FCC Might Investigate Whether Or Not Ban On Cell Phone Unlocking Should Have Been Allowed

from the obama-administration-vs.-obama-administration dept

This one is so odd I almost wonder if there were some key points lost in translation (not in language, but from "policy wonk speak" to "journalist speak"). We've talked plenty about the recent move by the Librarian of Congress not to renew the DMCA exemption for unlocking your mobile phone. That story kicked up a lot of anger and protests from people. And while there has been some talk of trying to convince the administration to change the ruling, the general sense seemed to be that the issue would just wait for the review period, which happens ever three years.

However, Greg Ferenstein at TechCrunch is reporting that FCC boss Julius Genachowski claimed that not only were there "concerns" about the ruling, but also that the FCC was going to investigate the matter:
The "ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns."
Of course, he also admitted that he might not have any actual authority over this particular issue (he doesn't). As great as it would be for some other agency within the same administration to come out and counter another agency concerning this issue, that still seems unlikely. The FCC's mandate almost certainly doesn't stretch so far as to permit unlocked phones, but it sounds like Genachowski is interested in seeing if he can find some way to find that authority somewhere, somehow.
Genachowski isn't sure what authority he has, but if he finds any, given the tone of the conversation, it's likely he will exert his influence to reverse the decision. "It's something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones."
In the end, I can't see how the FCC has a legitimate say in the matter, even if I agree with their stance that consumers should be able to unlock their phones.
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Filed Under: anti-circumvention, dmca, exemptions, fcc, julius genachowski, mobile phone unlocking, unlocking


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2013 @ 6:32pm

    Re: If you don't want a locked phone, don't buy one!

    Wrong necessity makes it imperative to have a smartphone today.

    Those are not toys anymore they are actually full blown computing platforms full of sensors.

    Having a cellphone today means the difference between having a market to sell produce or not in Africa, it means the difference between having a job interview/client or not.

    We could possibly start building our own, but then we get shutdown by 50 K patents that in a de facto manner locked up the entire sector.

    This is exactly why granting monopolies should abhour everyone, it makes life difficult to everybody.

    Seriously though I am not surprised with your statements since I know you are a fool, you preach against the rich which I couldn't care less about it but for some reason ignores how they become rich in the first place, most of them use exclusive tools to do it and you are in favor of that crap, how idiotic is that?

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