The White House released a statement Monday saying it should be legal for cellphone users to unlock their phones to work with different wireless carriers.
The statement was issued in response to a petition filed on the White House’s “We the People” website which has gained more than 114,000 signatures since it was created on Jan. 24.
“The Librarian of Congress decided in October 2012 that unlocking of cell phones would be removed from the exceptions to the [ Digital Millennium Copyright Act],” the petition states. “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.”
According to Washington Post blogger Hayley Tsukayama, the Obama administration’s telecommunications policy center had advised the Library of Congress, which houses the U.S. Copyright Office, to renew the policy to keep unlocking cellphones legal. However, the Library of Congress chose to allow the rule to be discontinued.
Unlocking a cellphone, explains Tsukayama, allows consumers to keep their phones when switching between network providers. It also allows smartphone resellers greater options.