By Byron Acohido
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Wednesday night reportedlyspoke publiclyon the side of consumers, regarding a petition delivered to the White House asking the President to rescind a rule banning consumers from unlocking their cell phone, according to TechCrunch.
This happened at the CrunchGov event at the tech blog's San Francisco headquarters.
The petition, with 112,000 signatures, was delivered to the White House last Saturday, and received light media coverage. USA TODAY's video interview with activist Derek Khannaappeared Wednesday.In it, Khana calls the matter "an issue of crony capitalism where two companies (AT&T and Verizon) asked for the laws to be changed to their benefit. And this really is an issue about stifling innovation."
Consumers were free to "unlock" their smartphones, making it easy for them to switch carriers, until a ruling by the Library of Congress made that illegal as of Jan. 26. Now consumers face potential legal sanctions if caught modifying software on handsets they own.
Genachowski told TechCruch's Gregory Ferenstein that he's uncertain of his authority, but will personally look into the matter.