With final passage of Senate Bill 244 by the state legislature Sept. 13, 2023, California will become the third and largest U.S. state to adopt “right to repair” legislation broadly applicable to manufacturers of electronic devices. Resulting from advocacy efforts by the Security Industry Association (SIA) and our industry partners, all states enacting right to repair legislation so far – New York, Minnesota and, with the governor’s potential signature, California – have included provisions that exclude security products.
Specifically in subsection (3)(B)(2), the following products are excluded from the definition of products for which manufacturers are subject to right to repair requirements:
“A product or component of an “alarm system” as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 7590.1 of the Business and Professions Code, including a fire protection system, as defined in the California Fire Code.”
Here are the relevant California definitions that are cited:
Alarm system (from Section 7590.1 of the Business and Professions Code): “Alarm system” means “an assembly of equipment and devices arranged to detect a hazard or signal the presence of an off-normal situation.”
Fire protection system (from the California Fire Code): “Approved devices, equipment and systems or combinations of systems used to detect a fire, activate an alarm, extinguish or control a fire, control or manage smoke and products of a fire or any combination thereof.”
Taken together, this exclusion covers most, if not all, electronic security products produced by our industry. SIA applauds the bill’s author, state Sen. Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), for acknowledging such products were not intended for inclusion and for addressing our concerns. We are also grateful to our industry partners who worked together throughout the legislative session to ensure the inclusion of a clear and thorough exclusion.
The need for a similar exclusion in any right to repair legislation is critical. The integrity of security and life safety systems, and the lives of those who depend on them, would be unnecessarily put at risk if manufacturers are forced to make sensitive technical information and other means of compromising security systems broadly available. If such requirements become applicable in just one state, such information will eventually circulate globally.
We acknowledge the importance of providing consumers greater access to repair options for personal electronic devices, finding effective ways to extend the electronics and reducing electronic waste. Fortunately, policymakers have so far acknowledged that, far beyond fixing broken smartphones, right to repair legislation has the potential to create real risks if applied too broadly.
SIA will continue to work with industry leaders, allied organizations and policymakers across the country to address risks to public safety posed by legislation that does not adequately protect security and life safety systems. Policies set in California often become a trend nationally, and it is expected that more states will continue to consider right to repair legislation. If you are interested in assisting SIA’s advocacy efforts on this issue, please reach out to Colby Williams, SIA’s associate director of government relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.