The Obama administration doesn't think you should go to jail if you unlock your cell phone and move over to a new carrier.
The administration on Tuesday asking it to come up with new rules to override a law scheduled to take effect on Jan. 26, 2014. The law would make it a crime punishable by up to five years in prison to unlock your cell phone without permission from your carrier.
This is an example of how the law would work: If you have an iPhone you purchased from AT&T, when your two-year contract is up and you've paid off the phone, you might decide you can get a better deal with T-Mobile. You want to take your paid in full iPhone with you to TMobile, but AT&T and other carriers lock the phones into their system. Starting next year, if you unlock without asking AT&T first you are violating the law.
In its petition, the Obama administration is asking the FCC to make rules that give consumers permission to unlock their phone if they own it outright. The petition also asked that consumers have the power to unlock tablets and other mobile devices.