Business

Policy

Got some broken tech? Super Cali's trinket fix-it law brought into focus

Right to Repair Act just in case your phone becomes atrocious

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco

70 SHARE

Lawmakers in the US state of California are mulling proposed rules that would force electronics makers to allow people to repair devices themselves.

The draft Right to Repair Act, introduced by Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would require manufacturers to publish repair guides and diagnostics and offer repair tools and replacement parts for sale.

The idea, says Eggman, is to allow consumers and independent repair shops the ability to fix phones, computers, and appliances on their own rather than locking them out of the devices and limiting repairs to vendor-owned shops (looking at you, Apple).

"The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence," Eggman said of the legislation.

The bill also doubles as an environmental responsibility pitch, arguing that when consumers are able to get their devices repaired, they are less likely to throw them out and will therefore contribute less e-waste.

"Right to Repair legislation would also help to return competition to the marketplace, giving consumers more options about where and how to repair their products," writes Kay Kay Clapp, director of communications for DIY repair vendor iFixit.

"This not only creates jobs, but it also reduces the environmental impact of e-waste."

Despite (or perhaps because of) being home to consumer electronics and PC giants like Apple, Google, and HP, the Golden State lags well behind a number of other US states in the right to repair movement.

Prior to Eggman's bill, 17 other states had already introduced their own right to repair legislation, though some of these, like a bill proposed in New York, have been defeated by tech industry lobbying.

Many of the leading states are agricultural hotbeds like Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma, where farmers have been fighting against restrictive repair policies on the embedded hardware used in farm equipment. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

70 Comments

More from The Register

Congressional group asks FBI boss Wray to explain Apple lawsuit

How dark can crims really go?

Ignore that FBI. We're the real FBI, says the FBI that's totally the FBI

Don't open that malware mail from the Feds that's not from the Feds, Feds warn

FBI for the Apple guy: Bloke accused of stealing robo-car tech

Engineer facing trade secrets theft rap for allegedly trying to defect with self-driving designs

FBI's flawed phone tally blamed on programming error. 7,800 unbreakable mobes? Er, um...

We meant 1,000. Maybe 2,000

FBI to World+Dog: Please, try turning it off and turning it back on

Feds trying to catalogue VPNFilter infections

Did the FBI engineer its iPhone encryption court showdown with Apple to force a precedent? Yes and no, say DoJ auditors

Analysis Official report blows lid on behind-the-scenes

FBI agents take aim at VPNFilter botnet, point finger at Russia, yell 'national security threat'

Feds warn admins malware is rather tough to destroy

Former FBI boss Comey used private email for official business – DoJ

'I did not have an unclassified FBI connection at home that worked'

Tesla tips ice on Apple, Google, Microsoft accounts of '$1m leaker'

US court grants freezing order on Marty Tripp's email and cloud hideyholes

Stress, bad workplace cultures are still driving security folk to drink

Black Hat Self-medicating with booze is no answer, hackers warned at conference