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Thousands sign White House petition to reverse phone unlocking ban

Updated 10 years ago
Smartphone Unlocking Petition

It became illegal for consumers to unlock their mobile phones over the weekend due to a bylaw in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The ruling now requires consumers to get permission from their wireless providers before freeing their mobile phones for use on other networks. Under the law, first-time offenders can be fined up to $500,000 or be imprisoned for up to five years for unlocking a subsidized wireless phone without a carrier’s consent. News of the ruling spread like wildfire and enraged consumers from coast to cost. One 27-year-old app developer had enough, however, and he decided to make a stand.

Sina Khanifar created a petition that asks the White House to reverse the ruling and seek legislation to permanently make carrier-unlocking mobile phones legal, similar to a piece of legislation that was recently proposed in Canada. To receive an official response from the Obama administration any given petition must acquire more than 100,000 signatures in a month’s time. In under a week, Khanifar has already obtained more than 33,000 signatures and is well on its way to seeing an official response.

The petition’s signature count must reach 100,000 by February 23rd in order to be reviewed by the White House.