Amid growing popular sentiment, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has introduced legislation that would make it easier for mobile phone users to switch wireless carriers by allowing them to “unlock” their phones.
Under current copyright law, that would be all but a criminal act. Similar legislation is being unveiled in the GOP-controlled House, and the bipartisan roster of co-sponsors in the Senate suggests that legalization might actually happen.
The specifics call for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, allowing consumers to “unlock” their cell phones when their contracts expire. As things stand now, Franken said, cell phone users are frequently forced to buy new phones or risk the possibility of criminal penalties.
“That’s just not fair to consumers,” Franken said.
(Update: Among the co-sponsors of this bill is U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who also introduced legislation last week directing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action so that consumer can switch carriers while keeping their phone).
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