New ‘right to repair’ laws exclude tech

“Though smartphone providers are the highest-profile known enactors of planned obsolescence, the UK’s and the EU’s right to repair laws both exclude smartphones and laptops from the equation.”

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The government promised to allow consumers access to spare parts:

New ‘right to repair’ laws coming to the UK – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And this week, it happened:

Right to repair rules will extend lifespan of products, government says – BBC News

‘Tough’ new right to repair rules come into effect

Right to repair law will make white goods like fridges and washing machines cheaper to fix and cost less to run

But as pointed out on these pages, it could have gone further:

New ‘right to repair’ laws – but could they be ‘more ambitious’? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

In particular, what is missing is the most obvious, as reported today:

UK Right to Repair Law Leaves Out Smartphones and Laptops

The new law doesn’t tackle the biggest known perpetrators of planned obsolescence.

Tackling e-waste and ‘planned obsolescence’

The UK joins the European Union, which also set a bloc-wide right to repair law last year, and the New York Senate, which passed the Digital Fair Repair Act just last month.

All of these laws are aimed, in part, at tackling the problems of “planned obsolescence,” which sees manufacturers build appliances knowing they will break down after a certain time, meaning consumers will have to buy a new one. By tackling the problem the laws will, by extension, also reduce e-waste.

The most high-profile case of planned obsolescence to date is that of Apple — last year, the company received a $27 million fine from France for spamming its older iPhones with updates, knowing it would substantially slow down the older models. 

Surprisingly, though Apple and other smartphone providers are the highest-profile known enactors of planned obsolescence, the UK’s and the EU’s right to repair laws both exclude smartphones and laptops from the equation…

UK Right to Repair Law Leaves Out Smartphones and Laptops

British Law Enforcing Right To Repair Goes Into Effect But Ridiculously Excludes Phones And Other Tech

No Phones And Computers In British Right To Repair Law

With a little more here on the history of planned obsolescence:

Futures Forum: Planned Obsolescence: and The Men Who Made Us Spend

And more from Ghana:

The toxicological implications of e-waste

Your old electronics are poisoning people at this toxic dump in Ghana | WIRED UK

photo: Agbogbloshie e-waste dump – Accra | Axel Drainville | Flickr

   
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