Trade groups representing major technology companies clashed with independent service owners Monday at a Nevada legislature committee meeting over a proposal to require hardware manufacturers to provide repair shops with tools to repair devices such as computers, phones, tablets and printers.
Whether the government should require companies to provide independent stores – not just authorized dealers – access to parts and circuits needed to repair devices is one of the front lines in a larger public battle over how to regulate the technology industry. as their products become more and more necessary in everyday life. He distills discussions about antitrust policy on how and where consumers can repair a broken smartphone and whether the companies that transformed communications by producing them have the right to protect their intellectual property.
The so-called repair rights bills, which are being considered in 25 state houses, are based on the Massachusetts Voting Initiative, which voters approved last year to make auto parts and plans available to service stations.
The Nevada bill will apply to consumer electronics worth less than $ 5,000 (approximately Rs. 3.6 lacquers) and exempt equipment used for gambling. Nebraska lawmakers have adapted repair legislation to farm equipment and farmers, while California is considering requiring medical equipment manufacturers to provide information on how to repair devices such as fans.
Assemblywoman Selena Torres, an English teacher in Las Vegas who once worked in a battery shop that did repairs, said adding the requirement to state law would protect jobs in the electronics repair industry, allowing people to to repair their devices on site instead of sending them outside the country. She said she was sponsoring the bill to provide consumers with more affordable repair options – something that is particularly urgent as the pandemic forces students and remote workers to rely on technology, she said.
The Clark County School District is distributing tens of thousands of Google Chromebooks to facilitate distance learning, but it took months to ensure that all students in the Las Vegas area have access to the Internet and devices, according to the Nevada Connecting Kids Task Force.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, the shortage of laptops across the country left millions of students unprepared for virtual learning. As an educator, I saw firsthand how families struggle to share a device with several school-age children,” Torres said. “The right to repair will give schools and other institutions the information they need to maintain equipment and enable the renewed computer market, saving taxpayers’ dollars and improving digital access.”
Cameron Demeter, the organisation’s regional executive, said manufacturers were worried about “unattached third parties” having access to personal information stored in consumer electronics. He said the bill had “the potential to worry about unintended consequences, including serious adverse risks to security, privacy and safety”.
Repair companies are wondering why fixing the batteries or the home buttons on a smartphone compromises cyber protection and say that in recent decades, manufacturers have made it difficult to purchase the parts needed to repair machines. They say companies direct customers to replace their printers or computers, even if only inkjet or motherboards need repair.
“It’s changed from being able to do whatever you want to fix your computer or printer to ‘You can’t do anything now.’ “Everything has changed once or it’s impossible to fix,” said Curtis Jones, who runs Sparks Technology Center.
Without parts and diagrams, Jones worries that his business will soon have to close. His staff often jokes about how in a few years they will pack new devices in an Amazon warehouse instead of repairing ones that can be repaired.
Jones believes technology companies want to control repairs and prefer customers to buy brand new devices instead of repairing obsolete ones. When devices can be repaired, he worries about unnecessary long-term environmental impacts that will push people to buy new technology: “We will have so many landfills that we will have to start living on old printers or computers,” he said. .
Consumer Electronics Association lobbyist Walter Alcorn noted how device manufacturers operate in competitive markets and told lawmakers that their concerns about unauthorized repair shops dealing with their technology could compromise public perceptions of their products.
“One of the reasons consumer electronics manufacturers are so sensitive is that their business model is based on their brand reputation,” he said. “The concern these companies have in protecting their brands – and these products still bear their names – is that repairs will be done incorrectly or poor quality parts will be included and customer experience will be different.”
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