The Fight for the “Right to Repair”

There are too many devices today that are intentionally made unrepairable by the owner – trying to repair can be even illegal. We should have right to repair or even modify things we own.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jason Koebler / Motherboard:
    Nebraska state senator warns that Apple is opposing the state’s proposed “right to repair” bill; similar bills are making their way through 7 other states — Apple is inventing new and interesting arguments to prevent you from fixing your iPhone: It’s lobbying Nebraska lawmakers to kill …

    Apple Tells Lawmaker that Right to Repair iPhones Will Turn Nebraska Into a ‘Mecca’ for Hackers

    Inside Apple’s absurd lobbying strategy.

    Apple is inventing new and interesting arguments to prevent you from fixing your iPhone: It’s lobbying Nebraska lawmakers to kill “right to repair” legislation, telling them unauthorized repair will turn the state into a “mecca” for hackers.

    Right to repair bills, which are currently making their way through eight states (Nebraska, New York, Tennessee, Wyoming, Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, and Massachusetts), would require electronics manufacturers to make repair parts and diagnostic and repair manuals available to independent repair professionals and consumers, not just “authorized” repair companies. Electronics right to repair legislation is modeled on a 2012 Massachusetts law that preserved the right to repair cars.

    The most logical reason for manufacturers to oppose the bills is that it would democratize the repair economy, making it possible for consumers to fix their own things and cutting into the profits of repairs done at, for example, the Apple store.

    “They said that doing this would make it very easy for hackers to relocate to Nebraska.”

    “Apple said we would be the only state that would pass this, and that we would become the mecca for bad actors,”

    Brasch said the representatives made two other main arguments: They said repair could cause lithium batteries to catch fire, and said that there are already enough authorized places to get iPhones repaired, such as the Apple store.

    “When you’re talking about safety, there’s a greater chance I’ll fall down and hit my head. I told them until you have an app that defies gravity, I don’t think we have to worry about safety. There’s always a risk and there’s always a disclaimer,”

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

    Tractor owners across the country are reportedly hacking their John Deere tractors using firmware that’s cracked in Easter Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums. The reason is because John Deere and other manufacturers have “made it impossible to perform ‘unauthorized’ repair on farm equipment,” which has obviously upset many farmers who see it “as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time,” reports Jason Koebler via Motherboard.

    A license agreement John Deere required farmers to sign in October forbids nearly all repair and modification to farming equipment, and prevents farmers from suing for “crop loss, lost profits, loss of goodwill, loss of use of equipment [...] arising from the performance or non-performance of any aspect of the software.”

    Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware
    A dive into the thriving black market of John Deere tractor hacking.

    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.

    “When crunch time comes and we break down, chances are we don’t have time to wait for a dealership employee to show up and fix it,” Danny Kluthe, a hog farmer in Nebraska, told his state legislature earlier this month. “Most all the new equipment [requires] a download [to fix].”

    The nightmare scenario, and a fear I heard expressed over and over again in talking with farmers, is that John Deere could remotely shut down a tractor and there wouldn’t be anything a farmer could do about it.

    “What you’ve got is technicians running around here with cracked Ukrainian John Deere software that they bought off the black market”

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jason Koebler / Motherboard:
    Lobbying records in New York state show Apple, Verizon, and tech trade orgs oppose the Fair Repair Act that would prohibit software locks that restrict repairs

    Apple Is Lobbying Against Your Right to Repair iPhones, New York State Records Confirm

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The European Parliament believes that the Commission, EU countries and manufacturers of goods should ensure that only products that can be easily repaired and upgraded are available to consumers. Especially electronics, mobile phones and software are now in the focus.

    Members of the European Parliament want goods and software to be easier to repair or upgrade. They called for the EU to intervene in intentional short service life and to offer spare parts to consumers more economically.

    According to reports from the EU a couple of years ago, 77% of consumers in the EU would prefer old products instead of buying new ones. According to MEPs, new “Minimum Standards for Sustainability” should be introduced for product groups from design.

    In Parliament, French Green Pascal Durand said: “We must make all the products sold to be repaired. We need to make sure that batteries or batteries are no longer glued to the product but fixed so that the phone does not have to be discarded when its battery stops working ‘

    The European Parliament asks the Commission to consider a ‘voluntary European label’, which should make it clear, in particular, how product is sustainable, ecologically designed, able to change parts through technological development and product remediation.



  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Bit Of Mainstream Coverage For The Right To Repair

    Entitled “A ‘right to repair’ movement tools up“, it lays out the issues and introduces the Repair Association, a political lobby group that campaigns for “Right to repair” laws in the individual states of the USA.

    You might now be asking why this is important, why are we telling you something you already know? The answer lies in the publication in which it appears. The Economist is aimed at politicians and influencers worldwide. In other words, when we here at Hackaday talk about the right to repair, we’re preaching to the choir. When they do it at the Economist, they’re preaching to the crowd who can make a difference. And that’s important.

    If it’s broken, you can’t fix it
    A “right to repair” movement tools up

    From tractors to smartphones, mending things is getting ever harder

    AS DEVICES go, smartphones and tractors are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. And an owner of a chain of mobile-device repair shops and a farmer of corn and soyabeans do not usually have much in common. But Jason DeWater and Guy Mills are upset for the same reason. “Even we can no longer fix the home button of an iPhone,” says Mr DeWater, a former musician who has turned his hobby of tinkering into a business based in Omaha, Nebraska. “If we had a problem with our John Deere, we could fix it ourselves. No longer,” explains Mr Mills whose farm in Ansley, a three-hour drive to the west, spreads over nearly 4,000 acres.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why We Must Fight for the Right to Repair Our Electronics

    The Consumer Technology Association estimated that residents of the United States bought 183 million smartphones in 2016. There are already as many TVs in this country as there are people. That’s a lot of electronics, and these numbers are just going up.

    On balance, all this technology is probably making our lives better. But there’s a downside, too: The stuff often malfunctions. Unlike the 30-year-old mixer on your kitchen counter that refuses to die, new technology—especially the smart devices with fancy, embedded electronics—breaks more quickly. That trend, confirmed by a recent study by the German government

    Manufacturers would prefer to sell you their latest models rather than repair your old electronics, so they work to make fixing their products too expensive or too impractical. It’s a global problem

    Tossing things out instead of fixing them has far-reaching consequences—for consumers, for the economy, and for the environment. Indeed, a future in which nothing ever gets repaired isn’t bright for anyone except the people trying to sell you new products. And many of us are not prepared to accept that future without a fight.

    In 2013, a group of concerned consumers, recyclers, refurbishers, environmentalists, digital-rights advocates, and repair specialists in the United States teamed up to found

    Over the past few years, this battle has been heating up. In 2017, twelve states introduced “right to repair” legislation that would make it easier for consumers to fix broken digital equipment. With grassroots support, is leading the charge to turn these bills into laws.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Apple SUES iPhone screen repair shop and LOSES!

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Do You Have a Right To Repair Your Phone? The Fight Between Big Tech and Consumers

    Eric Lundgren got 15 months in prison for selling pirated Microsoft software that the tech giant gives away for free. His case cuts to the heart of a major battle going on in the tech industry today: Companies are trying to preserve aspects of U.S. copyright law that give them enormous power over the products we own.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    An increasing number of companies are taking steps to make it illegal to repair our own electronics outside of the manufacturer. Why are they doing this and what does it mean for your devices? via Quartz

    Why are companies trying to make it illegal to repair our electronic devices?

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Woo hoo!!! right to repair! #ftw

    Industry “experts” say it’s now too dangerous to fix any equipment if you do not have the proper tools/safety equipment

    How did those people from the 60/70s/80s ‘s survive the repair apocalypse?


  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    DMCA-Locked Tractors Make Decades-Old Machines The New Hotness

    It’s fair to say that the hearts and minds of Hackaday readers lie closer to the technology centres of Shenzhen or Silicon Valley than they do to the soybean fields of Minnesota. The common link is the desire to actually own the hardware we buy. Among those working the soil there has been a surge in demand (and consequently a huge price rise) in 40-year-old tractors.

    For tech-weary Midwest farmers, 40-year-old tractors now a hot commodity
    Tractors built in 1980 or earlier cause bidding wars at auctions.

    But when he last bought a new tractor, he opted for an old one — a 1979 John Deere 4440.

    He retrofitted it with automatic steering guided by satellite, and he and his kids can use the tractor to feed cows, plant fields and run a grain auger. The best thing? The tractor cost $18,000, compared to upward of $150,000 for a new tractor. And Folland doesn’t need a computer to repair it.

    “This is still a really good tractor,” said Folland, who owns two other tractors built before 1982.

    “They cost a fraction of the price, and then the operating costs are much less because they’re so much easier to fix,” he said.

    Tractors manufactured in the late 1970s and 1980s are some of the hottest items in farm auctions across the Midwest these days — and it’s not because they’re antiques.

    Cost-conscious farmers are looking for bargains, and tractors from that era are well-built and totally functional, and aren’t as complicated or expensive to repair as more recent models that run on sophisticated software.

    “There’s an affinity factor if you grew up around these tractors, but it goes way beyond that,” Peterson said. “These things, they’re basically bulletproof. You can put 15,000 hours on it and if something breaks you can just replace it.”

    “Those older tractors that had good care and good maintenance, that’s good property,”

    The tractors have enough horsepower to do anything most farmers need, and even at a record price like the $61,000 the tractor in Bingham Lake fetched, they’re a bargain compared to what a farmer would pay for a newer tractor with similar horsepower.

    The other big draw of the older tractors is their lack of complex technology. Farmers prefer to fix what they can on the spot, or take it to their mechanic and not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars.

    “The newer machines, any time something breaks, you’ve got to have a computer to fix it,” Stock said.

    There are some good things about the software in newer machines, said Peterson. The dealer will get a warning if something is about to break and can contact the farmer ahead of time to nip the problem in the bud. But if something does break, the farmer is powerless, stuck in the field waiting for a service truck from the dealership to come out to their farm and charge up to $150 per hour for labor.

    “That goes against the pride of ownership, plus your lifetime of skills you’ve built up being able to fix things,” Peterson said.

    The cheaper repairs for an older tractor mean their life cycle can be extended. A new motor or transmission may cost $10,000 to $15,000, and then a tractor could be good for another 10 or 15 years.

    “An expensive repair would be $15,000 to $20,000, but you’re still well below the cost of buying a new tractor that’s $150,000 to $250,000. It’s still a fraction of the cost,”

    He also said the modifications to newer diesel engines on tractors can cause mechanical problems, and the carbon footprint of an older tractor can be mitigated by using biodiesel, which is produced from soybeans grown in Minnesota and extends the life of an engine because it includes better lubricants than conventional diesel fuel.

    Combine all that with nostalgia for the tractors of a farmer’s youth, and 30- or 40-year-old tractors are in high demand.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Farmers Are Buying 40-Year-Old Tractors Because They’re Actually Repairable

    John Deere makes it difficult to repair its new tractors without specialized software, so an increasing number of farmers are buying older models.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Louis Rossmann Right to Repair testimony in Washington SB 5799

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    CompTIA, A+ cert org lobbies AGAINST right to repair bill.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Rather than burden individuals with enhanced rights and duties for repair and maintenance of our devices, G. Pascal Zachary suggests we demand that makers of digitally-controlled stuff make repairs at fair prices, quickly and reliably.

    What the Right To Repair Movement Gets Wrong

    Today repair remains an option, one that makers want to monopolize or eliminate. Apple, the world’s most valuable company, is the worst offender, effectively forbidding owners to repair or maintain their smart phones. Not even the battery is replaceable by an owner. Forbidden also are repairs by owners of cracked screens. Such brazen actions void Apple’s warranty.

    Seated at my table, working with tiny tools, he swapped my broken screen for a new one. I slipped him $90 in cash, and he left.

    Sound tawdry? The nationwide campaign, led by Repair.Org, agrees, which is why Repair.Org supports legislation in at least 20 states to promote “your right to repair,” by requiring manufacturers “to share the information necessary for repair.”

    Long before the advent of the repair campaign, and a related movement called the Maintainers, there were loud critics of “planned obsolescence.” During Depression-era America, an influential book published 1932 advocated “creative waste”—the idea that throwing things away and buying new things can fuel a strong economy.

    Manufacturers purposely made stuff that broke or wore out, so consumers would have to buy the stuff again. Echoes of this practice persist. In shopping for new tires, for instance, drivers pay more for those “rated” to last longer.

    The big threat to devices today isn’t failure, but rather “creative destruction,” or the new advent of new and improved stuff. Who needs to think about repairs when we are dazzled by the latest “upgrade.”

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    But DIY maintenance is not for everybody or appropriate for every situation. Nor does it inevitably produce greater “caring.” Results vary. Quality can suffer. While a person’s self-esteem may rise with every home improvement they carry out, the value of their home may decline as a result (because of the quality of the DIY fixes). I favor a simple rule: encourage consumers to repair if they wish but not insist on self-repair under every circumstance, and leave the option that original makers of complex devices will repair them the best (Tesla owners, take heed!)

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Farmers Fight John Deere Over Who Gets to Fix an $800,000 Tractor
    The right-to-repair movement has come to the heartland, where some farmers are demanding access to the software that runs their equipment.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    This is a legitimate reason for hacking. When you can’t even fix or modify your own hardware after your bought it.

    Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors Because of a Repair Ban

    Julkaistu 3.3.2020

    As of 2020, no right to repair law has passed in the US. But more than 20 states are considering legislation similar to Nebraska’s, and Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both supported national right to repair legislation for farmers.

    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, we go 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.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tractor-Hacking Farmers Take on John Deere

    These tractor-hacking farmers are fighting for the right to repair their own equipment.

    Tractor hacking is a fast-growing trend in the farming community — but it’s not outsiders breaking in. Farmers themselves are hacking their own equipment for reasons that go far beyond agriculture. They’re part of a larger movement against big-name companies that are withholding the right to make equipment repairs.

    While farming is an ancient practice, farmers are hardly immune to technological advancements. In fact, farmers are among the most susceptible groups when it comes to software propriety, as much of the equipment used on farms requires consistent maintenance.

    Companies like John Deere have made it impossible for farmers to perform “unauthorized” repairs on their equipment, forcing tractor owners into using the parent company for repairs, which can be more costly.

    Farmers view this corporate strategy as an infringement on their sovereignty to make strategic decisions about their hard assets. In some cases, this system can function as a threat to their livelihood, should they encounter an ill-timed tractor breakdown.

    That’s why many farmers have turned to tractor hacking, in an attempt to return the right to repair back to the consumer rather than large corporations.

    They’re part of a larger movement against big-name companies that are withholding the right to make equipment repairs.


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