You may recall that not too long ago, we published an article regarding a few amendments made by the Librarian of Congress to the infamous DMCA. The short summary is that one of the exemptions in DMCA which protected consumers who wanted to keep their handsets if they switched carriers was wiped out by what can only be described as good, quality lobbying courtesy of CTIA, a group formed by most major carriers and manufacturers. The exemption removal essentially results in it becoming illegal to SIM unlock a GSM phone purchased after January 26th, 2013 without carrier’s explicit approval and permission. This means that if you try to unlock the device yourself or have a third party try to do it for you, you could potentially be prosecuted and fined up to US $500,000 and even be subject to up to 5 years in prison. Now, the likelihood of such a harsh penalty being imposed on anyone is small. However, the wording on the Act certainly has enough leeway for that to happen if the judges are convinced enough.
Today we were contacted by Derek Khanna, who wrote this little memo, ended up getting fired from his position as a House of Republicans’ staffer. He seems to be very actively participating in trying to stop this ridiculous mockery of a law from actively becoming embedded into the DMCA. The law is unfortunately already in effect, but if there is one thing that we know for sure is that there are still a few people with common sense in Washington D.C., and we are trying to make sure that they get a feel for what is going on. Derek joined forces with Sina Khanifar, the author of the original petition to the White House, which now has over 69,000 signatures on it. He has also written a couple of articles on the issue to the Atlantic, one of which made it all the way to the front page on Reddit. Many other tech sites and news organizations have already picked up on this and have backed the cause, linking to the petition. However, we are still falling short with over 30,000 signatures to go and only a few days to hit the deadline.
We at XDA-Developers are not sure whether the petition will accomplish anything. But we have to stand united and try this petition to reach its goal, which WILL force the White House to at least take a look. I mean, they took the time to respond to the 35,000+ people who misused this service to get the government to build a Death Star. (Consequently after that little joke, the limit was raised from 35,000 to 100,000 to make sure that none of this silliness ever made it through again.)
In any case, I digress from the main point. Please, please, please, get the word out! Tweet, share via Facebook, G+, MySpace, LinkedIn, contact your Representatives, and get to your family members. Anyone at all you can get to sign this thing will help, as every single signature counts. Apple iPhone owners, Windows Phone users, Android, Blackberry… everyone is affected by this. Get the word out and make noise! It takes just a minute or two to do this. Help us fight this injustice before it’s too late.
If the greater powers of the Internet supposedly gave a lucky individual a good time after attaining over 1 million Facebook “Likes” in less than 24 hours, I see no reason why we cannot all collaborate together towards a more important goal. Thank you for reading.
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