Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Agreement To Restoring Users’ Ability to Unlock Cellphones

[The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced that it had reached a voluntary agreement with the wireless industry allowing consumers to “unlock” their cell phones.  Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced the bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, S. 517, in March after the United States Library of Congress declined to renew an exemption to section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that allowed consumers to easily transfer their cell phones to other providers. Leahy’s legislation restores the previous rule authorizing cell phone unlocking.  A companion bill was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in July.]

“Today the wireless industry listened to the complaints of consumers and lawmakers by voluntarily agreeing to allow individuals to transfer their cell phones to other carriers. Nine months ago, I introduced bipartisan legislation to provide consumers the ability to keep their phones and make their own decision about which wireless provider to use. I am glad the wireless industry agrees with this commonsense approach, and I applaud the industry’s actions taken today. The Judiciary Committee will continue in its oversight capacity to monitor the implementation of this agreement and ensure that it provides consumers the freedom to choose the wireless provider that best suits their needs.”

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