In a statement released yesterday, The White House said that it sides with the 100,000 plus people who signed a petition asking that they able to unlock their smartphones. Having the support of The White House is great, but not we need some legislation to back it up.
Sen. Klobuchar announced today that she is currently drafting a bill in the senate that would carve out an exemption in the DMCA to allow smartphone unlocking. In her statement, she echoes the White House's sentiment that the ability to unlock smartphones is integral to consumer choice:
"Consumers should be free to choose the phone and service that best fits their needs and their budgets. I will continue to work to advance commonsense measures to protect consumers and promote competition."
It sounds like Klobuchar's bill will only exempt smartphones, but we won't know for sure until the bill's text is released. It would be unfortunate if the bill only covered smartphones, however, as there are other electronic devices that would greatly benefit from unlocking exemptions.
Regardless, a targeted bill that exempts smartphones under the DMCA is a great first step for consumer choice. Hopefully the results of unlocking smartphones will speak for itself if the bill passes. Lawmakers may then be more comfortable presenting other exemptions that create a pro-consumer environment while protecting the rights of content holders and manufacturers.[h/t: PC Magazine]