Right-to-repair gains momentum as states adopt new laws and Apple offers support

Tech companies often make repairing a gadget difficult by welding parts into place or making devices difficult to open.

By Shelly BrisbinNovember 16, 2023 1:37 pm,

Consumer groups and advocates for environmental responsibility have taken up the cause of “right-to-repair.” They say that consumers who buy a tech gadget, like a phone or a computer, should be able to fix it instead of throwing it away or relying on the manufacturer for repair – where prices are often high and fixing it yourself isn’t an option. 

Recently, right-to-repair campaigners have had some success in places like California, New York and Minnesota, all of which have passed right-to-repair laws. And Apple, whose products are notoriously hard for consumers to open and fix, actually threw its support behind California’s law.

Tech expert Omar Gallaga says tech companies are responding to momentum for these measures, and doing their best to get ahead of the issue.

Highlights from this segment:

– Gadgets have become harder for consumers or third-party repair companies to open and fix, due to manufacturing techniques and software “traps” that can lock down devices if they’re tampered with.

– Right-to-repair laws in several states include basic rules that address consumer access to devices, but tech companies have lobbied for limitations, based on a desire to protect their intellectual property and claims that consumers could be at risk if they perform repairs.

– The Biden administration has instructed the FTC to study potential right-to-repair rules at the federal level. 

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