The right to repair

Legislation on the “right to repair” is being discussed in the United States, and some states have already reached consensus in its parliament. (See https://repair.org) “Right to repair” requests repair manuals and repair parts disclosure to manufacturers so that consumers can repair home appliances, etc. The manufacturer is somewhat negative about this requirement from the viewpoint of safety and security, but in Europe, the “right to repair” is considered in the Eco-Design Directive. (For example, https://www.positive.news/economics/claiming-the-right-to-repair/) Green policies, the realization of a circular economy, etc. are declared from the legislation side while consumers seek the rights in order to reduce living expenses. In connection with this, the Nordic Council has published a circular economy report on mobile phone industry in the three Nordic countries. The mobile phone industry is well analyzed for repairs, refurbishing, recycling, second-hand sales, relationships with manufacturers, and challenges. (David Watson, et.al “Circular Business Models in the Mobile Phone Industry”, Nordic Council of Ministers, TemaNord 2017: 560)

Nowadays, desktop PCs can run without any problems for more than 10 years, and their lifetime is due to support for basic software, such as Windows 7 facing the support termination in January 2020. On the other hand, smartphones have now improved APU performance enough for applications, so their lifetime dose not rely on a performance issue. It seems to be determined by the degree of deterioration of the lithium battery. Currently, most of the repair methods for products are published on the Internet with demonstrations. Necessary tools and parts are easily available on the internet (for example, https://jp.ifixit.com/). If you have a dedicated tool, you can replace the battery fixed to the smartphone by carefully proceeding with detailed work. However, there are parts that cannot be touched from the viewpoint of safety and security, so exercise your right to repair home appliances with caution. Plus, the manufacturer warranty will also be lost. For the repair rights, the Open Repair Alliance is conducting consortium activities.


Nobuo FUJII was working for NTT R&D and NTT Groups where he studied and developed transport network operation systems. He also worked for ITU-T and other standard organizations, fora and consortia so as to develop operation system architectures and interfaces. He is an IEICE fellow. He joined CCI in 2014.

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