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Purcellville, VA
reply to Crookshanks

Re: how is the White House "punting"?

said by Crookshanks:

What can the White House do about this issue, within the boundaries of Executive Authority and the United States Constitution?

For starters, the President as Chief of the Executive Branch could instruct all executive agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA, etc.) to not prosecute any cases against cell phone unlockers for DMCA violations for the present time. He would be well within his rights to do so, and would not be breaking his oath or any laws.

His oath was to uphold the Constitution and our laws; instructing agencies under his control to hold off on prosecuting cases until a later date doesn't mean that the law isn't being enforced; it just means that determination of guilt or innocence for charges related to cell phone unlocking is postponed to a later time.

Secondly, the President does have the authority to grant pardons at his sole discretion. Technically there would be nothing stopping him from announcing that any criminal convictions for DMCA violations will be automatically pardoned as long as he's in office. That, of course, wouldn't stop civil proceedings from being filed - but would keep people out of jail.

Thirdly, the President could use back channel communications to put a stop to this. I'm sure that a number of companies who would file civil suits and push for convictions of cell phone unlockers depend upon relationships with government agencies and "access" for favorable legislation and findings. As Chief of the Executive Branch, the President could issue policy for all agencies that they are to immediately cut all ties with any company that pushes for any prosecution of cell phone unlockers. The loss of "access" and influence would far outweigh the loss that any unlocker could create, thus creating a significant disincentive for companies to push for prosecution.

Were I the President, I'd probably opt for some combination of all 3 of the above.
The only difference between Bush and Obama is the group they're wasting our taxpayer money on. It's time to elect responsible legislators.

Brighton, MA
awesome civics lesson