iPhone Slowdown Case Calls for 'Radical Change' in French Tech Scene

© Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov / Go to the mediabankNew smartphones, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, on sale at the GUM shopping center
New smartphones, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, on sale at the GUM shopping center - Sputnik International
Apple is being sued in France for defrauding users by slowing down older iPhones, but the activist group behind the lawsuit, Stop Planned Obsolescence (HOP), told Sputnik more must be done to confront the powerful tech lobby.

"The industrial lobby is very powerful and active. Our role as a civil organization is to attempt to change this situation. This is not an easy task," HOP’s spokeswoman and co-founder Laetitia Vasseur said.

In December, France became the third country to start legal action against the US tech giant for slowing down iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE smartphones without warning, after a class action in the United States and Israel.

Vasseur said she was pleased with the French antitrust agency’s decision to agree to add a fraud count to charges against Apple, which warrants a special investigation by the Economic Ministry’s watchdog, DGCCRF.

"It’s not enough to pay compensation. There should be radical change," she argued. "Accumulators should be replaceable and, most importantly, system updates should not affect operational speeds."

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Alma Dufour, a campaign coordinator with Friends of the Earth, a French non-profit protesting against Apple, accused authorities of surrendering to multinationals after the French Senate scrapped service time requirements for electronic gadgets from an energy transition bill.

"Smartphones are not regulated because their market is believed to be changing too fast… This means that authorities conceded that they are powerless in this regard," she said.

Companies in France are encouraged but not required by law to notify users about life expectancy of their gadgets. Dufour said three years have passed since the 2015 Energy Transition outlawed programmed obsolescence.

"Not a single manufacturer has opted to report the lifespan of their products," she emphasized. "The proposed criteria are too lax, decision-making takes too much time. We need to wait four years for regulatory norms and rules to be drafted."

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