The Road to Hell…

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, and Bernie Sanders asked that the U.S. establish uniform charging accessory standards, arguing that planned obsolescence in consumer electronics causes financial stress and environmental harm. (This follows similar legislation in the EU that will force consumer electronics to adopt USB-C connectors by 2024.)

You know the old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”? This is a perfect example. USB-C is a multifunction port. The “-C” in modern parlance (creating a suffix from “Type-C”) refers to the connector’s physical configuration, not its capabilities.

USB-C cables may be compatible with the USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 specification – meaning that the cables will look the same and fit in any USB-C device – but not possess the same power/data transfer capabilities.

The consumer electronics world will most likely be getting USB4 (released in 2019) by the time this “law” goes into effect. IDK if or what a USB5 spec might contain. Would USB-C be retired and UltraUSB succeed it? Would some as-of-yet-unknown connector be invented with several times the capability? Is the USB-C connector so good that its usage needs to become law? No, no, and no.

We need a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law requiring the adoption of a specific charging cable or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of data transfer or of power distribution; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble their own cables and connectors.”

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



PreviousHow Do You See the Future? NextThe Longest Day of the Year

Get Briefed Every Day!

Subscribe to my daily newsletter featuring current events and the top stories in technology, media, and marketing.