It Is Legal (Again) to Unlock Your Cellphone

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 25 2014 5:50 PM

It Is Legal (Again) to Unlock Your Cellphone

Just a minor update to something that has moved in and out of the news cycle—the cellphone-unlocking ban is dead. First spotted by techies in 2012, first made infamous by Republican tech thinker Derek Khanna, the quirk in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that had banned unlocking has been erased. The House vote was unanimous.

The irony, of course, is that a vote that rockets through Congress with this much ease isn't very interesting. But there's another angle to this. The White House "We the People" widget, by which ordinary humans can start petitions and ask the president to respond to their concerns, has largely existed as farce. The most attention any petition got was for the the one that asked the White House to stimulate the economy by building a Death Star. Most of the newsy petitions have followed that format.

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The unlocking petition is the first to travel from the website to actual action in Congress.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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