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White House Backs Right To Unlock New Cell Phones

Following the lead of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the White House said yesterday that it believed users should be allowed to unlock their cell phones without breaking the law.

The White House made the statement in response to an online petition signed by more than 114,000 people. R. David Edelman wrote:

"The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs."

As we've explained, at the beginning of the year a law went into effect that makes it illegal for Americans to reprogram new cellphones.

The FCC said it was exploring whether it had the authority to review this new rule.

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