Group Says Right to Repair Amendment Not Necessary
Aug. 3, 2020—A revision to Massachusetts’ Right to Repair law is question no. 1 on the ballot for the state’s voters this November.
The revision would include telematics information to be accessible by independent repairers via a standardized platform. The original law, which was finalized in 2013, exempted telematics data from being made accessible to all repairers. That included “remote diagnostics.”
The law could set a precedent, opening the door for other states to adopt similar measures if that standardized platform takes effect in Massachusetts.
Aftermarket and independent repair organizations like the Auto Care Association have been the biggest boosters of the revision, saying that it would put independent shops on an even playing field with dealerships as more vehicle information becomes part of the wireless telematics ecosystem.
An organization called the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data formed to oppose the measure. Ratchet+Wrench, a sibling publication to ADAPT, interviewed a spokesman from the group.
“Why does Right to Repair need to be changed? You make a law if there’s a problem, you don’t make it based on a hypothetical coming down the road,” says Conor Yunits of the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data.
Yunits says that there is nothing in the current law that prevents auto repair shops from accessing the information that they need. Furthermore, he said that changing the law would give people access to data from consumers that they do not need.
“There is no proof that this [the information requested] is not available to auto repair shops,” Yunits tells Ratchet+Wrench.
A Contested Issue
The biggest financial backers of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, which campaigns in favor of the ballot question, are the Auto Care Association and the Coalition of Automobile Repair Equality. Both organizations donated $100,000, according to state campaign finance data.
The Right to Repair Coalition also has financial contributions from more than 100 auto shops in the state.
The website for the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data, which opposes the ballot question, says it's made up of “groups concerned with personal and consumer safety, data privacy, cybersecurity, and domestic violence.”
Campaign finance records show just two organizations that represent automakers: the Association of Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which have donated more than $1.6 million in total. Both trade groups formed in early 2020 to create the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.
Yunits says that his organization will continue to fight against the ballot question.