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Massachusetts Voters Give 'Right to Repair' a Big Boost With Car Data Initiative



(Image: Getty)

Massachusetts voters this week threw their support behind a “Right to Repair” law that will give car owners more freedom in choosing where to get their vehicles serviced.

As iFixit notes, the ballot initiative requires that motor vehicle owners and independent repair facilities be allowed expanded access to mechanical data related to a car’s maintenance and repair, starting with model year 2022.

Specifically, any cars with telematics systems, or those that wirelessly send data about a car to a remote server for repair purposes, will have to do so via an open-access data platform. Independent repair shops could then access that information, meaning car owners wouldn’t be locked into only getting their cars serviced or repaired at dealerships. Car owners will also be able to access car data via a smartphone app.

“This will be the most advanced #RightToRepair law in the world, opening wireless automotive diagnostics and unleashing a world of possible apps,” tweeted Kyle Wiens, Fixit CEO.

Engadget reports that automobile manufacturers spent millions of dollars opposing the initiative, known as “Question 1,” stating that opening up data to third parties would result in that data being compromised or, potentially, used for criminal purposes. Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly disagreed, with 74.93% approving it.

“Manufacturers want to keep consumers tied to them long after the sale is done, and they are not afraid to use false security and privacy claims to scare consumers into agreeing,” Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told iFixit. “We’re glad voters saw through it, and those tactics didn’t work this time.”

Most people in general are in favor of Right to Repair, according to a survey from WaveForm.



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