The US House of Representatives today passed a bill that would make it legal for individuals to unlock cell phones for use on a different carrier’s network, but only after watering it down enough that consumer advocates opposed the legislation.
“Unlocking” a phone allows it to be used with any cellular carrier, as long as the network is compatible, making it easier for consumers to avoid being tied to any one carrier.The “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act” passed today repeals a Library of Congress decision that made unlocking phones a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) anti-circumvention provision.

The bill drew support from consumer advocates until a section banning “bulk” unlocking was added.
“[T]his legislation allows any individual who wishes to unlock their cell phone for personal use to seek help from others without violating anti-circumvention provisions,” a bill summary states.

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