If you have been following this blog, then you know that I have posted several times about the right to repair movement, and the despicable behavior of some vendors who would rather you couldn’t. I wrote about how John Deere was abusing their customers, and how the farmers were pushing back. I wrote about how farmers were using ‘unauthorized’ software to work on their tractors. I wrote about how iFixit is leading the way in the fight for the right to repair. And about a small victory that means people can work on their own cars now. We’ve seen the problem: vendors who treat their customers like mere users of their products, with no ownership rights. And we’ve seen good-hearted people pushing back, to the point where some jurisdictions are developing legislation to give people the right to repair their own stuff. Now the pushback is going in the other direction. The manufacturers have hired lobbyists to try to convince the politicians to not enact the laws. They want to continue with the present system, where people buy something, it breaks, and they throw it away and buy something else. They don’t mind that people throw away so much stuff — Americans alone throw away over 400,000 cell phones per day — because it’s good for business to sell them more stuff to replace it. And, after all, they’re not responsible for anything besides their shareholders’ dividends. Their own convenient little sandbox, and everything outside of it is someone else’s responsibility. These are the paragons in our funny little world.
The battle lines were drawn at a hearing in New Hampshire last week for a proposed right to repair law, with supporters calling for economic justice for consumers and opponents warning of crime and injury should the law pass.
… the proposed legislation would stifle commerce, leave New Hampshire consumers vulnerable to cyber crime and even physical harm at the hands of clueless owners and inexperienced or unethical repair professionals.
The proposed legislation in New Hampshire would
… require original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that do business in New Hampshire to make the same documentation, parts and tools available to device owners and independent repair professionals as they make available to their licensed or “authorized” repair professionals.
… documentation, tools, and parts needed to reset product (software) locks or digital right management functions following maintenance and repair would also need to be made available to owners and independent repair professionals on “fair and reasonable terms.”
That’s all. If you want to do business in New Hampshire, then treat your customers right. But the lobbyists paint a different picture.
… repairs performed by the owners of lawn equipment, electronics and home appliances or independent repair professionals carry serious economic, safety and security risks.
They go on to outline the risks, painting a picture of economic decline, grievous bodily injury and death. I think you get the idea. For full details, I recommend following the link to the article at Security Ledger, as well as a supplementary article at the US Public Interest Research Group website.