Solid middle-ground is needed on ‘Right to Repair’

“The debate over whether or not to have the so-called ‘Right to Repair’ guaranteed has both sides offering some compelling arguments for and against the introduction of support-related laws, but for the moment, the consumer loses out while the dispute rages on,” Mike Wuerthele and Malcolm Owen write for AppleInsider.

“Naturally, manufacturers are largely against the idea of right to repair. Ignoring a potential loss of revenue from servicing, as well as protecting intellectual property, the main arguments against implementing the legislation fall into both the difficulty of repairing the goods and that of public safety,” Wuerthele and Owen write. “The complex nature of modern electronics means a repair may require the use of specialist tools, or require a certain knowledge to successfully diagnose and fix a problem. An attempted repair could potentially result in not only damage to a replacement component if mishandled, but also to other components within a device that may have been functioning properly beforehand. The second argument… claims an inexperienced consumer could easily hurt themselves with the complex hardware… This isn’t 2000. The engineering and design principles have changed, and external Internet-delivered and data-stealing threats are more common than ever. Apple’s hardware and software combinations are increasingly being designed to counter that threat, and that has knock-on impacts on repair.”

“Apple is right about some aspects of “right to repair,” but for the wrong reasons. User security is a factor, yes, but not because of some speculation about safety to unwise governmental folks incapable of understanding the issue or seeing nuance surrounding it,” Wuerthele and Owen write. “Repair proponents are also partially right about the need for it, but mostly skip over security concerns, plus vastly over-estimate who will do it and who will want to do it… Like any philosophical conflict, the pair seem unwilling to meet in the middle with a compromise.”

Muhc more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Until reasonable safety and security concerns can be laid to rest, we cannot support blanket “Right to Repair” legislation. The recent shelving of such legislation in Ontario and California suggest that lesiglslators aren’t entirely convinced on the mater of “Right to Repair,” either.

Ontario’s ‘Right to Repair’ bill killed after big tech lobbying including Apple – May 3, 2019
California pulls its right-to-repair bill following pressure from Apple, other firms – May 1, 2019
Leaked internal documents show Apple is capable of implementing ‘Right to Repair’ legislation – March 28, 2019
Allstate buys mobile device repair company iCracked, becoming powerful proponent of ‘Right to Repair’ movement against Apple – February 15, 2019
California to introduce ‘right to repair’ bill which Apple opposes – March 8, 2018
State of Washington bill would make it illegal to sell electronics that don’t have easily replaceable batteries – January 26, 2018
Why Apple doesn’t want you repairing your broken iPhone or iPad yourself – July 12, 2017
Apple makes iPhone screen fixes easier as U.S. states mull ‘right to repair’ laws – June 7, 2017
Apple lobbying against ‘Right to Repair’ legislation, New York State records confirm – May 18, 2017
Apple fights against ‘right to repair’ – April 20, 2017
Apple fights ‘right to repair’ proposal; warns Nebraska could become a ‘Mecca for bad actors’ – March 10, 2017
Apple fights tooth and nail against ‘right to repair’ laws – March 8, 2017
Right to repair: Why Nebraska farmers are taking on John Deere and Apple – March 6, 2017
Right-to-Repair is ridiculous – February 16, 2017
Apple said to fight ‘Right to Repair’ legislation – February 15, 2017