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New York State’s lobbying records reveal that the technology industry’s biggest companies including Apple and Verizon are fighting against a bill that would make it straightforward for independent firms and consumers to repair electronics.
The Fair Repair Act would oblige electronics firms to sell replacement tools and parts to the general public, ban software locks that inhibit repairs, and could force these firms to make repair guides widely available.
Apple and other major tech firms are suspected of fighting the new law in 11 states, but New York’s strong disclosure legislation has now made it public knowledge which firms are paying lobbyists to oppose which laws.
New York State’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics has revealed that Apple, Verizon, the Consumer Technology Association and various other companies have forked out large sums to lobby against the Fair Repair Act in 2017.
Apple and other organisations pay lobbyists to support or oppose a wide range of laws every year — the Right to Repair law is only one of them. But according to records, there is a significant discrepancy between the political influence of major corporations lobbying against laws and that of consumers who might benefit from those laws.
Records reveal that firms and organisations lobbying against the Fair Repair Act spent $366,634 on lobbyists in New York state from January to April 2017. The Digital Right to Repair Coalition, who represents mainly small independent repair shops, spent only $5,042.
Apple is reportedly paying the Roffe Group $9,000 per month for lobbying against the Fair Repair Act.
A sponsor of the Right to Repair bill recently claimed that Apple lobbyists visited her and told her the state would be transformed into a “Mecca for bad actors” if the law should be approved.