Right-to-repair proponents are asking the FTC to introduce new rules that would make it easier for consumers to fix their own electronic devices. iFixit and the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) submitted a petition to the federal agency to kick off a new rulemaking process for right to repair. The Biden administration’s FTC is in support of right to repair, but proponents say more aggressive action is needed to outpace the tech industry. The “parts pairing loophole,” like Apple’s practice of digitally linking a device’s individual parts to the device itself, prevents users from buying third-party or aftermarket parts. iFixit and PIRG are also requesting that the FTC put in place rules requiring companies to make a product’s components easily replaceable throughout its lifespan, and to make sure that parts that easily break (such as screens) are easily available as repair parts. The groups are also asking for rules that allow consumers to take products to a repair shop of their choice or do DIY repair and require discontinued products to still have their key functions intact. The FTC’s rulemaking process can take a while, and the agency is required to ask for input from the public and other stakeholders.
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