What is ‘Right to Repair’?

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    In News

    • Recenlty, Apple announced an official program enabling customers to repair their iPhones with Apple-certified components and parts.

    Background

    • Recently, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling on the Federal Trade Commission to curb restrictions imposed by manufacturers that limit consumers’ ability to repair their gadgets on their own terms.
    • The UK too introduced a right-to-repair law that makes it easier for people to buy and repair everyday-use gadgets.

    Right to Repair

    • The Right to Repair electronics refers to government legislation that is intended to allow consumers the ability to repair and modify their own consumer electronic devices, whereas otherwise the manufacturer of such devices require the consumer to use only their offered services.
    • The idea originally originated from the USA where the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act 2012, required the manufacturers to provide the necessary documents and information to allow anyone to repair their vehicles.

    Significance

    • Boost business for small repair shops, which are an important part of local economies.
    • It will help reduce the vast mountain of electrical waste (e-waste) that piles up each year on the continent.
    • It will save consumers’ money.
    • It will contribute to the circular economy. 

    Oppostion from Tech Giants

    • Opening up their intellectual property to third-party repair services or amateur repairers could lead to exploitation and impact the safety and security of their devices.
      • Also, this will put a hindrance to their sales as people will no longer have to ‘upgrade’ their devices every couple of years.
      • This could lead to more e-waste generation.

    Source: ET