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Today in Repair


June 1, 2022
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💸 ‘Green’ Apple Funding Groups Stalling Action on Climate Change

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about a ‘greener’ future. But his company is a member of business associations fighting efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But a close look at the company’s trade associations reveals a different narrative. In fact, Apple has supported business groups that seek to thwart action on global warming—the opposite of the company’s stated goals.

The Tech Transparency Project is highlighting Apple’s trade associations as part of an update to its Tech Funding Database. Apple lists membership in the Texas Association of Business (TAB) in its most recent disclosure about “indirect advocacy” efforts.

TTP found that Apple has also linked up with business organizations in Europe and Japan that have a history of trying to slow regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. And the company continues to support trade groups that oppose so-called right-to-repair laws that advocates say are beneficial to the climate. (Tech Transparency Project)

Power wheelchair users have long been fighting for the right to repair their wheelchairs themselves or through independent repair shops. Medicare and most insurance companies will replace complex wheelchairs only every five years. Medicare pays only for parts and labor, not for technicians’ travel time. Another cause for delays: Medicare sometimes requires physicians to document that an individual still needs a wheelchair and that it needs to be repaired.

The wheelchair suppliers that have contracts with public and private health insurance plans also restrict access to parts, tools, and service manuals. They usually keep a limited inventory of parts on hand and wait until health plans approve repair claims before ordering parts. Wheelchair suppliers make most of their money by selling the wheelchair and tend to lose money on repairs. So there is little incentive to hire more technicians or pay for training. (denverpost.com)

☠️ California Right-to-Repair bill quietly killed in committee

A California Right to Repair bill, SB 983, died in committee last week, despite broad consumer support for fixable products. It's not clear who killed the bill, but Right to Repair advocates point to the usual suspects – the tech companies that benefit by controlling who can repair their goods and that have lobbied against Right to Repair bills all over the US.

Sander Kushen, state advocate for CALPIRG, blamed tech sector lobbying. "Throughout the process we had significant opposition from the tech industry," said Kushen.

"This included TechNet, and the industry association that represents Apple, among others. Even though nearly all of the tech industry’s talking points against Right to Repair were refuted in last year’s 'Nixing the Fix' report from the FTC, they were still able to kill the bill through a massive lobbying effort." (theregister.com)

Farmer Says Dealer Wouldn’t Repair His Tractor Until He Filed FTC Complaint

A farmer in Missouri said he had to go to complain to the Federal Trade Commission in order to get his tractor repaired by the only John Deere dealership in his area, showing how without the right to repair farmers are bound by the whims of the corporations who have a monopoly on repair.  

It’s a lot of drama for one farmer to deal with. But Wilson is a fifth generation farmer whose family has used John Deere for decades. He likes the product, but he doesn’t like their repair restrictions and he doesn’t particularly like Heritage Tractor. But Heritage Tractor is the only reasonably close repair shop, according to the affidavit. (VICE)

Right to Repair? Pushback Grows Around Remote Maintenance

Right to repair “will pave the way for a new kind of business model for manufacturers, in which they focus on selling outcomes or services rather than products,” Jaudon believes. “By providing consumers with a service after the initial transaction, manufacturers have scope to build a longer-term relationship with customers that extends far beyond the initial transaction—for example, offering regular servicing, insurance or additional capabilities.

Cindy Jaudon, regional president of the Americas for IFS says the right-to-repair movement “will help manufacturers transform customer relationships with servitization offerings and significantly reduce waste to benefit the environment. But in order for manufacturers to truly reap the benefits of a circular economy, they must invest in disruptive technologies that can build products and long-term customer relationships that last.” (rtinsights.com)

The Underground Company That Hacks iPhones for Ordinary People

Researchers suspect the checkm8.info service is used by criminals to launder stolen iPhones. The tool's administrator claims the service is just a response to Apple's poor right to repair policies.

This underground group is offering people a way to bypass activation locks (which bricks devices) from certain iPhones with its pay-for-hacking service. iOS security experts suspect it is being used to remove protections from stolen iPhones. The hacking group called Checkm8.info offering the service, which lifts its name from a popular free-to-use jailbreak, insists its tool cannot be used by thieves. (VICE)
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