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Current Affairs

Right to repair movement

Date: 13 July 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

US President Biden has signed an order allowing users to repair their own devices by removing restrictions imposed by manufacturers.

 

Background

As electronics gadgets start experiencing problems due to glitches, users are usually left at the mercy of manufacturers, who decide repairing entities.

 

Details

  • The right of an individual to repair their own device has been propagated by ‘right to repair’ movement across the globe.

  • The move has however faced resistance from top manufacturers such as Microsoft and Apple. They want to dictate who can repair and who cannot.

  • Other countries such as UK have introduced similar laws that will allow users to buy and repair daily use goods such as washing machines and TVs.

 

The movement

  • The movement started during the 1950s when computer era was just beginning. People wanted more rights to repair their own goods.

  • The movement also wants companies to make spare parts, tools and instructions of repairing available with customers and repair shops to prevent goods from getting dumped.

  • The supporters say that goods are designed purposefully to last for a small period of time so that customers are obliged to buy newer ones soon.

 

Problems

  • The manufacturing of goods process is highly polluting as it increases fossil fuel consumption and has adverse impact on environment.

  • As demand increases, new materials have to be mined. They result in exploitation of humans and also natural resources.

 

Benefits of right to repair

It will provide employment for small-time repair shops. More goods can be sold in spare parts than the whole device.

 

Concerns

  • Companies say that right to repair will expose their intellectual property to individuals, who can misuse it for profits.

  • There are also issues such as incompetence of repairing individuals, who may spoil the device and also reputation of company.