Federal Trade Commission votes unanimously to enforce right to reform

during open At its meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously to enforce laws around the right to repair, thus ensuring that American consumers will be able to repair their electronic devices and cars.

the FTC’s Agreeing with the rules is not a surprising result; The question of the right to reform has been a notably bipartisan problem and the FTC itself Issued a lengthy report In May it criticized manufacturers for restricting repairs. But the 5 to 0 vote indicates the Commission’s commitment to enforcing both federal antitrust laws and a major law on consumer safeguards – Magnuson Moss Warranty Law—When it comes to personal device repairs.

The vote, led by new Federal Trade Commission Chairman and well-known tech critic Lina Khan, also comes 12 days after President Joe Biden I signed a broad executive order It aims to enhance competition in the US economy. The request addressed a wide range of industries, from banks to airlines to technology companies. But part of it encouraged the Federal Trade Commission, which acts as an independent agency, to create new rules that would prevent companies from restricting repair options to consumers.

“When you buy an expensive product, whether it’s a half-million-dollar tractor or a thousand-dollar phone, you’re literally under the authority of the manufacturer,” says Tim Wu, special assistant to the president. Technology and competition policy within the National Economic Council. “And when they have unreasonable repair specs, there’s not much you can do.”

Wu An . added right to repair It has become a “profound example” of the massive imbalance between workers and consumers, small businesses and larger entities.

fixed position

The FTC vote is another win for the Right to Reform movement in the US, which has been led by advocacy groups such as مجموعات American Public Interest Research Group, as well as private companies such as iFixit, a California-based company that sells tool repair kits and publishes repair manuals for hardware repair tools. Proponents of the right to repair have long argued that consumers should have access to the tools, parts, documentation, and software required to repair the products they own, whether smartphones or tractors.

These groups also speed recall cases where major manufacturers block or limit options for independent product repairs, or force consumers to return directly to the manufacturer, who then charges a premium for the repair. And it’s not just about fixing broken glass on a smartphone, or fixing an impossibly small smartwatch: During the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020, medical device engineers start talking About the dangers of not having access to critical appliance repair tools, such as respirators, in times of crisis.

As more products are designed with internet connectivity – from smartphones to refrigerators to cars – the issue of repair rights is becoming increasingly complex. Repair advocates say that consumers should have access to all the data their personal devices collect, and that independent repair shops should have access to the same software diagnostic tools as “licensed” stores.

“I urge the FTC to use its rule-making power to advance basic consumer rights and private property, and modernize it for the digital age, as manufacturers seek to turn hundreds of millions of technology owners into tenants of their own property,” Paul said. Roberts, founder Securepairs.org, during the public comment section of today’s FTC meeting. “The digital right to repair is a vital tool that will extend the life of electronic devices.”

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