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ISRI concern over US cell phone ‘unlocking’ proposal

United States – ‘By not allowing unlocking phones in bulk, recyclers and refurbishers are placed in a competitive disadvantage and may be forced to outsource the repair jobs to facilities outside of the United States where unlocking is legal,’ warns Robin Wiener, president of the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

In February, the US House of Representatives passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. If this is approved by the US Senate, it will become illegal for electronics recyclers and refurbishers to unlock cell phones in large quantities, ISRI points out.

Last October, ISRI approved a cell phone unlocking policy that hands consumers – including recyclers and refurbishers – the right to unlock technological devices. By allowing bulk unlocking, ′recyclers and refurbishers are able to put valuable and working devices back into the domestic and global marketplace where there is a strong demand′, it states.

However, the proposed restrictions will have the opposite effect, Wiener concludes. ′This legislation confuses the market and creates an impediment for the proper repair and reuse of such phones,′ she adds, going on to express the hope that ′the Senate addresses this oversight when it takes up the legislation′.

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