Since 2012, when the first successful implementation of the right to repair occurred in the automotive industry, the idea of consumers repairing their own devices has grown significantly in popularity. The Right to Repair movement has since risen in the electronics industry, and many tech companies have announced self-repair programs. Now, repair bills are being signed into law, with New York being the most recent.
Introduced in April 2021, Assembly Bill A700613 passed the state Senate on June 1, and assembly shortly after. If passed, the “Digital Fair Repair Act” will require original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to make necessary equipment and information available to independent repair providers and consumers including diagnostic and repair information for digital electronic parts and equipment. This expands repair options for device users, and provides alternative solutions to taking a device to the manufacturer for repair and potentially having to replace the device.
If certain access requires security-related locks, codes or authorizations, OEMs will be required to supply the tools or documentation needed to access the device on “fair and reasonable terms”. The bill does not require OEMs to include public safety communications equipment, and excludes home appliances with digital electronics embedded within them. Tools, parts and documentation will not be required to be provided if the intended use for such materials is device modification, and the proposed requirements will apply only to “products with value over ten dollars.”
The right to repair your own device may seem like a cost effective way to extend the value of your device, however, with no public safety communications required many don’t realize the dangers of attempting to repair devices at home. Many devices these days are made with highly flammable Lithium Ion batteries that are known to combust when damaged. If users are attempting repairs at home, it is advisable to take safety precautions and research exactly how to use the tools and parts provided by OEMs.
If you find that your device is beyond repair and need to dispose of it, it is important to do so in a safe, environmentally friendly manner. IT asset disposition facilities like HOBI collect retired IT assets including mobile devices, laptops and tablets, and ensure that they are properly disposed of via recycling. Recycling prevents any chemicals from polluting the environment, and helps to eliminate waste completely by closing the loop on a circular economy.
The Digital Fair Repair Act is currently headed to the New York governor for signature. If approved, the requirements will go into effect one year after it becomes law.
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