Voters in Maine overwhelmingly voted for an automobile right-to-repair law in last week's elections. The measure passed 84-13%, sending a sharp message to legislators and manufacturers who spent millions of dollars lobbying to block such laws and trying to convince consumers that it should be illegal to repair the things they buy. — Read the rest
After sailing through New York's legislature, America's first right-to-repair bill may soon head to governor Kathy Hochul for approval. The law obliges technology manufacturers to make tools and parts available to independent repair shops. Spectrum Local News:
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Supporters of the bill, including [assemblywoman] Fahy, said the bill will allow for economic growth in this sector and could help the "tinkerers of today" become the "inventors of the future."
As Mister Jalopy said in his Maker's Manifesto, "If you can't open it, you don't own it." What's more, if you can't get the tools or parts or code to fix something you bought, you don't own it either. The BBC reported yesterday that the UK, the EU, and the U.S. — Read the rest
If you own a piece of hardware, you should be able to do whatever the hell you want with it, period. Don't like the color? Paint it. Not enough storage? Upgrade it. Not thrilled with it's operating system? Change it out. — Read the rest
Apple's response to the Congressional committee investigating monopolistic behavior by tech giants contains a chapter on Right to Repair, whose greatest enemy is Apple — the company led successful campaigns to kill 20 state level Right to Repair bills last year.
Captain Elle Ekman is a US Marine Corps logistics officer; in a New York Times op-ed, she describes how the onerous conditions imposed by manufacturers on the US armed forces mean that overseas troops are not permitted to fix their own mission-critical gear, leaving them stranded and disadvantaged.
New Hampshire's Digital Fair Repair Act — based on model Right to Repair legislation circulated by the Repair Coalition — died this week after the state House of Reps voted it down, with Rep John Potucek [R-Derry] telling a reporter that he voted against the bill because "In the near future, cellphones are throwaways. — Read the rest
Last year in the USA, a corporate coalition led by Apple killed 20 state Right to Repair bills (Massachusetts subsequently passed a ballot initiative that accomplished the same rules without having to pass the corruptible legislature), but in the EU, Right to Repair advocates have made enormous strides, and now the European Commission has adopted rules (coming into effect in 2021) that require manufacturers of lighting, washing machines, dishwashers and fridges to make parts available for a minimum of 10 years after the item is manufactured, and to design appliances so that parts can be easily replaced with standard tools.
I've been repairing my phones and computers for years—I don't like being at the mercy of hardware vendors, especially when there's a sea of original and gray market replacement parts out there to be had. Upgrades? Same thing. While companies like Microsoft and Apple are making it almost impossible to tinker with the toys they make, it feels good to know that I can still at least install a fresh battery or increase the size of an old laptop's on board storage for hundreds less than it would cost me were I to take it into one of their repair centers. — Read the rest
Apple was at the vanguard of the massive corporate spending that killed Right to Repair bills in 20 state legislatures last year, and while the company claims that it wants to protect its users from evil repair dudes who secretly hack their devices while claiming to fix them, Apple's CEO's frank warning to investors that profits are expected to slide if people keep fixing their Iphones instead of replacing them points at a much more likely answer.
The Right to Repair movement has introduced dozens of state-level laws that would force companies to support independent repairs by making manuals, parts and diagnostic codes available, and by ending the illegal practice of voiding warranties for customers who use independent repair services, but these bills keep getting killed by overwhelming shows of lobbying force from members of the highly concentrated manufacturing sector, particularly Apple, whose CEO, Tim Cook, warned investors in January that the number one threat to Iphone sales is that customers are choosing to repair, rather than replace, their mobile devices.
Dozens of Right to Repair bills were introduced across the USA last year, only to be defeated by hardcore lobbying led by Apple and backed by a rogue's gallery of giant manufacturers of every description; one of the most effective anti-repair tactics is to spread FUD about the supposed security risks of independent repairs.
Apple pioneered the use of dirty tricks and lobbying to kill Right to Repair legislation, but they're not the only tech player who's putting lobbying muscle into ensuring that you can't decide who fixes your stuff (and when it is "unfixable" and must be sent to the landfill).
As I've mentioned every now and again, I am an extremely satisfied customer of Ting, a "mobile virtual network operator" (MVNO) that piggybacks on T-Mobile and Sprint networks; it's a division of Tucows, the venerable software distribution service ("The Ultimate Collection of Windows Software), the same company that owns Hover (whom I use for domain registry services) and a bunch of smalltown, mom-and-pop cable operators through whom the company offers blazing fast fiber optic services.
Last year, California was one of several states to introduce right to repair legislation that would force companies to end practices that discourage the independent repair sector, creating a requirement to sell replacement parts, provide documentation, and supply codes to bypass DRM systems that locked new parts out of devices until the company activated them. — Read the rest
The Right to Repair movement is gaining so much ground that the corporations whose profits it threatens are making tiny, symbolic concessions in the hopes of diffusing the energy behind it.
Michael Coteau, a member of the Ontario provincial parliament from the opposition Liberal party has announced for provincial Right to Repair legislation, which he will introduce in a private member's bill — he says the legislation was prompted when he was charged nearly $400 to fix his daughter's Samsung phone screen and he recalled a CBC special on US efforts to pass Right to Repair laws at the state level; Coteau says he's looking for co-sponsors from the NDP and the ruling Conservative Party (whose caucus is a disgraceful shambles).
The Right to Repair movement got state legislatures to consider more than a dozen Right to Repair bills last year, and have made great strides in the EU and elsewhere, but for every two steps forward they manage, they're forced a step or two back by giant corporate lobbyists, led by Apple, who want to ensure that third parties can't repair products, and that a manufacturer's decision it's time to retire a product from the market won't be challenged by independent repair depots.
With the Right to Repair movement surging around the world, now is the perfect moment to check out the Right to Repair Youtube town halls, which will help you get involved with your local policymakers to ensure that you can fix your stuff! — Read the rest
Last year saw a massive surge in the right to repair movement, which seeks to limit manufacturers' power to undermine repairs, by mandating certain design decisions to facilitate independent servicing of goods, as well as access to parts and manuals.