A Year And A Half Later, Unlocking Your Phone One Step Closer To Being Legal
from the congress-moves-in-mysteriously-slow-ways dept
Various proposals were raised, but thanks to ridiculous international trade agreements, some of the best proposals ended up on the cutting room floor. I spoke to two separate Congressional staffers who had written up bills to legalize phone unlocking, only to have their international trade experts come in and reject them as likely violating a whole bunch of secretly negotiated trade agreements (and you wonder why we're concerned about things like TPP and TTIP limiting Congress...).
It took about a year before the House finally came up with a bill that had some significant limitations and problems. Despite some last minute protests, that bill passed. Since then, there's been a fair bit of negotiating in the Senate, and it appears that a compromise deal has been struck that should, hopefully, finally legalize phone unlocking a year and a half later. The Senate bill is not perfect (almost no legislation ever is), but it's a big step forward in the right direction.
It still is ridiculous that we're in this situation in the first place, and it should be a sign to look more closely at the problems of the DMCA's anti-circumvention laws. It's equally ridiculous that it's taken a year and a half to "fix" this specific problem, but at least it finally appears that a solution is at hand for the specific issue of unlocking your mobile phone.