FCC Will Investigate Unlocked Cell Phone Ban
Though The Problem May Fall Outside FCC Jurisdiction
With a petition to make cell phone unlocking legal again awaiting White House response
, the FCC now says they'll be launching an investigation into the issue. It's not entirely clear what good that will do since this is an issue with the Librarian of Congress and the quite-silly DMCA exception list process. Even if Genachowski can find a way to act he's not exactly known as a guy who makes tough or controversial decisions
He is however a guy who likes to get press for saying things he may or may not follow through on. Genachowski told TechCrunch
this week the ban "raises competition concerns" and "innovation concerns" the FCC would like to look at in more detail:
Genachowski isn’t sure what authority he has, but if he finds any, given the tone of the conversation, it’s likely he will exert his influence to reverse the decision. “It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones." If the FCC does discover some latent authority to give users more freedom over their choice in carriers, it will mean another big victory for grassroots Internet activism.
TechCrunch somehow paints this as a huge win for Internet activism despite the fact nothing has changed yet. If you know Genachowski or the FCC, the end result will simply be a study that takes a year to produce and will conclude what everybody already knows: both the phone unlocking ban and the DMCA exemption process are anti-consumer and completely absurd. That's not to say the issue won't get resolved over time, but it probably won't be the FCC that does it.