A San Francisco entrepreneur is trying to get the Obama Administration to overturn an anticonsumer law that protects cell phone makers and phone companies.
Sina Khanifar, co-founder of opensignal, has collected more than 80,000 signatures on a White House petition calling for a restoration of the right to "unlock" a cell phone -- that is, to alter its programming so it can be used on a different carrier's network.
It is, Khanifar told the SFBG, a fairly simple issue: If you buy a cell phone, it ought to be yours to use as you wish -- and if that includes taking it apart, rewiring it, or changing the programming, that's your business.
But under a recent ruling by the Library of Congress, which oversees parts of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, cell phone companies have the right to demand exclusive use of the devices. That means when you buy a phone from, say, Sprint, it comes with a code that ensures it will work only on Sprint's network. You can't take that same phone and move your account to Verizon or AT&T.
If you are on the side of Khanifar, then go sign the petition; he needs 100,000 signatures to get an official White House response, and the deadline is Feb. 23.