recommended reading

That Was Quick: Now There's Legislation on Cellphone Unlocking

Bill Haber/AP

From the beginning, White House petitioners looking to keep phone-unlocking legal have insisted that they want Congress’ help. Barely a day after their first victory, in which the Obama administration expressed support for consumers who want to switch wireless carriers while being able to take their phones with them, the petitioners have received an even bigger dose of good news: Congress is paying attention.

Here's a tweet from Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah:

Now, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has said he supports those who want to unlock their phones so that they can bring the devices to new contracts on different wireless carriers. In a statement, Leahy vowed to “work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to restore users’ ability to unlock their phones and provide them with the choice and freedom that we have all come to expect in the digital era.”

While Leahy didn’t say whether legislation was coming, his colleague Sen. Ron Wyden,  D-Ore., beat him to the punch. Wyden released the text of a bill called the “Wireless Device Independence Act” that would amend copyright law so that it permanently exempts the use of phone-unlocking software. Read the full text here (don’t worry — it’s just two pages long):

Wyden has a long history of taking the consumer’s side on Internet issues. In fact, in 2011, he tried to stop Leahy’s Protect IP Act (PIPA), the Senate’s version of the House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which drew widespread online protests. Leahy stood up for PIPA on the grounds that digital piracy holds back the U.S. economy and that critics who feared frivolous allegations of infringement under the proposed law were simply engaging in "hyperbole."

Leahy’s longtime defense of intellectual-property rights — he spent two years crafting PIPA — has generally put him in the position of defending the very copyright law that makes phone unlocking illegal. To see him now throw his support behind Digital Millenium Copyright Act reformers is a very big deal.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.