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Viewpoint: Right to Repair Amendment Not Necessary

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July 31, 2020—A revision to Massachusetts’ Right to Repair law is question no. 1 on the ballot for the state’s voters this November.

The revision would include telematics information to be accessible by independent repairers via a standardized platform. The original law, which was finalized in 2013, exempted telematics data from being made accessible to all repairers. That included “remote diagnostics.”

Aftermarket and independent repair organizations like the Auto Care Association have been the biggest boosters of the revision, saying that it would put independent shops on an even playing field with dealerships as more vehicle information becomes part of the wireless telematics ecosystem. 

An organization called the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data formed to oppose the measure. Ratchet+Wrench interviewed a spokesman from the group.

“Why does Right to Repair need to be changed? You make a law if there’s a problem, you don’t make it based on a hypothetical coming down the road,” Conor Yunits, spokesperson for the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data said to Ratchet+Wrench of “Question 1,” which will appear on the November Massachusetts ballot. 

According to Yunits, there is nothing in the law that prevents auto repair shops from accessing the information that they need. Changing the law, as it currently is, gives people access to data from consumers that they do not need. 

“There is Tremendous risks, and in search of what problem?” Yunits says. 

The coalition has no problem with the Right to Repair Law as it currently stands and has been working quite effectively, according to Yunits. 

“There is no proof that this [the information requested] is not available to auto repair shops,” Yunits says. 

And, for independent repair shops that feel they do not have access to information, there is an appeal process in place, Yunits says, so there should be no real issue with the law as it currently stands. 

The new law, however, opens up a can of worms for consumers privacy, personal safety and cybersecurity issues, as this amendment would open up the potential for increased hacking. There is no language in the new law about protecting data or who the gatekeepers of that data will be, which makes it incredibly dangerous and allows for malicious usage of the data, Yunits says. 

July 1 was the last day to prevent the question from reaching the ballot, so it will be on there, but the coalition is spreading awareness about the possible concerns. 

“We will do everything in our power to stop it—to defeat it,” Yunits says of Question 1 on the November Ballot. 

Where do you stand? Do you agree? Let us know your stance on the Right to Repair, as it stands today, and email TCollins@10missions.com.

 

  

 

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