White House petition started to combat phone unlock law


Did our story regarding the Library of Congress’s revision to the DMCA law to make the unlocking of phones illegal put a bad taste in your mouth last night? Well, here’s a bit of toothpaste to try: why not petition the White House to see what their stance on the matter is and if they’d be willing to do anything about it? A petition was set up on the new White House Petition site, a tool that the current administration has given the American people to make their voices heard.

The difference between this petition and the thousands you see on, say, is that the White House administration has promised an answer to any legit petition that has a certain number of digital signatures. This particular petition was made while the threshold was 100,000 signatures, and it has about 5,200 as of the time of this writing. This promise was tested a short while ago with the request that a death star be built — and, sure enough, the White House did respond in quite the geeky nature.

I should note that even if the petition does make it to 100,000 signatures it doesn’t mean anything is guaranteed to change. All this guarantees is a response, but sometimes even that is more valuable than nothing at all. We’d love to see this law be abolished in the very near future. The Library of Congress might not have totally ill intent, but in a time where cellular carriers already have a bit too much control on their side it’s easy to understand why users would be upset.

Anyone from the likes of Canada, Europe and Australia would come to America and gag at the wireless practices in this country. Between high contract prices, overpriced rate plans and an absolute mess of a spectrum and technology situation you might liken the scenario to a bad Steven Seagal flick — sure, the characters and plot (phones and LTE) look nice, but at the end of the day the star of the show is a flabby old man past his prime (carriers) with below average acting skills still trying to pretend that he knows martial arts.

Enough of my blabbering, though — go ahead and sign that petition, and let’s see if we can’t get someone from the White House to explain to us why carriers are afforded yet another thumb to pin us down with. Head here to get started.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Signed

  2. Actually, Steven Seagal is prolly one of the few actors who really knows martial arts……or so I am told. I used to think it looked fake as well, but given some of the other shows he is in (non-fictional shows) it becomes very likely that my source was to be trusted. But whatever….Hope for you guys in the US that that stupid law gets abolished!

    1. He’s a black belt actually.

      1. I knew that guy had mad skills!

    2. He trains MMA guys like Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida

      1. I hope you don’t honestly believe that. It’s a marketing ploy.

    3. Steven Seagal was the only white to open a dojo in japan, when he opened his. Not to mention he’s trained with some of the japanese martial arts masters, Morhei Ueshiba’s (The founder of aikio’s) son. His martial arts history is a lot more interesting than his filmography. not a lot of actors can say that.

  3. We the Corporations

  4. Had to register which took 10 seconds, but it’s worth it.

    1. “aint nobody got time for that” lol but i also registered

  5. Signed. Now lets share this on our social networking pages. Like Facebook and twitter. I know 98% of your friends don’t know about this.

  6. already got an account, but too lazy to sign in. beside, nothing wrong with locking it.

    1. You’ve never traveled internationally have you?

      1. Get a “world phone” and no problem.

        1. Well unfortunately US carriers don’t offer a plethora of world phones.

  7. Guess I’ll sign but I really don’t expect anything to happen. The politicians are more interested in co** blocking each other as opposed to getting anything done.

  8. Just bought my unlock code this morning to beat the deadline.

  9. Actually, we in Canada also suffer from “high contract prices, overpriced rate plans and an absolute mess of a spectrum and technology situation”.

  10. Pay full price if you don’t want a subsidy lock on your phone. Why should the carrier sell you a phone at a deep discount if you’re not going to stick around?

    1. That’s why they have contracts – to make sure you stick around. By the end of the contract term, or when you pay your early termination fee, they’ve recovered the cost of the subsidy, and the phone should be yours to do with as you please.

      1. At which point carriers will generally supply the unlock code if you call and ask them for it. So what’s the big deal? The protest is a tempest in a teacup by people who get upset anytime anyone tells them they can’t do something even if they weren’t doing it anyway.

        1. The problem is that some carriers do not give you the unlock code, even if you pay the ETF fee.

    2. If you’re not going to stick around you pay the ETF. The phone is rightfully completely owned by you the moment you buy it. The carrier owns none of it!

    3. The problem with that is two-fold. The inflated MSRP they consider “full price” is just that…vastly inflated. It’s not a true MSRP. The second reason is there is really no incentive to buy the phone out-right because it doesn’t entitle you to any discount on your plan like it does in other countries. You port your unlocked phone to carrier A and they charge you exactly the same as if you signed a contract.

  11. Did I read the petition correctly (and is it correctly worded)? ” the librarian of Congress “… Are you telling me that ONE person was able to make this change, with no oversight?

    1. Yes

  12. Number 6200!!

    1. #6247

  13. If I didn’t have to make an account, I woulda signed it.

    1. weak excuse. it takes about 23 seconds.

  14. what’s the practical impact of this law anyway? It’s not like anybody is going around checking if your phone is sim unlocked. Why do these idiots think they are smart to pass something completely un-enforceable in the real world?

    1. I’m wondering if there is, or will be, a means by which a carrier (say, TMO) can determine that an unlocked phone came from a different carrier (say, AT&T). If so, they might be legally bound to report it.

  15. Actually in Canada we have longer contracts, higher plan prices, less usage, higher device prices, and the same network mess with the same carrier greed America does.

    Do your research Quentyn. Thanks for the article. Canada is a puppy. They will follow the US if Americans allow the industry to set this precedent.

  16. Oblammer and staffers could care less. FACT.

  17. Hmm, petition and nothing vs lobbyists and money…



  18. Trust me, we are not laughing about your cell practices here in Canada – we envy you. Just a reminder – we got 3 years contracts to get locked into. And upgrading a single handset on that contract will extend the entire term, including all other phones you family have.

  19. Created an account, signed it tweeted it, and posted it on FB.

  20. Signed, tweeted, and posted on FB.

  21. People demand to be able to unlock their phones.

    If the carriers truly care about their customers this is their chance to prove it. Although I realize they are probably the ones responsible for this in the first place.

  22. This is a legislative matter … unless you’re into dictatorships. This is not WH domain … the House of Representatives is the people’s voice. Contact your representative and both of your senators. Find them here:

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