NTIA appeals to FCC to let consumers unlock their own mobile devices

Soon you may have the government's blessing to do as you please with your phone. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NITA) filed a petition that urges the FCC to make a ruling requiring carriers to unlock phones and tablets at their customer's request, giving them the freedom to move to another network.

The NTIA also asks that the FCC allow third-parties and those who have bought the phone second hand to be allowed to unlock devices themselves. Sina Khanifar, an activist in favor of device unlocking, noted in an email sent out to the press that the FCC is hoping for an end result where the carriers agree but the FCC doesn't have to issue any new rules. That result would ultimately lead to a "considerably less favourable outcome for consumers."

The House Judiciary Committee approved the "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act" on July 31, but that bill would only temporarily reverse last year's decision by the Library of Congress to allow carriers to permanently lock phones. Any tools to unlock a device are still considered illegal, unless the unlocking is done specifically through the carrier that the device was purchased from. You can read the NTIA's full press release for more information.

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