House passes bill to let you unlock your phone, but there’s a catch


The House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that says consumers have the right to unlock their mobile device for use on a different carrier’s network. This concept of unlocking is seen by many as commonsense, including the White House, which recently responded to a petition by saying “this issue is about the simple freedom to take your business where you please.”

But not everyone is happy about how the vote unfolded. Critics, including consumer advocates and Silicon Valley lawmakers who once supported the bill, are decrying what they say is a last minute bait-and-switch to the law, know as the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, which passed by a margin of 295-114.

The switch in question, inserted by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va), is a short clause that says the proposed law doesn’t permit unlocking “for the purpose of bulk resale.” Goodlatte didn’t explain the change, but the…

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