CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, the House will begin consideration of H.R. 1123, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on March 13, 2013 by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The bill was marked up and ordered reported, as amended, by voice vote.
H.R. 1123 repeals a Library of Congress (LOC) rulemaking determination made on October 28, 2012 (upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights) regarding the circumvention of technological measure controlling access to copyrighted software on wireless telephone handsets (cell phones) for the purpose of connecting to different wireless telecommunications networks. This practice is commonly known as “unlocking.” This legislation replaces this with a rulemaking determination that went into effect on July 27, 2010. This would reinstate the exemption that allowed consumers to be able to legally unlock their cell phones so that they can use it on other cellular networks.
In addition, this legislation allows any individual who wishes to unlock their cell phone for personal use to seek help from others without violating anti-circumvention provisions and clarifies that this bill does not permit the unlocking of cell phones for the purpose of bulk resale. Finally, H.R. 1123 directs the Librarian to study the issue of unlocking other cellular devices (e.g. tablets) and enact a rulemaking for these devices.
H.R. 1123 is the result of an online petition submitted in 2013 to the White House asking consumers be able to legally unlock their phone. The petition received 114,000 signatures. The bulk unlocking provision in the bill is supported by the Friends of Police.
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1123 would have no significant effect on discretionary spending over the 2014-2018 period. In addition, enacting H.R. 1123 would not affect direct spending or revenues.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.