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The Right To Repair: Not An Easy Fix

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#1
Tractor hackers! Farmers turn to black market for illicit John Deere software needed to repair their equipment
  • Farmers forced to buy cracked tractor firmware from shady Ukraine dealers
  • Restrictive licensing agreements prohibit equipment owners from tampering
  • Make self-repairs all but impossible to perform without illegal download
  • Farmers in eight states clamor for new laws banning restrictive end user licenses
  • John Deere responds that only 'dealers and certified technicians' should repair
  • Legalization of tractor hacking could open up Apple, other devices, too


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4340070/Farmers-turn-black-market-John-Deere-software.html#ixzz4c5fnk4Ji
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Alton

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#2
And what did John Deere think would happen? Everybody would bend over and take one for the company?

Screw John Deere and any other farkin' company that claims rights in property that I or anyone else purchases! This BS came to y'all by way of Microsoft Windows. You can thank BillGatus of Borg
BillGatusofBorg.jpg


for this gem of twisted American law. You run windows on yer puter? Your puter is now property of the Redmond Mafia. This, boys and girls, is precisely why I dropped windows and embraced LINUX. My computer, MY software! I PAID FOR MINE so there could be NO mistakes or weasel worded, forked-tongue, slimy attorneys twisting words and phrases to confuse idiotic, myopic, idolatrous judges into legislating from the bench as to what property is and is not. Farkin scumsucking moronic cretins!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is EXACTLY the price of convenience. I can do bookkeeping, powerpoints, .doc s, spreadsheets, numerous databases, read my X-rays off disc, deal with ANY audio file...including .mp3, surf all over the interwebz, dip down into the darkweb, capture and contain worms, flash fry common computer virii, use a laser printer without it being raped. So what if there's little in the way of commercial software or US commercial support for Linux. The kind folks in Europe have done marvelous things in this department and certain US companies also support Linux.

You can also thank BillGatus of Borg for ALL kinds of wonderful things like human sterilization, multiple vaccines including Gardasil, and many medical marvels to to restrain and shrink the human population. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. At least, so he says...
 

oldgaranddad

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See where it it is getting Billy boy Gates. Microsoft still is bleeding market share as companies now port their servers to Linux and desktops to Apple. Companies that had a windows only solution are scrambling to port their software to other platforms or lose sales to open source competitors. Microsoft is a very distant 3rd with its Azure cloud compared to Amazon AWS and number two Google.
 

mayhem

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#4
Like Alton said, I only use Linux now. There isn't anything I can't do that I did with winders. Winders and Apple OS's are spyware, so don't rant about deep state if you use either one, as you are just feeding them every time you turn it on.
 
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This, ladies and gentlemen, is EXACTLY the price of convenience. I can do bookkeeping, powerpoints, .doc s, spreadsheets, numerous databases, read my X-rays off disc, deal with ANY audio file...including .mp3, surf all over the interwebz, dip down into the darkweb, capture and contain worms, flash fry common computer virii, use a laser printer without it being raped. So what if there's little in the way of commercial software or US commercial support for Linux. The kind folks in Europe have done marvelous things in this department and certain US companies also support Linux.
Wine? :D

Guess you gotta learn C to run you tractor now?
 

michael59

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#6
I get this one; hands down.

look these freaks think that the operating control shit is theirs. Stupid freaking mules will not pull so eye gots to hire an ex-soar-sits? umm, at 180 a call and 180 an hour? yeah... I'm thinking "no wonder they threw virgins into the volcano." hell let us just put babies under our buildings.
 

mayhem

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Wine? :D

Guess you gotta learn C to run you tractor now?
We would be amazed how many of today's farmers already know C, and other programming languages. All farming is done with computers now a days.

Edit: +100 on the Wine.
 

michael59

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We would be amazed how many of today's farmers already know C, and other programming languages. All farming is done with computers now a days.

Edit: +100 on the Wine.
NO. new equipment runs on this crap. new equipment pulls old plows, harrows, rollers and what ever else one can pull. dirt is dirt so...? how else can it be worked? oh yeah it needs a computer....NOT. yah don't need a new mule to pull the plow when an old one will do. Here is what is going on....

LAND VALUES land is worth more or is a choice piece of land then bank will give you a loan on it, And, if you are looking to purchase a tractor to move that dirt then bygollies you can get a loan for a new chuga-chuga, Not an old one because that thing has no resale value. FUNNY thing is you cant get a loan for what you drag behind the tractor. curious is it not?
 

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#10
Right to Repair: Not an easy fix

Mar 7, 2017 Kevin Jones | Fleet Owner




A year into the ‘landmark’ right-to-repair agreement designed to provide independent truck service centers the same diagnostics and repair information the dealer networks receive (ensuring that truck operators have service options as a result), both sides say that progress is being made—but there’s still a lot to be done before this ticket can be closed.

At issue has been just how much truck data the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) should provide to independent service centers and fleet shops. The vehicle makers have argued that they shouldn’t have to share proprietary performance information while the independents built a case that the practice made for an unfair marketplace: How could they repair a vehicle without it?

According to a 2010 survey by the American Trucking Assns.’ Technology and Maintenance Council, half of the fleets reported difficulty in getting the repair information they needed—and truck control systems have gotten even more complex since then.

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To address the matter—and to forestall state-by-state battles and patchwork legislation—the OEMs and independents (primarily represented by the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Assn. (EMA) and the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN), respectively) got together to work out a deal.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in September 2015, to take effect the following January, and Jed Mandel, EMA president, called it “a workable approach” to ensure “better and more timely access” to OEM-controlled repair information for the independent shops. Under the MOU, the independents agreed not to pursue additional right-to-repair legislation.

So, how’s it coming along?

“Based on my own observations, and member input, I believe that the MOU is working,” Mandel tells Fleet Owner. “Indeed, the universal feedback from EMA members is that they have not received any significant questions or complaints from independent service repair shops about access to information. Everyone has different systems. So, it is not surprising that the rollout—which is complex—is taking some time.”

Granted, the MOU was just “the first step in a long process” to provide parity in vehicle repair capability, as Marc Karon, a CVSN director and president of Total Truck Parts Inc., characterized it. He just didn’t fully grasp quite how long it would take, at the time.

“I think there’s a lot of impatience out there. And I’m personally a little disappointed it’s taken so long.
But it’s not that simple. It’s not a matter of flipping a switch.”

- Marc Karon, President of Total Truck Parts Inc.

“I think there’s a lot of impatience out there. And I’m personally a little disappointed it’s taken so long to do this,” he says. “Maybe I misunderstood, because I figured the software was already written—the dealers have it, so why can’t [the OEMs] just give it to us? But it’s not that simple. It’s not a matter of flipping a switch.”


Access to diagnostic data is critical to modern engine repair

The development of the heavy-duty vehicle MOU parallels right-to-repair proposals in the automotive sector. Essentially, the Clean Air Act required vehicles to have onboard computer systems to monitor vehicle emissions, and the OEMs had to provide independent shops the same emissions service information as they provided to the dealer service network. While legislation to broaden the scope of the service information to be shared—supported by independent repair and aftermarket trade groups and generally resisted by manufacturers and their dealers—was considered at the federal level as early as 2001, Massachusetts enacted the first Right to Repair bill in 2013. Auto industry interests got together for an MOU modeled on the Massachusetts law in 2014, and trucking followed a year later.


Details, details
Putting policy into practice has been challenging. Simply, each OEM’s repair system software is different. For example, if a manufacturer’s software is integrated into a broader dealer package, it has to create new software for independent service shops, Karon explains. Or, some manufacturers didn’t have a sales interface to make the package available.

“Every OEM has said they want to comply with MOU—it’s more or less getting the software written—but there’s been some confusion among the OEMs on what they really need to provide,” Karon says. “We have a great relationship with all the parties, and when we do get to talk to the OEMs, they’re very cooperative. And they have a lot of things going on in their business, too. It’s not up to me to set their priorities, or to say what software should be written first. It’s just going to take greater focus on everybody’s part. Nobody has said ‘we’re not going to do this.’”


Even after the software is delivered, there’s still the matter of verifying compliance with the MOU—and that means evaluating each package on real-world trucks. “Some super people have stepped up and tested the software,” Karon says.


The information gathered in testing has since been passed along to EMA and the sides are working out any compliance issues, Karon notes. And while the MOU does provide for an arbitrator to settle disputes, Karon anticipates any such disagreements will be worked out without having to go to arbitration.

Under the MOU, the National Automotive Service Task Force serves as the clearinghouse for the OEM software and as the designated “go-between” to bring questions from the service providers to the OEMs.

And to better implement the MOU and properly evaluate the OEM software packages, CVSN is forming an advisory group of service providers and fleet maintenance managers. “Any time a manufacturer comes out with something new, we have to vet it. It’s just becoming a very big project—and it’s one of the reasons we’re not further along,” Karon says. “We just didn’t have enough people.”

Karon made a pitch for volunteers at the recent Heavy-Duty Aftermarket Week event, and he’s following up with contacts from that show—but he’d still like more. He envisions quarterly conference calls to coordinate the efforts.

“We’re just asking for people to help us. If a guy has a Brand X truck in his shop and he has the software, he might alert us and ask what we need him to do or check to make sure the software works,” he says. “We can’t have too many people working on this. There’s so much software and, right now, so few people to actually evaluate it. We need the feedback to take to the OEMs.”


Nor is technician training progressing as quickly as Karon would’ve hoped—largely because techs can’t be trained on the OEM software until it’s ready to go. Additionally, since OEM training is not included in the MOU, those programs have to be developed. “People need to know how to use the software in order to get the most out of it,” Karon says.


Technician training also has not moved as fast as Karon had hoped. “ Since the MOU does not provide for technician training on the software, CVSN worked with technician training companies to develop specific training in diagnosis and use of OEM software, but few fleets and service shops have taken advantage of this to date.”

“As an industry, people are not investing in training as much as they should—and this isn’t unique to the MOU. But if you’re not taking advantage of this training—it’s very inexpensive—you’re missing a big opportunity.”

The good news is that the post-MOU transition has had little impact on diagnostic and repair tool providers, explains Tim Bigwood, COO for vehicle data experts Noregon. The company features the widely used JPRO Professional among its offerings and has for years worked directly with the OEMs and component suppliers to provide its comprehensive all-makes and models diagnostic tool.

“The tricky part is what data should be available and at what cost to the scan tool manufacturers,” Bigwood says. “Each OEM seems to have a different perspective on the data, ranging from minimal to all-encompassing, and costing ranges from minimal to very expensive. Unless there is some standardization on the available data and cost, we don’t see any major changes in the near future as [the MOU] relates to the scan tool manufacturers.”


On the other hand, the rising complexity of trucks—and the associated costs of diagnostic and repair tools and training—is creating an environment where only the largest fleets will be able to maintain their own repair shops, suggests Michael Riemer, vice president for Product & Channel Marketing at Decisiv, which specializes in service event management.


“You’re going to be more and more dependent on third parties to get the service that you need,” Riemer says. “It will be an interesting dilemma.”

Telematics
While telematics data is not part of the agreement, proprietary OEM systems can be problematic for fleets that run a mix of brands—and aftermarket providers are positioning themselves as a single-source solution. The keys will still be “fairness in the marketplace” and “restraint of trade,” CVSN’s Karon suggests.

“I’m not sure where telematics is going to wind up,” Karon says. “There could be some legislative effort in the future to make telematics more available, especially at the automotive level. The automotive providers will drive that, and that will then carry over to the heavy-duty side. But I’m not sure there’s going to be an issue, as long as fleets have an option on who they’re going to do business with.”

For Noregon’s Bigwood, the data that is currently accessible to the telematics service providers (TSPs) is adequate for the applications available today. Noregon’s TripVision, for example, allows for a comprehensive real-time view into a vehicle’s health and safety based upon the existing data feed from TSPs.

“As applications that require vehicle data such as over-the-air reprogramming and on-the-fly condition-based maintenance continue to evolve, TSPs will need to work closely in partnership with the OEMs to bring these products to market,” he says.


As truck diagnostics evolve, telematics service providers will need to work closely with OEMs to bring products to market, says Noregon’s Tim Bigwood.

But with “predictive analytics” widely predicted to be The Next Big Thing—and with vehicle performance and reliability seen as areas ripe for such technology—the distinction between what’s essential repair information and what’s not essential becomes less obvious.


“Predictive analytics is very interesting,” says Decisiv’s Riemer. “If I’m an OEM, and you send me back a turbo that’s not broken, but your algorithm said it was going to break soon, why would I do the warranty on that? There’s a Catch-22 on not only who can access the information, but what you can actually use it for.”

So while an OEM would be wise to invest in “condition-based” maintenance, or predictive repairs, it’s not clear that the OEM should be required to honor such a prediction from a third party, Riemer suggests.

“I’m generally in favor, in today’s world, of sharing as much information as possible. Trucks are commercial assets and are fairly complex pieces of machinery with lots of associated intellectual property—it’s not cars, or that’s the argument the truck OEMs make—so I’m not sure we’ll get to that same level of homogeneous access.”

Still, at least according to more than a few business presentation slide-decks, “information is the new currency,” and Riemer goes on to explain that as a company whose business is based on being a “connector”—of people and technology—Decisiv isn’t in a position to dictate “who should get what,” although he can see both sides of the argument.

“All I know, from our experience, is the more information you have at the point of service, the better, the faster, and the more reliable the repair process is,” Riemer says. “I’m sure there’s lots of information about that asset that’s not valuable for that service event, but the operational performance of that asset is absolutely critical to making the best decisions and the fastest diagnosis.

“The amount of that information is only going to increase, and the impact of that information is only going to increase. The question is, who’s going to get access to it and where does it apply? If it’s that valuable, I can imagine being very protective of it.”

http://fleetowner.com/equipment/rig...m=email&elq2=bb4292721a994f7dbf1c9d010308ec49
 

Professur

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#12
Semi owner/operators have an out ... the Glider. The factory supplies a brand new truck. Frame and cab. You buy and overhaul an older drive train .. engine/trans/drive axle. The two are mated, and the driver has all the comforts of a new truck .. but without the grief of DEF ... as far as the DOT is concerned, the vehicle manufacture date follows the drive train. Only Guess Where balks at granting them full rights to the road. I see no reason tractors can't follow the same plan.
 

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#13
Tractor Hacking: The Farmers Breaking Big Tech's Repair Monopoly
Motherboard


Published on Feb 1, 2018
When it comes to repair, farmers have always been self reliant. But the modernization of tractors and other farm equipment over the past few decades has left most farmers in the dust thanks to diagnostic software that large manufacturers hold a monopoly over.

In this episode of State of Repair, Motherboard goes to Nebraska to talk to the farmers and mechanics who are fighting large manufacturers like John Deere for the right to access the diagnostic software they need to repair their tractors.

WATCH NEXT: The Pinball Doctors, the Last Arcade Technicians in NYC - https://vice.video/2DRls2X

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#14
From 2016...........

How Hacking Is Advancing the World of Farming
Wall Street Journal


Published on Apr 19, 2016
Dwindling farm incomes and open-source software are inspiring homespun hackers, helping advance farming technology. Manitoba farmer Matt Reimer has created a tractor that drives itself. Photo: Tim Smith for The Wall Street Journal
 

searcher

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#15
Last year............

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware
Nev's Tech Bits


Published on Apr 8, 2017
Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/ar...

To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America's heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that's cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums.

Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform "unauthorized" repair on farm equipment, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.
 

nickndfl

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Wait until they start hacking self-driving cars. That's gonna be a mess when Haji messes up the machine language with a typo and causes a 15 car pile up on I-10.
 

southfork

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#17
Some Elevator companies in US have their own software built in so you cant switch service companies, it has to be reset every month and they hold you ransomed if you want to change companies for service they have to pay them over 10k for the software
 

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#18
The Rogue Tesla Mechanic Resurrecting Salvaged Cars
Motherboard



Published on Jul 27, 2018
Rich is a car enthusiast whose passion is to find wrecked Teslas, bring them back to life, and then share his repair adventures on his YouTube channel Rich Rebuilds.

When he found out that Tesla would not service or support his salvaged cars, he took it upon himself to scour the internet and harvest working parts from several busted Teslas. He Frankensteined them together until his creations were fully operational, at a fraction of what it would cost to buy a new or certified pre-owned Tesla.

Motherboard travels to Massachusetts to meet with the rogue mechanic leading a grassroots movement of DIY fixers who are taking back the right to repair the things they own.

Check out Rich's YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2BAD9Uc

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#19
US Copyright Office Advances Right to Repair: Victory for Consumers for Now

Posted on November 5, 2018 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

The US Copyright Office on October 25 issued a final rule that extended the right to repair, nationwide. The new framework went into effect virtually immediately, on October 28.

Many companies, including Apple and John Deere, have tried — and thus far largely succeeded — in thwarting customer attempts to repair products they have purchased, either by their own efforts or by using third-party services. (See these posts for further background: Right to Repair Redux: The Economist Gets with the Program, While Alas, Apple Continues to Lag; Four Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and…Repair ;Apple Battery Debacle: Yet Another Reason to Support a Right to Repair; US Copyright Office Wimps Out on Right to Repair; Supreme Court Lexmark Patent Decision A Win for State Right to Repair Legislation; Apple Spends Big to Thwart Right to Repair in New York and Elsewhere; Waste Not, Want Not: Right to Repair Laws on Agenda in Some States).

There new rule only covers ‘smartphones, home appliances, or home systems’ or ‘motorized land vehicles’ – meaning boats and airplanes are still excluded.

And as this post published by iFixit, one of the major entities pushing for the right to repair, made clear in Copyright Office Ruling Issues Sweeping Right to Repair Reforms, the rule is not a panacea, and further legislation by Congress will be necessary to create a robust right to repair. As an aside, I note this gives the anti-right-to repair Empire an opportunity to strike back, but at the moment, I won’t develop that thought. (Although when it happens– as I’m virtually certain it will – I promise readers an update.)

Over to iFixit:

the Copyright Office went as far as they could in granting access to the repair community. There are still significant limits, though, that will need to be addressed by Congress.​
One of those being the law against ‘trafficking’ in circumvention tools. From today’s filing, “limiting the exemption to individual owners threatens to render it effectively meaningless for those who lack the technical knowledge to access and manipulate increasingly complex embedded computer systems.” Now that circumvention is required to perform repairs, and most repairs benefit from tools, we need to open up a market for developing and selling those tools. Legislation like Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren’s Unlocking Technology Act would provide the clarity that tool developers need. It would also be helpful for service providers to codify the ability of third-parties to perform service.​

And, another problem, again as summarized by iFixit:

Nowadays, just about everything has software. Your ability to fix and maintain the products you own is contingent on being able to modify that software. But our tooling hasn’t kept up. For fear of prosecution, farmers and independent mechanics haven’t developed their own software tools to maintain their equipment. Now, they can.​
This ruling doesn’t make that tooling available to the public—we’re going to need actual Right to Repair legislation for that. But it does make it legal to make your own tools. And that’s a huge step in the right direction.​
Or, as Motherboard explains,In Groundbreaking Decision, Feds Say Hacking DRM to Fix Your Electronics Is Legal :

Specifically, [the new rule] allows breaking digital rights management (DRM) and embedded software locks for “the maintenance of a device or system … in order to make it work in accordance with its original specifications” or for “the repair of a device or system … to a state of working in accordance with its original specifications.”​
…​
“I read it as the ability to reset to factory settings,” Nathan Proctor, head of consumer rights group US PIRG’s right to repair efforts, told me in an email. “That’s pretty much what we’ve been asking for.”​
While this is a huge win on a federal level, this decision does nothing to address the practicalities of what consumers and independent repair professionals face in the real world. Anti-tampering and repair DRM implemented by manufacturers has gotten increasingly difficult to circumvent, and the decision doesn’t make DRM illegal, it just makes it legal for the owner of a device to bypass it for the purposes of repair.​
Despite these limitations, the new Copyright Office rule will allow consumers to repair their own devices– or turn them over to third parties. This means that consumers won’t necessarily have to pony up for a replacement– or lay out beaucoup bucks for manufacturers to repair a defect. The new rule promises to save consumers money- just how much, I cannot hazard a guess at this time.

For as Motherboard warns:

The Copyright Office decision also does nothing to address the many ways that manufacturers have monopolized repair that have nothing to do with copyright or software. Companies have made it difficult to acquire parts or repair tools needed to fix the things you own, and many companies have weaponized the Department of Homeland Security to crack down on grey market and aftermarket parts that are imported from places like China. Two prominent right to repair activists, Louis Rossmann and Jessa Jones, have had their Apple repair parts seized by customs in recent months.​
Another Benefit: Waste Reduction
Another obvious side benefit of the rule: waste reduction.

As regular readers know, I’ve written about the problem of waste before, not only in the context of the right to repair, but also about the issue of plastics fouling the environment.

This recent Citizen Truth post makes clear, Why E-Waste is so Dangerous and How the ‘Right to Repair’ Will Save the Environment, advancing the right to repair will reduce the generation of e-waste, estimated to comprise 50 tons in 2018 alone:

The costly expense of repairing many electronics has developed a throwaway culture where people just throw away appliances once they break down rather than fixing them. Others will just throw them away because a newer model with more enticing features has been released into the market. With no knowledge of how to properly dispose of these appliances, they just dump them, and this has led to a toxic pile of electronic waste.​
“E-waste is the next big environmental challenge in today’s digital society, a time bomb waiting to explode,” says Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, an officer with the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). “As recyclers struggle to deal with the growing amount of waste, our smartphones and white goods are buried in landfills or illegally exported to developing countries where they’re often treated in informal or dangerous conditions,” he added.​
E-waste harms human and animal health and also degrades the environment. Specifically, according to Citizen Truth:

  1. According to the United Nations, electronics with batteries or plugs such as mobile phones, laptops, TVs, fridges, electrical toys, etc. contain toxic chemicals such as lithium, mercury, lead, etc. which, if improperly disposed, can leak into the environment. Such chemicals are carcinogenic to humans.
  2. In the U.S., e-waste is not only the fastest growing stream of waste but also makes up 70 percent of all toxic waste in landfills all over the country. Sometimes e-waste is burnt, an unsafe method of disposal because it releases toxic gases into the air that can cause respiratory diseases.

What Is To Be Done
This doesn’t mean this war is over. Those forces that oppose a right to repair are undoubtedly exploring what they can do to get Congress to overturn the new rule. And, as I mentioned, the new rule isn’t a panacea, and further legislation would be necessary to move beyond the Copyright Office’s rule on what consumers can now do – and providing dissemination of necessary tools to create robust third party repair services.

In the interim, before any final Congressional action, state right to repair initiatives will remain important – and I promise another post, sometime soon, summarizing such initiatives, and letting readers know how they can help support their enactment.

I would mention that Gizmodo is even more underwhelmed by the Copyright Office decision, and also emphasizes the importance of pending state initiatives, as discussed in It’s Now Legal to Hack DRM to Repair Your Own Devices:

Practically speaking, the repercussions of this decision aren’t that big of a deal. Nathan Proctor leads consumer advocacy group US PIRG’s right to repair initiatives. He told Motherboard that his reading of the new rules essentially gives people the ability to restore their devices to the factory settings. Making modifications to the firmware is still prohibited and hackers are only allowed to break the DRM in order to bring the product back “to a state of working in accordance with its original specifications.”​
It’s a small victory. And the wider effort to get right to repair laws for hardware on the books in multiple states continues.​
But, for the time being, although it’s not perfect, the Copyright Office’s new rule is to be applauded – and, I would say, is somewhat unexpected, given the agency’s past actions (as I discussed in this post from last year, US Copyright Office Wimps Out on Right to Repair).

This entry was posted in Environment, Guest Post, Legal, Politics, Regulations and regulators on November 5, 2018 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/201...ances-right-repair-victory-consumers-now.html
 

searcher

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#20
Right to Repair Initiatives Gain Support in US

Posted on April 8, 2019 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Twenty US states have now teed up right to repair legislation, although no measure has been enacted so far.

Many consumers are annoyed to discover that although they may purchase an expensive electronics device, they either cannot repair it themselves or use a third party repair service, because of how manufacturers have designed the device itself, warranty restrictions, or lack of necessary equipment, parts, or diagnostic information. Ditto for farmers and farm equipment.

Yet support is building to mandate a right to repair, as I discussed earlier this year in Global Gains on Right to Repair. This would be welcome news for consumers, who would no longer be tethered to the original manufacturer of their electronics for repair. Consumers might choose then to opt for easier and cheaper repairs, rather than replacement. Farmers would likewise benefit.

Elizabeth Warren Endorses Right to Repair For Farm Tractors

Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren endorsed a right to repair for farm equipment, as one element in a March announcement of her comprehensive agricultural policy plan, Leveling the Playing Field for America’s Family Farmers,

For example, many farmers are forced to rely on authorized agents to repair their equipment. Companies have built diagnostic software into the equipment that prevents repairs without a code from an authorized agent. That leads to higher prices and costly delays.​
That’s ridiculous. Farmers should be able to repair their own equipment or choose between multiple repair shops. That’s why I strongly support a national right-to-repair lawthat empowers farmers to repair their equipment without going to an authorized agent. The national right-to-repair law should require manufacturers of farm equipment to make diagnostic tools, manuals, and other repair-related resources available to any individual or business, not just their own dealerships and authorized agents. This will not only allow individuals to fix their own equipment — reducing delays — but it will also create competition among dealers and independent repair shops, bringing down prices overall. [Jerri-Lynn here: original emphasis.]​
Warren’s plan would apply nationally, and if adopted, would force John Deere to change its business practices. This proposal is both smaller in scope than many state right to repair initiatives – as it’s limited to farm equipment only and doesn’t include consumer electronics – as well as broader – as it’s a national rather than a state-level measure.

Along with John Deere, Apple is a major opponent of right to repair initiatives, as are other electronics companies including Microsoft and Samsung.

Grey Lady Endorses Right to Repair

On Saturday, the New York Times editorial board endorsed a right to repair in It’s Your iPhone. Why Can’t You Fix It Yourself? Taking note of the Warren initiative, the editorial said her plan didn’t go far enough, and should include consumer electronics products rather than being restricted to farm equipment alone.

The NYT noted that it might not even be necessary to enact national legislation, given the number of pending state measures. The front-runner is a Minnesota bill, which is expected to reach the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives later this month.

Once one state enacts protections, manufacturers may decide to surrender completely – as they don’t want to follow one set of rules in some states, and others in others. Massachusetts enacted an auto repair law in 2012, and as the NYT recognized:

But solving the issue may not require national legislation. After Massachusetts passed its auto repair law in 2012, major carmakers agreed to nationalize those standards in a signed agreement with trade groups representing independent auto repair shops.​
I point out that in the area of clean air regulation, California’s tough state emissions standards became the de facto national standard, as automakers didn’t want to produce separate product lines for different states (see my previous post for more on this issue, Trump Regulators and California on Collision Course on Rolling Back Fuel Efficiency Standards).

The situation here isn’t identical – what’s being discussed is repair, not the product specifications per se. Yet once manufacturers have to comply with right to repair requirements in one state, it may be difficult if not impossible to maintain their existing restrictive repair policies in others.

Some consumers might very well opt to send their mobiles to states that enact a right to repair – e.g., Minnesota – for cheaper repair services rather than pay the manufacturer to repair the device closer to home. Or, as the NYT editorial notes, “Information and parts available in one state, after all, are effectively available in every state.”

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission is mulling the issue, and has scheduled a hearing in July on Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions. So there may very well be some national movement on this issue, in addition to the state proposals – regardless of what happens to the Warren proposal.

Apple Opposition, But Preparing for a Right to Repair?

Motherboard last month reported on leaked internal documents that suggest that Apple may be preparing for wider adoption of a right to repair, according to this report, Internal Documents Show Apple Is Capable of Implementing Right to Repair Legislation:

According to the presentation, titled “Apple Genuine Parts Repair” and dated April 2018, the company has begun to give some repair companies access to Apple diagnostic software, a wide variety of genuine Apple repair parts, repair training, and notably places no restrictions on the types of repairs that independent companies are allowed to do. The presentation notes that repair companies can “keep doing what you’re doing, with … Apple genuine parts, reliable parts supply, and Apple process and training.”​
This is, broadly speaking, what right to repair activists have been asking state legislators to require companies to offer for years.​

“This looks to me like a framework for complying with right to repair legislation,” Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit and a prominent member of the right to repair movement, told me on the phone. “Right now, they are only offering it to a few megachains, but it seems clear to me that it would be totally possible to comply with right to repair.”​

Reducing e-Waste

Looking at this from a waste perspective, the specialty publication Waste Dive in a report headlined Is right to repair finally having a national moment? highlighted that support is building to adopt a right to repair. Repairing rather than replacing devices would reduce e-waste:

Consumer device manufacturers have been strongly opposed to the concept for years, but Apple’s internal presentation indicates an ability — if not necessarily a willingness — to comply if legislation passes. Scaling up from hand-picked repair shops and operations to any interested party would certainly be a challenge, but one that many say is worth undertaking. Apple has talked about closing the loop and recycling electronics before, announcing in April 2017 that it wants to eventually use only recycled material in its manufacturing — although the company did not set a timeline for that ambitious goal.​

E-waste generation is growing quickly, and when electronics are not disposed of properly, they can damage the environment and cause risk to workers from fires or explosions. Without access to the right tools or diagnostics, however, it can be challenging to make the necessary changes to keep these devices in circulation or dismantle them for scrap. As a result, the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries has backed its own “right to reuse” policy.​
E-waste is a huge global problem, with more than 400,000 mobile phones and 140,000 computers discarded every day, worldwide, according to this recent Electronics Weekly account, UK No.2 For E-Waste Per Head, with China and the US topping the list for e-waste generated.

In the US, 25% of that waste is “recycled” – or so it is claimed. But as this Forbes account Recycling Is Not The Answer To The E-Waste Crisis makes clear, just as was the case until recently with plastics and other recyclables, what that really means is that America’s “recycled” e-waste was shipped abroad for processing:

What most don’t realize is that many “recyclers” actually just ship most of the e-waste abroad where, instead of being recycled, usable parts are repurposed and minerals are extracted. That doesn’t sound terrible, except that it comes at an enormous cost to local populations.​
Methods used are almost always improper — in some places, for example, gold is recovered by bathing circuit boards in nitric and hydrochloric acid, poisoning waterways, and after, whatever is not used is dumped in the ground improperly anyway. The current rate of responsible e-waste recycling is at an abysmal 15.5% worldwide.​
The root problem of course, is mass consumerism, combined with planned obsolescence and the short product cycle for consumer electronics. Over to Forbes again:

At the heart of the issue is a technology sector whose profits are driven by planned obsolescence. Until the industry finds a way to thrive without needlessly pumping out new electronics at the rate that it currently does — all the eco-design processes, recycling programs, and Liam-like innovations will remain symbolic at best, and sleight of hand, at worst.​
Extending the life of devices is far more effective than relying on the recycling fairy for reducingg the environmental impact of our collective tech addiction. Forbes again:

Only the extension of the life of the devices currently in circulation, through their maintenance, refurbishment, and reuse in one form or another, can have a meaningful effect on their environmental impact. Fighting for ease of repair — led by organizations like repair.org, or developing innovations such as the Fairphone are important pieces of the puzzle. Buying refurbished electronics in lieu of new is another.​
What Is To Be Done?

Waste management, particularly hazardous waste disposal, is a huge global problem. And recycling is not much of a solution – especially how it is currently carried out. I am well aware that enacting a right to repair in specific US states or even nationally isn’t going to make this problem disappear. But it may reduce some of the scale of the problem – as well as having the added benefit of reducing the costs consumers must pay when their devices fail to get them up and running again.

US PIRG (US Public Interest Research Group) is coordinating action in support of state right to repair initiatives. So I include a link for readers who are interested in learning more about this issue and those efforts.

This entry was posted in Banana republic, Doomsday scenarios, Environment, Guest Post, Politics, Regulations and regulators, Ridiculously obvious scams on April 8, 2019 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/04/right-to-repair-initiatives-gain-support-us.html
 

DodgebyDave

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#21
Aircraft are already hacked.......
 

Alton

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#22
Some Elevator companies in US have their own software built in so you cant switch service companies, it has to be reset every month and they hold you ransomed if you want to change companies for service they have to pay them over 10k for the software
Farkin' legal EXTORTION!