Oregon now has the ‘strongest’ Right to Repair law in the US

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Smartphone manufacturers employ various tactics to sell more devices to customers. One of the oldest tactics is making devices unrepairable or slower with software updates to encourage the owner to buy a new device.

In recent years, California and Minnesota have introduced bills dubbed “Right to Repair” to protect customer’s right to repair their damaged devices. Oregon is now joining the list by introducing the “strongest Right to Repair law to date.”

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed the Right to Repair bill on Wednesday. The SB 1596 bill passed the state legislature a few weeks ago and will affect next year. It covers consumer electronics, including appliances, laptops and smartphones.

Oregon’s introduction of the Right to Repair bill marks a significant milestone. It’s the fourth state in the United States to take a stand on this issue

As the name implies, the bill requires manufacturers to respect the buyer’s right to repair their damaged device by buying the necessary parts and equipment. While this might seem like a fundamental human right, many manufacturers don’t allow customers to perform repairs themselves or third-party repair shops. Doing so might result in warranty termination.

“The legislation requires manufacturers to make repair more accessible by providing open access to the parts, tools, and information used to fix devices, which manufacturers are currently restricting to “authorized” service centers.” the legislation reads.

One key provision that sets Oregon’s bill apart is the ban on “parts pairing.” This term refers to a company’s software needing to approve a third-party component to function perfectly in a device. This restriction can prevent repairmen from using components not from the device manufacturer, potentially limiting repair options.

Apple warns about security risks of installing unauthorized parts

Additionally, manufacturers are prohibited from using parts pairing to downgrade a device’s performance or showing related warnings to customers. All devices used by Oregonians starting in 2025 must meet these requirements. The bill also encourages manufacturers to make necessary documentation, tools, parts, and software available to consumers and repair shops without overcharging.

Tech companies have no choice but to comply with the new law. Meanwhile, Apple warns that installing unauthorized parts, like biometric sensors, could result in security flaws. In February, John Perry, Apple’s senior manager of Secure System Design, testified to state lawmakers that the company approves the “majority” of Senate Bill 1596.

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