The right to repair movement has recently been making waves across the globe.
- From the United States (US) to Europe, pressure is mounting on manufacturers around the world to give consumers the right to repair their own electronic devices.
- Activists and organizations around the world argue that these electronic manufacturers are encouraging a culture of ‘planned obsolescence — which means that devices are designed specifically to last a limited amount of time and to be replaced. This, they claim, leads to immense pressure on the environment and wasted natural resources.
- However, it has been facing tremendous opposition and resistance from tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, and even Amazon.
Reason for their resistance:
- In response to this executive order, American companies say they fear for their business.
- They argue that sharing information in this way would violate the intellectual property of their products.
- The other main argument is that independent repairers could be harmed when attempting to repair a product or by using it after a faulty repair.
- They also believe that this will threaten data and cybersecurity.
- The US President Joe Biden had recently signed an executive order asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish rules to allow consumers to repair their electronic devices under their own conditions. These rules are intended to boost competition in the US economy.
- The UK, too, introduced right-to-repair rules that should make it much easier to buy and repair daily-use gadgets such as TVs and washing machines.
What is the right to repair movement?
- The right to repair movement started sometime in the 1950s, at the beginning of the computer era.
- This movement allows consumers the ability to repair and modify their own consumer electronic devices, where otherwise the manufacturer of such devices requires the consumer to use only their offered services.
- The main aim of the movement is to get tech companies to make tools, spare parts, and repair manuals accessible to the public.
- This can help consumers and repair shops fix devices and extend their life span.
- The right to repair electronic products in their entirety is a real ecological and economic issue.
- For years, tech giants and manufacturers have been doing everything to prevent consumers from being able to repair their products.
- Instead, they have favored the purchase of new devices.