FTC votes unanimously in favor of the right to repair

By

iFixit iPhone 8
Apple may have to start making its products easier to repair.
Photo: iFixit

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted unanimously Wednesday to increase right to repair regulation stopping businesses from making it difficult for customers to fix their own products. Apple has repeatedly lobbied against right to repair laws around the world.

Back in May, the FTC published a report for Congress in which they listed some of the ways that companies (including Apple) make products tough to repair. These include gluing components together and restricting software and parts needed for carrying out maintenance. President Biden then recently signed an executive order asking the FTC to create new rules to bar these practices.

This appears to be the start of this ruling become more official.

“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 will go after repair restrictions which violate antitrust laws in this area. It also urged the public to submit complaints regarding infringing behavior. It voted 5-0 to approve the policy statement.

Apple and the right to repair

Apple’s argument against right to repair is that customers may hurt themselves or damage their devices trying to repair them. Critics of this argument suggest Apple is pushing people to buy new devices rather than repairing old ones.

Recently Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak spoke out in favor of the right to repair. Woz said that, “it’s time to recognize the right to repair more fully.” He continued that he believes “companies inhibit it because it gives the companies power [and] control over everything.”

What are your thoughts on the right to repair battle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: FTC