U.S. Senators Introduce New Bill To Make Cellphone Unlocking Legal Again


A group of U.S. Senators have introduced a new bill that will allow cellphone owners to legally unlock their devices again after their contract has expired.

Called the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, and backed by Al Franken and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill would reverse a Library of Congress ruling from October 2012 that deemed cellphone unlocking illegal unless the process was performed by a carrier.

The Library of Congress’s ruling came into affect on January 26, and it made it illegal for cellphone owners to unlock their devices themselves, or via a third-party. You can still ask your carrier to do it for you when your contract’s up, but if they say no — and they have the right to do that — then you’re stuck with a locked handset.

“Right now, folks who decide to change cellphone carriers are frequently forced to buy a new phone or risk the possibility of criminal penalties, and that’s just not fair for consumers,” says Franken in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will quickly allow consumers to unlock their current phones instead of having to purchase a new one. I support this commonsense solution to save consumers money.”

And Franken’s not the only one who’s for cellphone unlocking. Back in February, a petition calling for the legalization of cellphone unlocked obtained more than 100,000 signatures — forcing a response from the Obama Administration.

And that response is exactly what the petition was hoping for; the Obama Administration expressed its “full support” for cellphone unlocking. Now it should only be a matter of time before cellphone unlocking is legal again.