Cellphones Gathers Steam
The Daily Caller
Vint Cerf, commonly called the "Father of the Internet," is throwing his support behind an effort to make unlocking cellphones legal again.
On January 26, the grace period ended on an October 2012 ruling instituted by the Librarian of Congress, which effectively made it illegal for smartphone owners to unlock on-contract devices purchased after that date and transfer them to a new mobile carrier.
The act of unlocking on-contract cellphones was previously exempt from criminal penalty under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), but now first-time offenders face a fine of up to $500,000, five years in jail, or both. Repeat offenders could face double the penalty.
A White House petition created on January 24 calling for a reversal of the decision has since gained more than 81,000 signatures – nearly 18,000 signatures shy of the 100,000 signatures required to trigger an official White House response.
"We ask that the White House ask the Librarian of Congress to rescind this decision, and failing that, champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal," says the petition, created by OpenSignal founder Sina Khanifar.
The deadline to reach the goal is Friday.
Cerf, whose long list of accomplishments includes a recent presidential appointment to the National Science Board, published the link to his Twitter and Facebook accounts on Monday afternoon.
Calling the ruling "a clear example of crony capitalism," Derek Khanna, technology activist and former Hill staffer for the Republican Study Committee, said, "While the technologies involved here may seem novel– cellphone unlocking – the arguments for this issue are not new ones for the Republican Party."
"This is a clear example of an invasion of individual property rights, over-criminalization at the federal level, and government intervention into the private sector," said Khanna.
Khanna continued in an email statement to TheDC, "As for property rights, the operative question is do you own your own phone?"
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 02/20/2013
Editor's Note: By imposing this "penalty" on the consumer, there is a sort of double jeopardy. You can't engage in free market consumerism where your communications plan is concerned; you are bound by law to your carrier for the life of the phone. But if the phone breaks or malfunctions, you are liable for the cost to fix or replace it...Can't have it both ways. You either rent the phone or you own the phone...
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