The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs.
Derek Khanna is a former Republican Hill staffer who has been one of the driving forces behind the effort. He wrote earlier for Townhall on the push for cell phone freedom, and said in a statement today:
This is terrific news. It shows the power of the people to affirmatively act to fix policy rather than just stop bad policy. We the people have this power when we come together to fight for positive, common-sense solutions. This is a major affirmative victory for the digital generation that stood up against censorship of the internet through SOPA a year ago. The work of this movement is not done, now Congress must follow through - and it will require continued activism and engagement from average people who made this possible. I commend Sina Khanifar for creating this petition, and the many coalition members who joined in this effort including Public Knowledge and the National College Republicans.
Whether or not this push ends in actual action from the White House remains to be seen. But this is an important step in the process.
UPDATE: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R.-Utah) has stated he's going to move on the cell phone unlocking project:
Working on leg to unlock your mobile phones.It is a freedom issue.You own the phone, you should be able to unlock it. .@derekkhanna— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) March 5, 2013