Right To Repair

Getting the freedom to fix your own stuff


Image Source:  iFixit.com CC-BY-NC-SA

Image Source: iFixit.com CC-BY-NC-SA

By: Philip Do, Journalist

Around the beginning of July 2021, Joe Biden signed an executive order that pushes the Federal Trade Commission to make third-party repairs easier. This order is called “The Right To Repair.” The right to repair is legislation that states that if you own something, you have the right to repair it yourself or take it to a technician to get it fixed. This includes cars, electronic products and appliances, farming technology, and more. This legislation is already an option if you want to void the warranty sticker, but some companies don’t allow this to happen.

For example, Apple has created a special type of screw, specifically to make it harder for third parties to repair their product. Recently, Apple has opened its tools and parts to third-party repair shops. Nintendo is also known for doing something like this with Joy-Con Drift. Owners were required to send it back to Nintendo themselves to fix the problem. But now, with the Right To Repair legislation, you can fix the drift yourself.

Thorin Klosowski, a journalist from the Wirecutter, writes-

“The Repair Association, a right-to-repair advocacy group, has several policy objectives. Those objectives are:

  • Make information available: Everyone should have reasonable access to manuals, schematics, and software updates. Software licenses shouldn’t limit support options and should make clear what’s included in a sale.
  • Make parts and tools available: The parts and tools to service devices, including diagnostic tools, should be made available to third parties, including individuals.
  • Allow unlocking: The government should legalize unlocking, adapting, or modifying a device, so an owner can install custom software.
  • Accommodate repair in the design: Devices should be designed in a way to make repair possible.”

Nathan Proctor, a senior right to repair campaign director at the US Public Interest Research Group, states, “We shouldn’t be recycling usable technology, we should be reusing it. That’s far better for the environment.”