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Radio News: Hochul signs right-to-repair law

Jan 02, 2023 11:40 pm

Andrew Cunningham reports at ARS Technica that New York Governor Kathy Hochul did sign the The Digital Fair Repair Act before the Dec. 29 deadline, making it the first right-to-repair bill in the nation. For years, consumers, if they want new electronic devices, have been forced to buy them with no way to fix them without involving the company that made the product, The new law requires companies to provide the same diagnostic tools, repair manuals, and spare parts to the public that they make available to their own repair technicians. Hochul made a few changes, weakening the bill before signing, on "technical issues that could put safety and security at risk, as well as heighten the risk of injury from physical repair projects.... I am pleased to have reached an agreement with the legislature to address these issues," Hochul wrote. The law will not affect any electronic device anyone currently owns. Instead, only devices manufactured and sold in New York on or after July 1, 2023 will be required to meet the law's requirements. And only the public, not businesses or the government, will benefit from the law as "business-to-business" and "business-to-government" equipment that isn't sold to consumers is excluded from the law. Even with all the exceptions, consumer advocates are crowing. “This is a huge victory for consumers and a major step forward for the right to repair movement," wrote iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens. "New York has set a precedent for other states to follow, and I hope to see more states passing similar legislation in the near future.” Still activist Louis Rossmann explained how bad the changes to the bill are for consumers. "It getting passed without being tainted or screwed with would actually be good for society, and that's not something that [the] New York state government is going to allow to happen," Rossmann said. Read the full story at ARS Technica.