Recently, the Security Industry Association (SIA) expressed opposition to legislation that requires original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of digital electronic products to disclose proprietary diagnostic, source code and repair information to independent repair shop owners (IRO) under a concept known as “Right to Repair.”
So far in 2018, lawmakers in five states have introduced Right to Repair bills—Virginia, Washington, New Hampshire, Vermont and Hawaii. These bills potentially jeopardize the cybersecurity and warranty policies often associated with digital electronic products. If enacted, the law would force the security industry to relinquish intellectual property to independent repair service providers under a vague definition of digital electronic products noted in the language of the bills—regardless of whether the end user is commercial or residential.
If an OEM of traditional security systems (e.g. video cameras, carbon monoxide detectors, fire alarms, alarm panels and advanced locks) is forced to disclose propriety diagnostic and reparation information, then residential and commercial users could place the security integrity of their equipment into the hands of individuals who do not have the requisite skills to fix any known defects.
For example, what would happen if an IRO “fixed” your home security system but then an individual broke into your house for nefarious purposes? Who should be held responsible? The OEM who knows how to properly fix defected equipment or an IRO? Following this example, the same questions arise in other scenarios should a house catch fire, pipes leak carbon monoxide or locks are exposed to vulnerabilities.
Moreover, one bill goes further. In Washington, WA HB 2279 would prohibit OEMs from designing or manufacturing digital electronic products that prevent reasonable diagnostic or repair functions by an independent repair provider. This includes permanently affixing a battery in a manner that makes it difficult to remove.
SIA joined an industry coalition comprised of CompTIA, the National Electronic Manufacturer Association (NEMA), Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and others in opposition to Right to Repair legislation.