The EU this week approved a law to standardise mobile phone chargers, in an attempt to eliminate e-waste through incompatible chargers and cut costs to the consumer.
In theory it sounds like a good idea. In practise? All the major manufacturers have converged on micro USB except Apple, who have already said they’ll supply an adaptor rather than ditch their lightning connector. You’ll struggle to find a non iPhone made since 2009 (when the legislation was put forward) that doesn’t use micro USB. In short, it worked, without the law demanding it, merely suggesting it.
I am a bit of a tech geek, it’s a subject I know about, and the flaws in this plan are glaring. If everyone is doing it anyway, why make it law? If it’s law, what happens when the next tech standard comes along and we want to upgrade? Apple’s lightning connector might be different to the USB ones, but it has major advantages, the plug is reversible, and the data transfer is much faster.
Honestly, when was the last time you saw any of those chargers on a new phone?
I’ve started to see a pattern. Governments legislating things like this always seem like a good idea unless I know anything about the subject, at which point the legislation is suddenly short sighted and inappropriate.
Legislating 101: start with a good headline and work backwards.
Extrapolating out from the data I have and my experience, I can only logically conclude that all legislation that aims to force this sort of control on us is stupid and inappropriate, be it standardised phone chargers, emission laws, or the shape of bananas.
Legislators who make these laws rarely seem to have a background interest in the subject matter; that seems reasonable. Most people aren’t interested in most things. Politicians are interested in politics, getting re-elected, covering up their latest scandal. They’re never going to properly understand even 10% of the issues they vote on, so why are they there?
I’m going to thing about if there’s even a point to voting while I sleep in my house that isn’t on fire from dodgy electrics and hasn’t been blown up due to dodgy gas fittings. Damm legislation.