Fine Whines from Lobbyists, As Expected

Other than Apple, most tech OEMs have chosen to use their control of trade associations to hire lobbyists in opposition. These hired guns aren't tech savvy—and neither is their audience. The result is incredibly thin arguments based on Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (what I like to call, FUD), rather than Fact.  

This has never surprised us. Frankly—there aren't any good arguments for repair monopolies or for unfair and deceptive contracts. Our legislation isn't even directed at technology, it's directed at contracts, which in the case of tech products are often unfair.

Consider an End User License Agreement (EULA) that states you will void your warranty by opening the case of your tablet. Federal law, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, already protects consumers from such terms. There are also EULA that are declared to be in force if you merely turn on the equipment—with no acknowledgement of terms whatsoever.

The following is our curated lobbyist Whine List, with details of the vintages and flavors attached here.

Aperitif: Opening Whines

Opposition lobbyists claim that Fair Repair will interfere with valuable Proprietary Rights, despite repair being clearly legal under copyright law and patent law. Moreover, copyright law remains intact—warts and all. States can't modify federal law and everyone knows it. So lobbyists repeat what they know is not correct in the hopes of making it true by repetition. 

Main Course: Safety Whines

Lobbyists continually paint the act of repair as unsafe. No logic here. Think about the exploding batteries in the Samsung phone. That's a manufacturing or design defect— not a repair problem. Lithium ion batteries are a design choice that makes much of our e-waste an explosive hazard, including "Smart Sneakers," "Smart EPT Tests," and my personal favorite "Smart Kitty Litter." 

Meanwhile, Apple makes phones that are unsafe to use while driving, and then claims glass repair makes their phones unsafe. John Deere makes a tractor with an emissions feature that causes fires in the field, but won't release diagnostics to reset a check-engine light. 

Dessert Whine: Cyber-Security through Diagnostics

Lobbyists insist that allowing repair could lead to weaker cyber-security. Anyone making this claim cannot, by default, have any idea what diagnostics do. This makes the claim unusually powerful as a FUD, not fact. Diagnostics necessary for repair merely replace continuity testers, voltage testers, oscilloscopes, and thermometers into an automated function. It's possible to use conventional tools to diagnose faults, but in a product with thousands of tiny parts, refusing to provide efficient tools only makes repair too expensive.