Apple Lobbies Against 'Right to Repair' Bill Over Privacy Concerns of Third Party Repair Shops Accessing User Data

Apple, HP, and Honeywell are lobbying against a bill in the Nevada statehouse that would require electronic hardware manufacturers to provide device schematics, device parts, and instructions to third-party repair shops for device repairs, according to the Associated Press.

apple independent repair program
The bill being contemplated in Nevada is one of many bills that states across the US are considering to put into law. The global health crisis has placed a higher emphasis on work and learning from home, requiring increased reliance on laptops and tablets, which sometimes need repairs.

Specifically, the bill would require Apple and others to directly provide independent third-party repair shops with the parts, instructions, and schematics to repair devices less than $5,000. With that price threshold, most Apple products such as iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and many Macs would be subject to the bill.

The bill aims to remove the requirement for customers to go to authorized dealers for repairs by allowing them to use smaller independent repair shops as well. Apple has long faced pressure to expand accessibility to device parts and schematics, and it's previously put up battles to maintain its tight control over device repairs.

Cameron Demetre, the regional executive director of TechNet, a trading group representing Apple, HP, and Honeywell in committee hearings on the bill, says that his clients are concerned about the potential exposure that third-party repair shops will have to personal users' data when repairing devices. Demetre warns that opening up repair access and freedom could lead to "unintended consequences."

Cameron Demetre, the organization's regional executive director, said manufacturers worried about "unvetted third parties" having access to the personal information stored in consumer electronics. He said the bill had "the potential for troubling unintended consequences, including serious adverse security, privacy, and safety risks."

In a bid to ease the pressure, in 2019, Apple introduced its Independent Repair Provider program, which provides repair shops with direct access to device parts, tools, manuals, and diagnostic information for out-of-warranty devices. The program initially started in the United States and Canada, but yesterday Apple announced it would be expanding the program internationally.

The significant expansion of the program opens the door for thousands of repair shops to obtain direct resources from Apple instead of relying on other providers, which can sometimes provide non-genuine parts or incorrect device information. Given the close timing of the Nevada bill and the expansion of the independent repair provider program, it's unclear whether the international expansion will have an impact on state legislature stances.

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Top Rated Comments

Wanted797 Avatar
43 months ago
""unvetted third parties" having access to the personal information stored in consumer electronics"

What a weak ass excuse, that is completely and entirely the customers decision, NOT the device manufacturer.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NightFox Avatar
43 months ago
I think Apple's beginning to overplay that "because privacy" card.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tcgjeukens Avatar
43 months ago
I can see that an OEM has a 'right' to define conditions when a device owner wants to claim Warranty.
Beyond warranty any owner should have the right to make their own choice.
You own the device, don't you?
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iF34R Avatar
43 months ago
It's my data, my security, don't make my decisions for me. Heck, I literally just bought a dang M1 Macbook Pro, and now I read this lol. Do they want me to return it?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swingerofbirch Avatar
43 months ago
What b-o-l-o-g-n-a.

When you send your device for repair to Apple, it does not go to Apple.

It goes to whichever contractor is currently giving Apple the best deal.

Your data is safer, if that's your concern, with a local store you know than the actual unvetted, third party contractors Apple uses for repairs.

Even if you bring it to an Apple Store, for a lot of repairs Apple is going to send it out. And when they send it out, they are not sending it to a pristine laboratory of "geniuses." Not even to Apple employees.

It's beyond bologna.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleGuy RL Avatar
43 months ago
Hypocrites. When handing in my MacBook or iPhone at an Apple Premium Reseller that allows for "repairs" they always REQUIRE me to give them my passcode or set up an admin account without a password. With independent repair you explicitly have to give the repairs people this information before they can access anything, unless those secure encryption methods that Apple always boasts about aren't true. Not to mention Apple's independent repair program which REQUIRES the independent repair shop to gather name, address and other information from the customer and hand it over to Apple before they'll send in any parts.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)