WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House today released an executive order aimed at promoting greater competition across a range of industries, including important recommendations to curb anticompetitive practices by tech companies and manufacturers. President Biden signed the order this afternoon.
The independent, nonprofit Consumer Reports said the order covers several key areas in which the organization has long advocated for action to help consumers.
David Friedman, Vice President, Advocacy for Consumer Reports, said, “For decades, some companies have been amassing and abusing power at the expense of consumers. This order is an important step in highlighting some of the serious problems facing consumers today due to our over-concentrated marketplace. It will be critical for agencies to quickly move these steps forward. Our leaders need to do this and much more to start rebalancing power between giant corporations and the consumers they are supposed to serve.”
The executive order covers areas such as reinvigorated enforcement of antitrust laws, including greater scrutiny of business mergers, as well as promoting competition among broadband providers, restoring net neutrality rules, prohibiting tech platforms from discriminating against small businesses and developers, new privacy protections, and helping people save money on essentials like medicine and internet service.
George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports, said, ”These steps to improve competition are key to giving us a functioning marketplace where businesses pay attention to consumers. A marketplace that works for consumers also works for businesses large and small that want to get their products and services to us and give us choices, which benefits the entire economy.”
The executive order also highlights the need for right-to-repair rules. These rules would put a stop to manufacturers’ anticompetitive restrictions on people using independent repair shops to get their phones, computers, farm equipment, and other electronics-enabled products repaired, or restrictions on people repairing the products themselves if they have the ability to do so.
Maureen Mahoney, senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports, said, “This executive order is putting the spotlight on the need for right-to-repair rules in a big way, and that is welcome news for consumers. This is a key step in ensuring that consumers have meaningful ownership over the electronics-enabled products they buy.”
CR is working to advance right-to-repair legislation at the national and state level, including the Fair Repair Act recently introduced in Congress, which is based on a model bill created by CR and other allies that support the right to repair.
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