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U.S. Senate committee advances bill on cell phone unlocking

10
Jul
2014

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved bringing before the full Senate legislation that would give mobile-phone users the right to “unlock” their devices and use them on competitors’ wireless networks, something that is now technically illegal. The bill by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat of Vermont, is similar to legislation passed by the House of Representatives in February and is expected to have bipartisan support when it reaches the Senate floor for a vote. The lawmaking follows a 2012 ruling by the Library of Congress, the minder of U.S. copyright law, that effectively made phone unlocking illegal, even after the consumer completed the contract with its wireless carrier. U.S. wireless carriers often tether, or “lock,” smartphones to their networks to encourage consumers to renew mobile contracts.

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