Right to Repair Movement – UPSC GS3

  • The right to repair movement is gaining traction in developed countries, including the US and U.K.
  • US via an executive order, has lifted restrictions imposed by manufacturers that limit consumers’ ability to repair their gadgets on their own terms.
  • The UK, too, introduced right-to-repair rules that should make it much easier to buy and repair daily-use gadgets such as TVs and washing machines.
  • European Union’s right to repair laws require manufacturers to ensure that electronic goods can be repaired for up to a decade.
About Right to Repair Movement:
  • It is a movement to give every consumer the right to repair their own electronics and other products.
  • The movement traces its roots back to the very dawn of the computer era in the 1950s.
  • The supporters of the movement argue that electronic manufacturers are encouraging a culture of ‘planned obsolescence’.
  • This means that devices are designed specifically to last a limited amount of time and to be replaced.
  • This leads to immense pressure on the environment and wastage of natural resources, as manufacturing an electronic device is a highly polluting process.
  • It makes use of polluting sources of energy, such as fossil fuel, which has an adverse impact on the environment.
  • To prevent customer’s reliance on restricted and expensive authorized retailers for repairing their obsolete devices.
  • To induce the manufacturers to make durable and long-lasting devices.
  • Also, to prevent faster dumping of electronic devices into the landfill and encouraging judicious use of resources for environment protection.
  • To boost business for small repair shops, which are an important part of local economies. If a manufacturer has a monopoly on repairs, then prices rise exponentially and quality tends to drop.
But why do electronic manufacturers oppose this movement?
  • Large tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Tesla, have been lobbying against the right to repair.
  • They argue that opening up their intellectual property to third-party repair services or amateur repairers could lead to exploitation. It will impact the safety and security of their devices.
  • These companies are constantly claiming that they are working towards greater durability themselves.
  • This year, Apple took more steps towards reducing its contribution to e-waste. It has expanded its free, independent repair provider program in 200 countries.
  • Microsoft has pointed out how it improved the battery and hard drive of its third-generation Surface Laptop after it was criticised for making it next to impossible to replace the battery in older models.
Scroll to Top