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Massachusetts "Right To Repair" Initiative On Ballot, May Override Compromise 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the fix-it-yourself dept.
skids writes "MA voters face a complex technical and economic question Tuesday about just how open automobile makers should be with their repair and diagnostic interfaces. A legislative compromise struck in July may not be strong enough for consumer's tastes. Proponents of the measure had joined opponents in asking voters to skip the question once the legislature, seeking to avoid legislation by ballot, struck the deal. Weeks before the election they have reversed course and are again urging voters to pass the measure. Now voters have to decide whether the differences between the ballot language and the new law are too hard on manufacturers, or essential consumer protections. At stake is a mandated standard for diagnostic channels in a significant market."
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Massachusetts "Right To Repair" Initiative On Ballot, May Override Compromise

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  • by sinij (911942) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:10PM (#41884769) Journal
    As a classic car enthusiast, the only interface you need is your wrench set.

    With this said, modern cars are designed to be off-limits for DIYers. This specific issue is about preventing locking down cars to the level that even independent mechanics can't touch them. So question should read "Do you believe that all cars, 2012 and newer should be only maintained at the dealer shops, or should independent shops have a way to do more than just change oil?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:13PM (#41884813)

    Something's wrong when I have to dedicate a laptop, play $350 for a special cord and software, and teach my self this software just to 'adapt' my VW's throttle body?

    BMW drivers have it even worst!

    Federal legislative language should read that EVERY manufacturer that wants to sell cars in the US must allow owners to look at and function every aspect of their own car without special dealer tools.

  • by Captain Hook (923766) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:18PM (#41884885)

    As a classic car enthusiast, the only interface you need is your wrench set.

    That seems a bit short sighted.

    What about the classic enthusiasts coming up behind you, prehaps your children who might want to restore the car he remembers doing family holiday in from todays line up of cars?

  • Don't Panic! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:19PM (#41884891)

    Soon all corporations will avoid dealing with your misinterpreted ownership by simply avoiding manufacturing *things* in the USA. See, the Supreme Court just held up that "first sale" doesn't count if the *thing* was intended to be sold to a segregated market, or sold to you by an unlicensed distributor.

    To prevent you from having a "right to repair" the auto manufacturers must simply stop manufacturing automobiles in the USA. Then they can be imported by a licensed distributor and licensed to you to operate. That way you never own your vehicle, and you have no right to tamper (read: repair) with it.

    Because obviously if you tamper with something you don't own you are a criminal, and should be treated as such. I guess it's a very good thing we first changed our tamper^H^H^H^H^H^H reverse-engineering laws to make that illegal too.

    See how this is a win/win for our Police State and Capitalist Economy?

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:27PM (#41885033)

    Specialized tools are necessary for service work

    This does not count as a "necessary" specialization of a tool:

    if(!auth(diagnostic_tool)){return null;}
    else{return run_diagnostic();}

    If manufacturers must limit themselves to open, standardized interfaces they will be slower in achieving greater emissions and fuel efficiency.

    [Citation needed]

    It's time to accept the fact that the priority must be emissions and efficiency and not owner's liberty

    Therefore, we should ensure that only mechanics who pay the maker of the car a monthly fee can perform repairs!

    There is a logical step missing from your argument...

  • by Captain Hook (923766) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:32PM (#41885107)
    But as time goes on, those purely mechanical vehicles will get rarer and rarer, to the point where not everyone is going to be able to afford one.

    Evenutally you are going to get to the point where enthusiasts will need to decode the diagnostics codes to work on their own cars, maybe by then the codes will be well known, maybe they wont.

    There is something else to consider here. At the moment the manufacturers are using security though obscurity, the codes may become well known especially 25 years after manufacture but if there is no law which says consumers have to be able to decode the diagnostics themselves. Whats to stop the manufacurers encrypting the codes, possibly on an ECU by ECU basis? The reader has to be networked to head office and request the decryption code for each customer vehicle at least one in order to work out whats wrong?
  • Feeding the troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:34PM (#41885149)

    Specialized tools are necessary for service work.

    This is not true for a great deal of maintenance. Furthermore specialized tools are often not necessary if the parts are designed sensibly. Often the manufacturer has a choice when designing it and using a specialized tool when one is not needed is an attempt at lock in. Encouraging lock in and short-cut design is a bad idea always.

    If manufacturers must limit themselves to open, standardized interfaces they will be slower in achieving greater emissions and fuel efficiency.

    The logic of that does not compute. A well designed interface can greatly speed achievement of emissions and fuel efficiency standards. Standard tooling, electrical interfaces, etc can greatly reduce cost, complexity and allow engineers to focus efforts on more productive pursuits. Reinventing interfaces because of Not-Invented-Here is frankly rather stupid. Arguably using closed proprietary interfaces slows development rather than speeding it up in many cases.

    Just saying what you lefties would say if you had the balls.

    Ahh, I get it. You are a troll. My bad for feeding you...

  • Bullcrap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:39PM (#41885203)
    People take so much time complaining about "modern technology" that they have none left to learn how to deal with it. I work on cars as a hobby and I'm doing fine even repairing modern cars that dealers can't get fixed. Yes, I use my brain combined with old school skills to fix all sorts of cars, modern and classic. Modern cars aren't that more difficult to fix or diagnose, it just takes a decent understanding of basic electronics and mechanics. Modern diagnostic computer systems should be standardized, so independent mechanics and hobby workers can still afford to work on them. It has always required mechanical skills, knowledge and good diagnostic skills to work on cars and that should remain the same, even if you need some computerized equipment to do some of the diagnostics. If a dealer can't fix it, it's usually because they have bad diagnostics technicians working for them, not because the computers are making it difficult. They had the same problem 50 years ago, when cars didn't have computers or electronics and the same applies to hobby workers.

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