Four days ago, the exemption to the US DMCA expired, which allowed anyone to legally do whatever they wanted with their phone’s network state. Specifically, the exemption allowed users to unlock their phones and switch networks without the fear of federal prosecution and mandatory sentencing.

While the aim was to protect the carriers from subsidizing a $700 phone and then have it walk to another network, it also kills legitimate travel uses for some who don’t feel like paying their carrier’s $8 a minute rates overseas, when they can slap in a prepaid SIM for a month.

For others, it kills the ability to take your hot off-contract phone to a better carrier when you’re fed up with your current one, unless you can get permission from the carrier to unlock it first. There’s absolutely nothing that states carriers have to allow you to unlock your now-useless phone, either.

While it’s not like it’s the end of rooting, or unlocking for customization purposes, it is kind of a big deal if you don’t have a lot of money to throw down on a cell phone while traveling overseas. It was already a violation of your contract with your carrier to leave the carrier before the contract was up, and this just brings the United States government into the enforcement of small time contract disputes.

Should you agree that the government doesn’t need to step into this, and that your phone is your phone after you’ve purchased and paid for it through the terms of your contract, head over and sign the petition. At 100,000 signatures, it’s supposed to be reviewed by the White House and receive an official response.

[whitehouse.gov]