The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has “unanimously voted to ramp up law enforcement against repair restrictions.”
Right to repair has become a major issue for consumers, consumer advocacy groups and regulators alike. While it was once fairly easy to do basic repairs and upgrades to devices — such as replacing a cellphone battery or upgrading laptop memory — many manufactures have made it all but impossible in recent times.
Some jurisdictions have already begun to roll out their own right to repair laws, and the movement has been gaining support. President Biden recently directed the FTC to draft right to repair rules, and the agency has unanimously adopted a policy statement aimed at enforcing those rights.
“These types of restrictions can significantly raise costs for consumers, stifle innovation, close off business opportunity for independent repair shops, create unnecessary electronic waste, delay timely repairs, and undermine resiliency,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said during an open Commission meeting. “The FTC has a range of tools it can use to root out unlawful repair restrictions, and today’s policy statement would commit us to move forward on this issue with new vigor.”
The FTC’s vote is yet another ominous sign for Big Tech, signaling increased legislation and regulation that will have far-reaching impacts on all aspects of the industry.