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Activists Blast NY Governor Hochul For Screwing up State’s Right To Repair Efforts
from the this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things dept
The good news: New York State recently passed landmark right to repair legislation that should improve consumer access to independent repair options. The bad news: despite passing the state assembly 147–2 and the senate 59–4, lobbyists managed to convince NY Governor Kathy Hochul to dramatically water down the legislation before it was passed [techdirt.com], rendering it largely useless.
Needless to say, right to repair activists aren’t amused.
Paul Roberts is the founder of SecuRepairs, a coalition of IT and cybersecurity professionals who advocate for consumers’ right to repair. In an op-ed over in the Times Union, he lambasts Hochul [timesunion.com] for falling victim to industry’s claims that improved repair options and more transparent access to tools and documentation poses a threat to U.S. consumers:
As they have done on the road to burying more than 100 proposed pieces of repair legislation in 40 states since 2014, anti-repair groups argued – without evidence – that such information, if made available to owners and independent repair providers, would lead to cyberattacks and the theft of consumer data.
Had the governor and her staff had no other information to guide them in making their decision, we might forgive them for erring on the side of caution. But the governor and her staff knew that the manufacturers’ arguments were bogus. I should know: My group told them.
The original Digital Fair Repair Act required that manufacturers that already provide security codes and passwords to their authorized repair providers to also provide them at a reasonable price to the owners of covered devices and to independent repair providers.
Industry has long claimed that manufacturer-authorized repair options are more reliable and secure than independent repairs or repairs carried out by technology owners. Hochul bowed to these concerns, despite a recent FTC report [urldefense.com] making it clear these claims are completely false. Worse, non-transparent repair options make it more likely security threats won’t be noticed before they’re a problem.
Hochul listened to repair monopolists instead of experts, activists, and her constituents, and completely pulled the requirement that manufacturers provide device owners and independent repair providers with “documentation, tools, and parts” needed to access and reset digital locks that impede the diagnosis, maintenance or repair of covered electronic devices.
This is, as they say, why we can’t have nice things.
Filed Under: independent repair [techdirt.com], kathy hochul [techdirt.com], lobbying [techdirt.com], new york [techdirt.com], repair monopoly [techdirt.com], right to repair [techdirt.com], third party repair [techdirt.com]