Your right to repair matters. When you repair a device, you can keep using it, rather than needing to throw it away—creating waste—and purchasing a new one, which uses even more resources. A right to repair creates a market for independent repair shops, encouraging competition between manufacturers and independent businesses, which benefits consumers (like you!). It rewards curiosity and means more people have a greater understanding of the technology in their lives. A right to repair empowers you to make determinations about your own needs and how to best meet them.
The EFF fights for your right to repair, but we’re not the only ones working hard. The successes we have to celebrate from 2022 come from collaborations with many people working on everything from legislation to education.
Thanks to the hard work of legislative activists, policy makers, and everyday activists, the New York State legislature passed the Digital Fair Repair Act (A7006-B/S.4104-A), proposed by Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and Senator Neil Breslin. It was supported by the Repair Coalition. This landmark legislation requires manufacturers to sell parts and special tools at “fair and reasonable terms'' to users and third-party repair technicians. Manufacturers are also required to provide access to repair information, software, and the ability to apply firmware patches. New York's bill comes after a narrow success in Colorado for wheelchair users, and a loss in California.
However, as of writing this, New York Governor Kathy Hochul still has not signed the Digital Fair Repair Act into law. We hope she will do the right thing and encourage New Yorkers to contact her.
We recognized the work of Kyle Wiens by giving him this year’s EFF Award for Right to Repair Advocacy. In addition to amazing advocacy work, Wiens has been running the website iFixIt since 2003, providing a home for the users and activists in the right to repair movement to share guides on how to repair everything.
Right to Repair advocate Adam Savage, known for his shows MythBusters and Savage Builds, joined the EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien on our podcast, How to Fix the Internet. In this episode, "Making Hope," they discussed creating a world built on collaboration and creativity.
We celebrated Copyright Week at the EFF with a post from legislative activist Hayley Tsukayama on Right to Repair and how copyright law gets in the way. We also continue to litigate the ongoing EFF case Green v. U.S. Department of Justice, which has the potential to enhance the right to repair by eliminating a law saying you’re not allowed to look at the code in your own devices if there’s an access control technology you’d have to bypass. Our allies detail the lawsuit’s implications for the right to repair in a supporting amicus brief.
Thank you to everyone who signed a letter, went to a meeting, shared a repair guide, talked with a friend, or otherwise helped advance the right to repair this past year! We will continue to work towards a right to repair and look forward to seeing what we accomplish together in 2023.
This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2022.