How desperately slimey is John Boehner's Republican led Congress? They just passed, without a recorded vote, Senate Bill 517, legalizing iPhone unlocking
How desperately slimey is John Boehner’s Republican led Congress? They just passed, without a recorded vote, Senate Bill 517, which legalizes iPhone unlocking. Apparently, none of them wanted to be “on the record” voting for a measure opposed by AT&T and Verizon, which together spent more than $11 million on Washington lobbying (aka buying legislators) in 2012.

Also back in 2012, the Librarian of Congress ruled that carrier unlocking of a paid-in-full, out-of-contract iPhone or any other smartphone violated the carriers’ copyright. What copyright specifically? Why the software used by the carriers to prevent smartphone owners from taking their devices and using them on other carriers’ network.

Hmm, massive companies throw millions at government and then get rules and laws that favor themselves at the people’s expense — imagine that.

That said, “we the people” or a 114,000 person subset thereof created and signed a petition on demanding that iPhone unlocking be legalized.

“The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget,” Obama said in a statement. “I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.”

iPhone Unlocking and Less Pressing Issues

Interestingly, Senate Bill 517 was sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy, the same lovely human being who single handedly killed patent reform. Yes, the bill passed the US House would have passed the Senate and would have been signed by President Obama but for Leahy.

That bill would have largely defanged patent trolls.

Nevertheless, Leahy’s vastly less expansive and, frankly, less meaningful Senate Bill 517 (iPhone unlocking) has passed both the Senate and, anonymously, House of Representatives, leaving President Obama’s signature all but a formality as he has said he will sign it.

Wasn’t that easy? Cellphone unlocking has only take two-plus decades to pass…

What’s your take on iPhone unlocking?

  1. Does this mean my carrier must unlock my off contract iPhone? I don’t think Sprint will do that.

  2. Me neither . Sprint gave me my unlock code but they refused to unlock the Iphone because the account was no longer active. I then offered to activate the account with the Iphone , they proceeded to tell me I needed to purchase a new phone to activate the account

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