Right to Repair
What is Right to Repair?
Have you ever been charged $500 to fix a $600 device? Have you wondered why you need a Genius Bar appointment to swap out a battery when it ought to be something you could yourself? The Right to Repair is a movement that is pushing technology manufacturers to make it easier for the owners of their products to repair the products themselves, or at least have the tech of their choice do the work.
What’s the status of the movement?
It’s becoming clear that the big names are beginning to recognize that this is a big issue with consumers, and that it’s in their best interest to start taking it seriously. Samsung has recently made moves to expand the number of manufacturer authorized service centers. John Deere has been at the center of the Right to Repair discussion, as farmers are unable to perform many physical and software repairs to their combines and tractors. John Deere, along with a group of other manufacturers, recently agreed to make service manuals and diagnostic information available to equipment owners. It’s clear that the leading manufacturers recognize their customer’s concerns, and concessions are being made, however slowly.
What’s the source of the opposition?
Opinions differ depending on who you ask, but the primary concern expressed by tech manufacturers when pressed on the Right to Repair movement is that of security, both for the company and for the customer. By providing tools, source code, and replacement parts, they claim that hackers would be in possession of everything they need to overcome the safety features of most devices, putting their customers at immense risk. Another significant concern is allowing this level of transparency would put billions of dollars of intellectual property in the wrong hands. If counterfeiters have all the tools they need to replicate a product, what’s to stop them from doing so?
What’s on the horizon?
As of the spring in 2019, twenty states have proposed Right to Repair legislation moving through their state houses. We expect that we’ll see more bills begin to pop up before other state legislatures adjourn at the end of the year. On the national level, some of the presidential candidates have already added this topic to their list of speaking points. Democratic presidential hopeful and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a national law ensuring a Right to Repair for tractors and other farm equipment. As the election season heats up, both on the state and national stage, you can expect this topic to arise again.
Sometimes repairs are difficult and costly, and sometimes they’re just plain impossible. When it’s time to get rid of that old hardware, CDR ensures that you still have the right to dispose of whatever you own, however you like, and you can be sure that your data is never compromised.