On January 26, 2013, it became illegal to unlock a carrier-purchased smartphone without permission from the wireless carrier. Following that law, a White House petition on We The People was started to demand that the ruling be overturned.
On Thursday, it was revealed that the petition has received more than 100,000-signatures. The petition reached its hefty goal just two days before it was set to end.
With 100,000 signatures reached, the Obama administration must now address the request to have the unlocking rules removed from DMCA considerations.
The smartphone unlocking law was passed by the Library of Congress in October 2012. After the law was passed, buyers were given a 90 day grace-period to purchase and unlock their smartphones without penalty.
Under the new mobile phone unlocking law, buyers can face a carrier fine of $200 per device and federal fines up to $500,000. The law also provides up to five years imprisonment for each unlocking case.
The strength of the petition was based around the fact that an unlocked handset decreases in value at a much slower rate than a locked handset. The petition also notes that many carriers have begun offering unlocked devices for customers. As the petition notes, “the great majority of phones sold are still locked.”
In the petition, the White House is told to “ask the Librarian of Congress to rescind this decision, and failing that, champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal.”
While the smartphone unlocking petition does not demand a certain time of consideration, it does ask that the White House address the smartphone unlocking law in a “timely fashion.”