The Woz Backs 'Right To Repair' Reform

from the this-isn't-going-away dept

We've repeatedly noted how the "right to repair" movement has been gaining a full head of steam as consumers, independent repair shops, schools, farmers, and countless others grow tired of corporations' attempts to monopolize repair. Whether it's Sony and Microsoft creating repair monopolies for their game consoles, Apple bullying independent repair shops, or John Deere making it a costly hassle just to fix a tractor, the more companies restrict access to cheap repair, parts, tools, and documentation, the more this movement seems to grow.

We're now reaching an obvious tipping point. The federal government and more than two dozen states have proposed new right to repair laws. The recent Biden executive order also urged the FTC to do everything in its power (which is limited under the FTC Act) to address the problem.

And last week, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak jumped into the fray to point out that after finally studying the issue at length (he insists his "busy schedule" prevented this until now), he's now a big fan of meaningful right to repair reform:

Ironically, the company Woz once founded has proven to be the most obnoxious player on this front. Apple's ham-fisted efforts to shut down, sue, or otherwise imperil third-party repair shops are legendary as are the company's efforts to force recycling shops to shred Apple products (so they can't be refurbished and re-used, harming consumers and the environment alike). The company also routinely lies about what right to reform legislation actually does, trying to conflate its desire to protect revenues with altruistic worries about public safety.

After researching the issue, Woz says he now "totally supports" the right to repair movement and that open-source technology and standards were absolutely instrumental in Apple's early successes and popularity, whether it was their ability to manipulate video input on older TVs, or shipping the Apple I with full design specs so users could tinker with the device once they got it home:

"I do a lot of Cameos, but this one has really gotten to me. We wouldn't have had an Apple had I not grown up in a very open technology world."

A broad coalition of companies like Apple have spent the better part of the last five years demonizing reform efforts. These attacks almost always attempt to dress up vanilla greed as some deeper concern about public safety and security (see claims that reform will embolden sexual predators or turn states into dangerous hacker meccas). But a recent bipartisan FTC report showed how the majority of these claims are absolute self-serving bunk, and the more the public understands the benefits of right to repair, the tougher it becomes for companies like Apple to fight upstream against reform.

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Filed Under: right to repair, steve wozniak
Companies: apple

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2021 @ 5:29pm

    A few comments on this subject. First, the initial fault goes all the way vack to the idiotic court ruling un Sony's favour that it could remove the main alternate readon people were buying the playstation consoles. This then led to companies having it made illegal for buyers to actual own what they had bought, a most ridiculous ruling i could never understand how anyone with an iota of sense could arrive at. I often wondered what the reward was that those on the bench in these cases received for basically screwing over every single person on the Planet for arriving at the verdicts. Next we get to the next illegal ruling for buyers that altering anything threw the warranty out the window, even ehen the alterations made the item ib question at the time more stable, more safe, less prone to stop functioning etc, etc until we get to the final stage where we were/are prevented from repairing an item that we have paid our gard earned cash for not for any reason other than allowing the original manufacturer/seller to screw us over still further, as if once wasn't enough! I have to admit though, i could bever understand how it as perfectly fine to self repair what is one of the most dangerous inventions ever, using, if the person wants to, after market/refurbished spare parts. That piece of equipment is a motor vehicle! The potential for causing multiple deaths far exceeds what a fucked up repair on a Playstation could ever achieve!
    Now 5he ball is well and truly rolling, i hope it continues gaining momentum. If Biden would get his thumb out of his ass and add another Democrate to the FCC, it would help because, hopefully, Net Neutrality would be reinstated, making the finding and purchasing of soares for everything much easier. Remember, it dont take many poor quality components to be sold before the word is spread workd wide, thanks to the Net, so the risk of items failing is massively reduced. The competition instigated then works wonders for customers, reducing prices but not tge quality of spare parts. Should be a win for all concerned instead of only the original makers!

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