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
    I Z Opnyde, 11 Mar 2013 @ 11:13am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 1st, 2013 @ 1:35pm

    WHEN YOU ARE BUYING OTHER PEOPLES TECHNOLOGY, YOU ARE ONLY BUYING THE ABILITY TO USE STUFF & NOT THE TECHNOLOGY ITSELF, LOCKED OR NOT. Check out the law suit from IBM that even prevents you from selling off the parts. Their claim is that the technology belongs to them in perpetuity and they won in Federal Court a few years back. The same argument might be provided for keeping a "lock" on other computing machines, even if the stuff to make it work exists in the aether. As an aside, you should be able to copywrite your children's DNA/RNA but not your own. WHY? Technically they are a product of yours. You are not your own product. Why copywrite? Yeah dude "THE RULE OF LAW" is a strange and terrible thing. You can get lost in it only to find they've "redefined" the language & you've just lost the greater part of your hind quarters. If you don't believe it google "disabled"! We cripples love it.

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