WASHINGTON, USA – Thousands have signed a petition asking U.S. President Barack Obama to reverse a newly implemented rule that bans unlocking of phones issued by carriers.
To obtain action from the White House, the petition, started by Sina Khanifar, must obtain more than 100 000 signatures. Khanifar has received 33 000 signatures in just under a week.
A bylaw under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which took effect January 26th, disallows mobile phone owners from unlocking their phones absent the carriers’ consent.
Carriers offer phones with substantially lower up-front costs. For example, while the latest-generation iPhone is retailed for $649, carriers are selling it for a subsidized price of only $199. The carriers, however, require a two-year contract. Accordingly, carriers provide locked models, which restrict the phones to being used on the same network.
However, many iPhone users opt to unlock their phones to allow them to change networks, or to be able to use the phone abroad.