Petition To Make Unlocking Legal Gets Over 100,000 Signatures, White House To Respond Now

You probably know by now that unlocking a cell phone is illegal in the U.S. as it would be a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Many consumers disagreed with this and started a White House petition, which appealed to the U.S. President to ask the Librarian of Congress, who originally deemed unlocking illegal in October last year, to reconsider the decision given the legitimate reasons a customer might want to unlock his or her carrier locked phone.

The petition needed 100,000 signatures to get an official response from the White House. I’ve some awesome news. The “Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal” petition has crossed the 100,000 signatures today, two days before the deadline. So the White House will have to give a response.


You can still sign it if you want. 102,650 people had signed the petition at the time of writing this post. The text reads:


Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal.

The Librarian of Congress decided in October 2012 that unlocking of cell phones would be removed from the exceptions to the DMCA.

As of January 26, consumers will no longer be able unlock their phones for use on a different network without carrier permission, even after their contract has expired.

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 Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked.

We ask that the White House ask the Librarian of Congress to rescind this decision, and failing that, champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal.

As Ars Technica points out that though the White House usually responds to such petitions, but there is usually no deadline for it and sometimes such petitions go unanswered like the successful petition from May 2012 asking the government to “require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.”

Let’s hope that the Obama administration gives a response to this one and does something about it to make unlocking a cell phone legal in the U.S. again.

Via: Ars Technica

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  • Ijeet550

    More than 100,2500 people?

    • iPhoneHacks

      Fixed! Thanks for point it out. That number would have been even more welcome.

  • Hoobaloo

    White House to respond, or not… Seems getting to 100k doesn’t mean jack. They should be be REQUIRED to respond and not the option to sweep under the rug.

    • key

      more important things to worry about right now than whether cell phone unlocking is legal / illegal. one being the federal budget which is about to have every member of my organization furloughed 1 day a pay period the rest of the year (11 days total)

      • John A.

        You do realize you are on a phone website, where we see news for nothing but iDevices and cell phones right? Go to the Washington post website if you would like to complain. Also 100000 people still beat you, majority vote right, we live in a democracy right?

        • god right

          shut up right

  • Slava

    iPhoneHacks, can you please fix the site, on iPad it is showing a blue overlay on top of the page after loading and nothing can be done to get rid of it. Verry anoying, had to refresh 4 times a page to read an article.

    • iPhoneHacks

      Hey Slava,

      Thanks for reporting the issue. Please can you send a screenshot to so we can investigate the issue.

      We are also working on a redesigned website for the iPad, which will improve the user experience even further.