After EU lawmakers reached an agreement to force all smartphones and tablets to have USB-C charging ports by 2024, a group of Senate Democrats wants to implement a similar mandate in the United States
As reported by The Verge, these Democrats have urged the US Department of Commerce to follow EU leadership and “develop a strategy to require a common charging port across all mobile devices.”
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The letter, addressed to Trade Secretary Gina Raimondo, was written by Ed Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“The EU has acted wisely in the public interest by addressing powerful technology companies on this consumer and environmental issue,” the senators wrote. “The United States should do the same.”
This move would be a big step towards fighting e-waste and would obviously hit Apple the hardest, as it has used its proprietary Lightning cable for many of the devices since it was introduced with the iPhone 5 in 2012.
“Year after year, Americans are putting our outdated chargers on landfills as we spend more money on technology companies for new ones,” Markey said in a statement to The Verge on Thursday. “This waste is driving consumers up the wall, and it is driving our planet deeper into a climate crisis. I ask the Ministry of Trade to follow the EU leadership and look at solutions so that we can save our money, our minds and our planet.”
The US Senate Democrats’ plan is slightly different from the EU’s, since they do not ask the Department of Commerce to codify USB-C as the universal charging standard. Instead, it asks them to create a “comprehensive strategy” going forward.
There are those who oppose this movement, as some critics of the EU mandate say that this rule can “stifle innovation and prevent smartphone manufacturers from promoting faster charging standards in the future.”
“Big Tech is allergic to regulation, and we already see companies withdrawing EU action. Senator Markey believes we must continue to stand up to this industry to ensure that their interests do not come at the expense of environmental and consumer welfare,” he said. a spokesman for Verge when asked about the potential decline from the technology industry.
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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Jerk.