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FCC’s Chairman Nominee Supports Ending Cellphone Unlocking Ban

June 19, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Cellphone unlocking has been pretty popular this year. After it became illegal under the DMCA for you to SIM-unlock your device. There have been several bills that have tried to tackle the cellphone unlocking issue here in the US. Some of those include the Wireless Device Independence Act and the Unlocking Technology Act.

So far the various forms of proposed legislation haven’t gotten to far, but it’s still very clear that not only is the public in favor of making SIM-unlocking legal again, many US Politicians are in favor as well. The latest politician to speak out in support of it is also the newly nominated chairman of the FCC. That man is Tom Wheeler. Wheeler was recently nominated by President Obama to be the new FCC head. Today the would-be chairman appeared in front of the Senate Commerce Committee for a nomination hearing. During that hearing, Wheeler let his thoughts be known about the cellphone unlocking issue that’s been very popular as of late.

“I am a strong supporter of intellectual property rights. At the same point in time, I believe that when I as a consumer or you as a consumer, or anyone have fulfilled our commitment and we’ve paid off our contract, that we ought to have the right to use that device and move it across carriers as we see fit. I look forward to working on this issue and resolving this issue to give consumers flexibility.”

Wheeler did claim interest in changing the law, but he did admit that he has no idea how to handle the issue properly, which seems to be the big problem here.

“I don’t know whether it [should be] a permanent exemption [to the DMCA], whether it is a rewrite of the Copyright Act, or what the appropriate solution is, but I do believe there needs to be a solution and consumers should have the right to unlock their phones after they’ve lived up to their side of the agreement.”

We already know that many of you want cellphone unlocking to be legal again, do you have any ideas as to how the FCC and other politicians should handle the issue? Let us know in the comments below.