New York Senate Passes Right to Repair Electronics Act
The New York State Senate voted to pass the Digital Fair Repair Act, legislation on the right to repair of electronic devices, reported VICE. This makes the Senate the first legislative body in the United States to approve such a law.
“This protects consumers from the monopoly practices of manufacturers,” Senator Phil Boyle said on the floor. “We all have computers, laptops and smartphones that we repair from time to time. Many times we have to send them back to the manufacturer for simple repairs which cost a lot more. Now people can repair their own computers, laptops, smartphones and farm equipment. We don’t have to send them back to the manufacturers.
The bill was passed with 51 senators voting for and only 12 voting against. To be promulgated, however, it must still pass the Assembly vote and be signed by the governor.
In November 2020, the European Parliament also pushed for a law on the right to reparation. This is good news because our increasing consumption of electronics is starting to have an impact on the environment, especially in the form of electronic waste.
Also called waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide and accounts for 70% of all toxic waste in US landfills. E-waste poisons soil and groundwater and affects public health, especially in developing countries where it is often sent from developed countries.
The new American bill would be “require original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to make diagnostic and repair information for digital electronic parts and equipment available to independent repairers and consumers if such parts and repair information is also available to them OEM authorized repairers.
Majority of people want the right to repair their own electronic devices because they are attached to their gadgets and it is much more expensive to replace broken gadgets with new ones. However, companies that benefit from repair monopolies have the means to spend a large amount lobby state legislatures to fight against the right to redress.
The New York Senate vote is an important step in the right direction, which will hopefully include not only electronics, but agricultural equipment and medical devices as well.