The California State Government passed a landmark law that requires technology companies to provide parts and manuals for repairing smartphones for seven years after their market release.
California, which is known for having many headquarters of American technological hardware and software, became the third state to pass the colloquially-named “right to repair” legislation after Senate Bill 244 passed 65-0 in the Assembly and 38-0 in the Senate.
The bill guarantees consumers’ rights to replacement parts for three years for devices that cost between $50 and $99 and seven years for devices that cost more than $100. The bill will retroactively affect devices that were made and sold in 2021.
“Accessible, affordable, widely repair benefits everyone,” said Kyle Wiens, the CEO of advocacy group iFixit, in a statement. “We’re especially thrilled to see this bill pass in the state where iFixit is headquartered, which also happens to be Big Tech’s backyard. Since Right to Repair can pass here, expect it to be on its way to a backyard near you.”
FTC reintroduces Net Neutrality
Large manufacturers such as John Deere and Apple have, in the past, been heavily against right-to-repair legislation for two reasons. First because it allows them to corner the repair and maintenance markets, and second, it protects their intellectual property and trade secrets from knock-offs or competition.
The right-to-repair legislation is also about keeping easily fixable devices out of landfills. As a result of repairing modern electronics being so difficult most people throw them away, causing them to end up in landfills, causing “E-waste,” which could cause a catastrophic environmental problem as they do not biodegrade, and recycling them requires dismantling.
According to Good News Network, Wiens noted that the bill isn’t perfect as it doesn't cut back on parts pairing, meaning hardware such as a battery is linked to a software ID from the device it came from, making certain features to not be available if repaired with a replacement outside of the original manufacturer.
However, Wien also stated in the statement that he believes the California bill is a watershed that will cause a landslide of this legislation to come in the near future.