"right to repair"

Small but meaningful progress towards a federal Right to Repair rule

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. Read the rest

Debunking Microsoft's anti-Right-to-Repair FUD

Microsoft is no stranger to the use of "Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt" in the pursuit of monopolistic goals; the company perfected the tactic in the early 1990s as a way of scaring enterprise customers away from GNU/Linux; today, the company shows off its mastery of FUD in its filings to the Federal Trade Commission condemning proposals for Right-to-Repair rules. Read the rest

Podcast number 300: "Adversarial Interoperability: Reviving an Elegant Weapon From a More Civilized Age to Slay Today's Monopolies"

I just published the 300th installment of my podcast, which has been going since 2006 (!); I present a reading of my EFF Deeplinks essay Adversarial Interoperability: Reviving an Elegant Weapon From a More Civilized Age to Slay Today's Monopolies, where I introduce the idea of "Adversarial Interoperability," which allows users and toolsmiths to push back against monopolists. Read the rest

Adversarial interoperability: reviving an elegant weapon from a more civilized age to slay today's monopolies

Today, Apple is one of the largest, most profitable companies on Earth, but in the early 2000s, the company was fighting for its life. Microsoft's Windows operating system was ascendant, and Microsoft leveraged its dominance to ensure that every Windows user relied on its Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc). Apple users—a small minority of computer users—who wanted to exchange documents with the much larger world of Windows users were dependent on Microsoft's Office for the Macintosh operating system (which worked inconsistently with Windows Office documents, with unexpected behaviors like corrupting documents so they were no longer readable, or partially/incorrectly displaying parts of exchanged documents). Alternatively, Apple users could ask Windows users to export their Office documents to an "interoperable" file format like Rich Text Format (for text), or Comma-Separated Values (for spreadsheets). These, too, were inconsistent and error-prone, interpreted in different ways by different programs on both Mac and Windows systems. Read the rest

Americans believe that they should own the mountains of data produced by their cars, but they don't

Your car is basically a smartphone with wheels, and it gathers up to 25gb/hour worth of data on you and your driving habits -- everything from where you're going to how much you weigh. Cars gather your financial data, data on the number of kids in the back seat, and, once they're connected to your phone, data on who you call and text. Read the rest

DRM and terms-of-service have ended true ownership, turning us into "tenants of our own devices"

Writing in Wired, Zeynep Tufekci (previously) echoes something I've been saying for years: that the use of Digital Rights Management technologies, along with other systems of control like Terms of Service, are effectively ending the right of individuals to own private property (in the sense of exercising "sole and despotic dominion" over something), and instead relegating us to mere tenancy, constrained to use the things we buy in ways that are beneficial to the manufacturer's shareholders, even when that is at the cost of our own best interests. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders announces a farmers' right-to-repair and antitrust proposal similar to Elizabeth Warren's

Bernie Sanders' latest campaign plank is a suite of agricultural reforms similar to the ones proposed by Elizabeth Warren in March, including a national right-to-repair law for agricultural equipment, antitrust breakups of agribusiness seed, meatpacking and fertilizer monopolies, patent law reform to curb abuses of seed patents, reform of US trade agreements to support "domestic food security", rationalized supply management and a grain and feed reserve, national disaster coverage, relief for family farm bankruptcies, pro-diversity policies for 4H and other agricultural pipelines, incentives for regional co-ops, and a suite of climate change remediation measures. Read the rest

Big Tech lobbyists and "open for business" Tories killed Ontario's Right-to-Repair legislation

In February, Liberal Party opposition MPP Michael Coteau introduced Right to Repair legislation after he was charged $400 to fix the cracked screen on his daughter's Samsung phone; that bill is now dead, as are dozens of Right to Repair bills introduced in US state houses, after Conservative MPs, heavily lobbied by US Big Tech firms, killed it before it could proceed to committee. Read the rest

Securepairs.org will send debullshitifying security researchers to Right to Repair hearings to fight industry FUD

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. Read the rest

Most US eighth graders have taken apart a gadget to fix it or see how it works

From the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress: "In 2018, fifty-three percent of eighth-grade students reported that they believed they could perform a variety of technology- and engineering-related tasks such as taking something apart to fix it or see how it works." Read the rest

How to: make a hackintosh

Ernie Smith has produced a spectacularly complete guide to making a "hackintosh" -- that is, a Mac OS computer running on PC hardware, giving users the option of more RAM, different screens and keyboards, and many other axes of freedom otherwise denied to Mac OS users. Apple doesn't make it easy, but the community's extensive work has put the seemingly impossible within your grasp. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's latest proposal: cancel student debt, make college free

Elizabeth Warren has proposed a $1.25 trillion plan to forgive student debts and make all public college and university undergraduate education free, as well as earmarking $50B for historically Black colleges, and expanding federal grants to help pay for all students' non-tuition expenses. Read the rest

Wealthy Dems and their backers hate Bernie (and Warren) for the same reason they hated Kucinich: he wants to tax the rich

Matt Taibbi's (previously) latest Rolling Stone column traces the long history of rich Democrat donors and the officials whom they fund attacking progressive candidates, showing how the same playbook used to attack Dennis Kucinich in 2003 is now being rolled out to attack Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (I am a donor to both the Sanders and Warren campaigns). Read the rest

Not just Apple: Microsoft has been quietly lobbying to kill Right to Repair bills

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). Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren proposes holding execs criminally liable for scams and data breaches

A new bill from Senator Elizabeth Warren proposes personal, criminal liability for top executives of companies turning over more than $1B/year when those companies experience data breaches and scams due to negligence (many of the recent high-profile breaches would qualify, including the Equifax giga-breach, as well as many of Wells Fargo's string of scams and scandals). Read the rest

America's best mobile carrier is also the first phone company to back Right to Repair legislation

As I've mentioned every Read the rest

Leaked Apple docs describe support program for 3rd-party repairs, just as right-to-repair bills in 20 states would require

Documents from Apple leaked to reporters describe a program of support for third-party repairs, and the details sound like it was intended to comply with the requirements of a slew of new right-to-repair bills proposed in some 20 U.S. states. Read the rest

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