Fight to Repair Daily: Friday, September 2, 2022

EU close to mandating smartphone minimum lifetimes

The EU is closer to implementing “circular economy” requirements that would require smartphones be supported for at least five years, including for security updates.

The move is opposed by Digital Europe, a lobby representing tech manufacturers.

If the regulation takes effect, it would probably benefit customers worldwide, with fifteen components listed to be made available “to professional repairers”.

They include the battery, the back cover, display, camera assemblies, audio and charge ports, mechanical buttons, microphones and speakers, hinges or folding mechanisms, protective foils, chargers, and SIM/memory trays with external slots. (

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Resistance is Futile: Stop Opposing A Right to Repair Automobiles

Instead of spending millions of dollars trying to defeat right-to-repair laws, automakers should save their money, says global research and consulting firm Ducker Carlisle.

State laws, and eventually a national one, inevitably will be approved by voters, a Ducker Carlisle survey shows. But the firm’s research also found dealerships may not lose customers, as most have assumed. And any defections would not be because of right-to-repair laws.

Ducker Carlisle conducted a consumer sentiment survey of 2,147 vehicle owners, giving a third of those surveyed the “pro-right-to-repair” definition used by those championing various state bills. Another third was supplied the “anti-right-to-repair definition” used by automakers in their lobbying efforts; the final third had a neutral definition provided by Wikipedia.

Overall, 59 percent said they would vote yes to approve right to repair, but when nonvoters were taken out of the equation, the “yes” vote jumped above 80 percent, Chenenko said.

“Even when we look at the people who saw just the [anti-right-to-repair] message, only 21 percent of them voted no,” Chenenko said. “OEMs are going to lose. This is important for them to realize; they spend tens of millions of dollars a year lobbying for this.” (

Security Weekly Podcast digs into Right to Repair founder Paul Roberts joined the guys on Security Weekly podcast to talk about the fight for the right to repair and debunk cybersecurity arguments against right to repair laws. Check it out!

Liberté! Égalité! Tracteur! Free the tractor movement gains steam.

The smart tractor is one of the thousands of machines and tools that have come to offer an additional layer of software on top of their traditional functions. By maintaining control over that software, manufacturers are given power to our devices long after they are purchased.

Hacking tractor software is the latest example of the fight against this power, known as the ‘right to repair’ movement. Driven by consumer rights and environmental concerns, it is a movement that is gaining momentum around the world. But our research shows that power remains firmly in the hands of manufacturers – for now.

Owners of smart or ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) devices – from smartphones to Internet-connected coffee makers – may experience similar frustrations to owners of John Deere tractors.

To encourage customers to buy their latest devices, some tech firms effectively discontinued older models and rolled back the digital support services that keep them up and running. Smart speaker company Sonos was forced to backtrack after criticism of its plans to phase out its older speakers this way in 2020. In an open letter addressing customer outrage, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence acknowledged that “we didn’t get this right from the start”. (The Conversation)

Fewer US tractor dealerships raise costs for farmers as sector consolidates

Reuters reports this week on the problem of dealer consolidation in the agricultural equipment space, following a US PIRG report showing that the practice is raising costs for farmers.

Buyouts of local mom-and-pop dealers have reduced farmers’ options for purchasing machinery and repairing aging equipment, Reuters reports.

Just two dealer groups, Ag-Pro and Titan Machinery, own the bulk of stores in North America selling farm equipment made by Deere — the largest U.S. farm equipment maker — and CNH Industrial, according to Ag-Pro and Titan Machinery websites.

Larger dealers’ pursuit of regional dominance began in the 1980s. Merger momentum increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, when supply chain snarls limited parts and labor available and smaller dealers were unable to compete with larger rivals, said John Schmeiser, chief operating officer of the North American Equipment Dealers Association, a trade group. (Reuters)

Toxins in old toys an obstacle to re-use

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg have recently published an article in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances which shows that old toys and dress-up items may contain toxic chemicals that can cause cancer, damage DNA or disrupt the future reproductive capacities of children.

The hazardous chemicals that were discovered included phthalates and short chain chlorinated paraffins used as plasticizers and flame retardants in toys.

Professor Bethanie Carney Almroth at the University of Gothenburg conducts research on the environmental impact of plastics and plastic-related chemicals, and has led the research study conducted at the interdisciplinary Center for Future Chemical Risk Assessment and Management Strategies (FRAM). For the study, researchers selected 157 different toys, new and old, and measured their chemical content.

The study showed that most of the older toys and items (84%) contained quantities of chemicals that exceed current legal limits. A total of 30% of the newer toys and items also exceeded the legal limits. By far however, the older toys were significantly worse. (

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