[Follow-Up] Senator Amy Klobuchar Intoduces Bill to Legalize Unlocking Cell Phones

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    We have a follow-up article to share with you today regarding the movement to make it legal to unlock your cell phone. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has taken up the call to action following the White House's response yesterday affirming their desire to see this happen. She has just introduced a bill to address the issue, and intends to "get rid of the ban on unlocking cellphones." The FCC Chairman agrees with this action. Here's a quote with a few more details,

    It's actually rather surprising that things are moving so swiftly. It was barely two weeks ago when the petition was first sent to the White House to get the ban lifted. Now, only a day after the White House's response, a Senator is taking action to change things. Of course, we will have to see if the bill passes through the House before we can call anything a victory, but at least the ball is rolling.

    Source: TheVerge
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  2. wicked
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    wicked DF Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Moving along faster than I thought it would.. That's great. :biggrin:
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  3. MissionImprobable
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    MissionImprobable New Member

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    Legally protected unlocking, universal LTE chips, and Google maybe entering the Wireless marketplace sometime in the future?

  4. npro1464
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    npro1464 Member

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    Sadly, i think the government is doing this in almost a cynical way- quickly get behind and pass something petitioned on that stupid site so they can claim they finally did something with it. Seems like a very non-controversial issue- allow phones to be unlocked after their contracts. Who wants to keep that 2 year old phone when it comes out of contract anyway?
  5. xsylus
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    xsylus Active Member

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    Too bad we can't force congress to take some laxatives and get other $#!% to move this quickly in Washington. This is awesome news and it's nice to see consumer rights winning out over corporate greed. On the flip side I doubt there would have been much enforcement for this had it gone the other way - just look at the anti-piracy enforcement - seems like a never ending battle. At any rate the last thing Washington needs is more pissed-off people knocking on their door. :icon_ devil:
  6. LoneWolfArcher
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    LoneWolfArcher Well-Known Member

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    Okay this is starting to turn into a foul smelling political issue and I don't like where it is headed. I can see this becoming an anti-Big Business initiative, with all the usual anti-Big Business political types getting on the train. In the end I am not sure how many have actually unlocked their phone, not saying that is a reason not to keep it legal. But if this turns into an anti-Big Business effort then my support for it is out. I am tired of that line of thinking. Many of us are employed by Big Business and to continue to make it out to be some type of political monster is ridiculous.
  7. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    Why does it have to be so "black and white"? I don't see this as becoming a political monster at all. It's just an issue that is important to many consumers. Just because you are pro-consumer protection, doesn't mean you necessarily have to be anti-Big Business. As long as Big Business works synergistically with its customer base, it is one of the prime movers of growth and social evolution. But that doesn't mean it can be unequivocally trusted to run rampant without any regulation. There must be balance in all things. Not too much regulation, but not too little either.

    Just my 2.5 cents. :)
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  8. xeene
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    xeene Well-Known Member

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    this crowd is hard to please. take it away, they complain. give it back, they still complain. take off your tinfoil hats and enjoy the fact that you guys made a difference for a change.
  9. johnomaz
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    johnomaz Well-Known Member

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    ^^ THIS. Perhaps its an issue that is pretty cut and dry on how it should be done. Not every issue is an easy one, but this one seems that way.
  10. LoneWolfArcher
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    LoneWolfArcher Well-Known Member

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    I agree with much of what you say. I just see this as being largely a non-issue. 99.9% of users will never unlock their phones. I think a lot of this is what I said it is: an us vs. them mentality.

    I'd like to see it handled NOT through legislation. Maybe the wireless companies could work with "power users" that go through a certification to get approval to do these types of things. I can see both sides of this issue, and you're right it isn't black and white, there are fair arguments on both sides. But there are also an "all or nothing majority" on both sides.
  11. MissionImprobable
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    MissionImprobable New Member

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    Sorry, but I'd much rather it's done to the point saying that consumers are free to do as they please with their devices rather than being at the mercy of a wireless company as to whether or not you qualify to be able to do this. The only reason it's not common here is because it's not easy to move phones around like it is in other countries. With the exception of Canada, most other countries offer contracts as short as a year, and in almost all other major wireless hot spots it isn't uncommon to go pre-paid with company "X" then at some point switch to company "Y" via an unlocked device.

    I see no point in making this anymore difficult than necessary.
  12. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    I definitely agree that sometimes these situations devolve into an "us vs. them" mentality, and that it is very unhealthy for that too happen. It can be a challenge to find the right balance, where everyone feels their position is as fair as the next person or group. I can also see the argument that there exists too much legislation sometimes.

    Still, in this instance, it seems like the legislation is simply trying to follow "common sense," and protect consumer choice. If you think about it, this legislation actually decreases legislation. What is really happening here is that legislation is being introduced which would remove a previous law which makes it illegal to unlock a device that we paid for. You can argue the whole software licensing angle to death, but the bottom line is if I want to remove the software on my piece of hardware and take it to a different carrier with different software, I should be able to do that.

    It's no different than if I had a PC that had specific software licenses for my specific internet provider. If I switch internet providers I should be able to put different software on my hardware that I ultimately paid for after my contract was complete. I shouldn't be required to buy a whole new PC. That makes zero sense.
  13. LoneWolfArcher
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    LoneWolfArcher Well-Known Member

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    Well you are forgetting one very important factor: a company's IP. Tech companies are only as good as their IP. So this is why the situation is more complicated than simply saying "a consumer can do whatever they want with their device". Again, I see your points, but I also see why the wireless companies are circling the wagons on this stuff. Especially since then consumers also want support even after doing "whatever they want".

    Try buying a car, not changing the oil, and then try to get a new engine under the new car warranty. Doesn't work that way. If you want the OEM's support then you have to follow their rules.
  14. LoneWolfArcher
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    LoneWolfArcher Well-Known Member

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    I very much concur with what you are saying. but the caveat should be that once you've removed that software, unlocked the phone, rooted, etc, then the orig. wireless carrier is under no obligation to support your device.l
  15. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    Agreed. Although that seems like a non-issue. By the time you are finished with your contract, the 1 year warranty will already be up on the device, so there would be no support anyway. Plus, it would be ridiculous to think the first carrier should support your device if you switch to a different one. This would also apply even if you paid the "break-up fee" to leave before your contract was up. The first carrier shouldn't be expected to support your device if you left them, even if it is still under warranty.

    If you are experiencing a hardware related manufacturer's defect, then the OEM that built your device should still offer you support, if it is still under warranty (and is not related to you switching carriers.)

    It doesn't seem like these issues are that hard to solve with a bit of logical thinking. I think the problem many folks have with the whole issue altogether is it seems illogical that cell phone unlocking is illegal to begin with.

    I remember reading a book several years ago that talked about silly and ridiculous laws still in effect (but not necessarily enforced). There was a small town in the U.S. that still had a really stupid law on the books (that should have never been a law to begin with). It was illegal for women to wear high heels. This was because a woman once broke her ankle by getting her heel caught in a street grate.

    Obviously, this law simply throws the baby out with the bath water. It's not too much of a stretch to say the same thing about the illegal cell phone unlocking law. Of course we need to protect the IP of a company, but the solution must also be balanced to make sense and not hurt consumer choice either.
  16. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    The carriers may be lobbying on behalf of the OEM's, but I still fail to see how the carriers really benefit from this. They don't make money on phones, but the OEM's certainly see a bump from people needing to buy a new phone when they switch carriers.

    Carriers like to lock you up for 2-yrs, but they certainly don't need to tie those contracts to phones. They'll adapt. The locking ban was really an unnecessary law, but there is a [very] limited consumer benefit to lifting the ban for which I'll give a thumbs up.
  17. MissionImprobable
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    MissionImprobable New Member

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    Your post makes no sense. We're talking about people who have fulfilled all obligations on their contract wanting to change companies. It's akin to someone's warranty being up and the dealership telling them that they still have to come there for all future repair work if they want to continue driving their car. It's not causing the OEM issues because people would still be buying devices as needed. The only one it hurts are wireless companies gouging people on prices.
  18. LoneWolfArcher
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    LoneWolfArcher Well-Known Member

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    Actually you would have to go to a dealership for that OEM for recall work. Which means you couldn't do whatever you wanted to that vehicle, like remove the catalytic converter. It isn't the same but it's similar. As consumers we too often want our cake and eat it too.
  19. MissionImprobable
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    MissionImprobable New Member

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    What recall work? I said repair work, as in from the normal course of use, not from a manufacturer's defect.
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