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California becomes the 18th state to introduce right to repair bill

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But it’ll be an uphill battle to get it passed into law

iphone 5 teardown (ifixit) Photo: iFixit

California has become the latest state to propose the Right to Repair Act, which would require electronics manufacturers to make repair information and parts available to product owners and to third-party repair shops and services.

The bill was proposed earlier this week by California Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, and would require companies like Apple to make it possible for customers to repair their devices on their own or at places other than Apple Stores or approved Apple retailers.

California joins 17 other states — Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia — which have proposed similar legislation.

That said, it’ll be an uphill battle to get right to repair legislation to pass. Most major tech companies, including Apple and Microsoft are opposed to the idea of letting users fix their own devices on the grounds that it poses a security risk to users. That means that the bill will almost certainly have to face the full force of these company’s considerable financial and political capital that will be used to lobby against any new legislation.

We’ve already seen this play out before in New York, where a right to repair bill languished for months in the New York’s state legislature before fizzling out. On the other hand, as Motherboard points out, California also has some of the best repair laws on the books already, requiring that companies offer service for electronic devices for at least seven years. Maybe things will work out this time.

Update April 17th, 2019: Added proper photo attribution.