“It’s early, but the Federal Trade Commission is going to be hard to beat for the regulatory overreach of the year,” L. Gordon Crovitz writes for The Wall Street Journal. “Last month the agency approved a $32.5 million settlement with Apple in a case that the dissenting commissioner, Joshua Wright, says boils down to this question: ‘Do you really want a regulatory agency designing your iPad?’ He isn’t exaggerating. Mr. Wright’s fellow commissioners pursued Apple over what they decided was poor design of the iPad. This critique may be a first for Apple, which is renowned for superb design, including ease of use. But Washington knows best.”

“He noted that the FTC’s directive, which spells out how Apple’s buying process [In-App Purchase] must work for the next 20 years, ‘is very likely to do more harm to consumers than it is to protect them.’ For example, Apple already uses fingerprints to unlock its mobile phones and could do the same to authorize payments—except that would violate the terms of the FTC order, which didn’t anticipate this innovation,” Crovitz writes. “Mr. Wright called this opinion the ‘most problematic agency action I have seen in terms of the potential to cause harm to consumers. He added that ‘it demonstrates a distinct lack of regulatory humility… This is a product-design case brought in the guise of alleged unfairness to consumers.’”

“The FTC risks ridicule for its micromanaging. ‘In my day, when a kid spent his parents’ money when he wasn’t supposed to, a form of indentured servitude ensued to pay off the debt,’ wrote a wry reporter for Engadget.com. ‘These days, courtrooms and federal agencies are the parentally preferred sources of remuneration,’” Crovitz writes. “Google’s Android apps operate in a similar way to Apple’s. Banks allow customers to make multiple transactions online without re-entering passwords. So do many online retailers. Will the FTC review all their product designs, too? Redesigning Apple products redefines regulatory arrogance. Humility from government? Too bad there’s no app for that.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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