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Cell phone unlocking bill passes Congress on the way to the White House

free your phone

Today, the House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation that would legalize the process of unlocking a smartphone to use on another carrier, reports the LA Times. The bipartisan bill passed through the Senate earlier this year and will now move onto the desk of President Barack Obama.

Obama said he will sign the bill into law, while praising the efforts of Congress to pass this legislation.

"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. 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."

The "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act" would reinstate the 2010 exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that permitted cell phone unlocking. This exemption went up for review by the Library of Congress in 2012 and was not re-approved. Once signed into law, the cell phone exemption would remain in place until the next Library of Congress review slated for 2015. The bill also asks the Library of Congress to consider whether the exemption should include tablets and other similar electronic devices.

[Image from the Electronic Frontier Foundation]

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