of Congress from making the act of unlocking your phone for use on other carriers illegal has come and gone. Phone unlocking became illegal on January 26, at least on the books. But there's another deadline you can still get in front of and make a difference.
This petition to the White House is just over 12,000 signatures short of its goal of 100,000. It states that, if consumers are not allowed to open up their device to use other networks (international, pay-as-you-go, and others), they will suffer. Quoting:
Consumers will be forced to pay exorbitant roaming fees to make calls while traveling abroad. It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) noted soon after the announcement of the 90-day grace period expiration that unlocking is not "jailbreaking" or "rooting," and those two activities are still legal. But unlocking is still something that people have good reason to do. If you buy a phone on a two-year contract, and need or strongly desire to sell it or trade it for something else, you're out of luck if your contract provider won't provide an unlocking code. People in the U.S. are used to buying discounted phones on contracts, and won't pay a premium for your used phone; people on other networks might, if you can make your phone work for them.
Just a reminder, then, to sign a petition that asks the White House to reconsider the illegality of unlocking.