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President Joe Biden to ask FTC to draft new right to repair regulations

Credit: Apple

President Joe Biden plans to direct the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to draft new rules aimed at bolstering consumers' ability to repair their own devices.

The presidential directive is expected to mention smartphones like the iPhone, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. However, the FTC will ultimately decide the size and scope of the presidential directive.

President Biden is expected to release the executive order in the coming days. On Friday, White House economic adviser Brian Deese said that the order will be broadly written to drive "greater competition in the economy, in service of lower prices for American families and higher wages for American workers."

In addition to technology manufacturers, the order could also benefit farmers, who face expensive repair costs from tractor and other equipment manufacturers. It could place additional regulations on Defense Department contractors.

Currently, state-level right to repair bills are being considered by nearly half the states in the U.S. For example, back in June, the New York State Senate voted to advance a right to repair bill, and U.S. House lawmakers introduced a piece of repair legislation that could implement national rules guaranteeing the right for consumers and third-party shops to repair electronic devices.

In 2020, the European Parliament also voted to implement new right to repair regulations that could require companies to provide repair resources to third parties.

Apple has aggressively lobbied against right to repair legislation across the U.S., citing concerns about consumer safety and device security. Internal communications obtained during an antitrust probe suggest that, among Apple executives, there's not currently a consensus on the matter, however.

The Cupertino tech giant launched an Independent Repair Program in 2019 meant to give some third-party businesses access to Apple tools, training, and resources. That program has come under fire for strict contractual terms and regulations.

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