Apple is back to lobbying against right-to-repair bills

Posted:
in iPhone

While it may have supported a weaker right-to-repair bill in California, Apple is now lobbying against a stronger bill out of Oregon.

Apple Repair Program
Apple Repair Program



On Thursday, Apple's principal secure repair architect, John Perry, argued against a right-to-repair bill. The move comes six months after it supported a similar bill, which is now law, in California.

"It is our belief that the bill's current language around parts pairing will undermine the security, safety, and privacy of Oregonians by forcing device manufacturers to allow the use of parts of unknown origin in consumer devices," Perry, told the legislature.

It might seem strange that Apple supports right-to-repair in one state and not another, but as always, the devil is in the details. As 404media points out, Oregon's bill has one key difference -- it restricts parts pairing.

"Parts pairing" is a term used to describe Apple's practice of matching certain components, such as the screen or battery, to the specific iPhone they were originally installed in. This ensures that only authentic Apple parts are used when repairing the device.

However, this practice has been controversial as it limits third-party repair options. It has been criticized for creating a closed ecosystem that restricts consumer choice and potentially increases repair costs.

Critics argue that this practice hinders the right-to-repair movement by making it difficult for users to fix their devices independently or through non-authorized repair services. It's also known for generating a very large amount of electronic waste.

Currently, there are seven parts that trigger issues during repairs.

Perry argued that Apple's parts pairing practice hasn't been designed to monopolize repairs but to make repair access easier. He said that it ensures a device -- and its data -- remain secure during repair.

Tarah Wheeler, an Oregon-based cyber security expert, wasn't on board with Perry's arguments.

"As someone who is a certified mobile device analyst and forensic specialist, I am here to tell you right now that there is no security implication to switching the battery or glass screen out on a phone in meaningful terms," Wheeler told 404media.

"Apple does a good job of making sure people's data is secure, and they've done such a good job of this that it's a little bit stupid to now try to claim that swapping the glass out is going to stop it from being secure," she added.

New York was the first US state to pass a Right to Repair bill, which is now law. However, it's so weak and watered down that it is effectively worthless for consumers.




Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Looking at his Linkedin resume he isn’t a degreed engineer. He is more of an IT person.
    chasmjose8964
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Off topic somewhat, but if you're an Apple shareholder, beware of the BlackRock board nominee. They already have one and that's too many. We don't want them to do to Apple what they did to Boeing.
    Oferchasmdanoxjose8964byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    mfrydmfryd Posts: 216member
    There are both advantages and disadvantages to parts pairing.

    "Security" also includes physical security.  Locking a phone to a particular Apple ID, and parts pairing both reduce the value of a stolen iPhone.

    If an iPhone is locked to a particular Apple ID, it has less value as it can't be used by anyone else.  That means the value in a stolen iPhone is in "parting" it out.  However, if the parts are locked to a particular serial number, they have less value as it can't be used to repair a different phone.

    If Apple can reduce the value of a stolen iPhone, then I am safer, as it is less likely that I will get hurt by someone trying to steal my iPhone.

    The real question is whether the good done by parts pairing outweighs the bad done by parts pairing.   

    One solution is software.   Right now, Apple only allows the pairing of a replacement part if it was purchased from Apple.  They could change this policy.  Instead they could allow pairing of any part, unless that part was already associated with an iPhone that was locked to an Apple ID (or reported as stolen).  That would keep the advantage that the parts to a stolen phone have little value.  Yet it would allow the owner of a broken phone to sell the parts for others to use.   It also allows Apple to continue to restrict replacement parts to genuine Apple parts.

    While it seems that a third part screen would not be a security risk, we used to think the same thing about third part USB or FireWire devices.  However clever people have figured out how to hack into computers using these sorts of devices.

    chasmmuthuk_vanalingamjose8964watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    OferOfer Posts: 239unconfirmed, member
    JobsFan said:
    Off topic somewhat, but if you're an Apple shareholder, beware of the BlackRock board nominee. They already have one and that's too many. We don't want them to do to Apple what they did to Boeing.
    This!!!
    jose8964byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,290member
    The parts pairing is a good idea I support for some of the reasons listed above.

    But Apple should probably pre-emptively allows for things like glass and battery swaps that aren’t tied to parts pairing, unless it wants the EU — who have demonstrated a stunning lack of care about user security and stolen-phone protection — to mandate that as well.

    They should also have their lawyers come up with a STRONG disclaimer that warns users that any repairs not completed by AASPs or Apple itself voids the warranty and may potentially void the security of the iPhone, depending on the work being done. A battery swap or glass repair shouldn’t be a big deal, BUT shady stuff is possible when a unlicensed tech has access to the phone’s innards.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Parts pairing for security -- is there some proven metric that it works?  I mean, organized gangs still break (or simply walk) into Apple Stores and steal the display iPhones, despite the fact that a) they're not usable and b) the main parts are already part-paired.  Thieves aren't the smartest people...I leave my phone at a bus stop, you think people are going to just leave it because it's not of any value?  

    Maybe one day Apple will put up billboards in every major city saying stolen iPhones are worthless, but until then they are and will be a target.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,124member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Parts pairing for security -- is there some proven metric that it works?  I mean, organized gangs still break (or simply walk) into Apple Stores and steal the display iPhones, despite the fact that a) they're not usable and b) the main parts are already part-paired.  Thieves aren't the smartest people...I leave my phone at a bus stop, you think people are going to just leave it because it's not of any value?  

    Maybe one day Apple will put up billboards in every major city saying stolen iPhones are worthless, but until then they are and will be a target.

    Well, they just have to be smarter than the poor sap they sell the stolen device to.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    mknelson said:
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Parts pairing for security -- is there some proven metric that it works?  I mean, organized gangs still break (or simply walk) into Apple Stores and steal the display iPhones, despite the fact that a) they're not usable and b) the main parts are already part-paired.  Thieves aren't the smartest people...I leave my phone at a bus stop, you think people are going to just leave it because it's not of any value?  

    Maybe one day Apple will put up billboards in every major city saying stolen iPhones are worthless, but until then they are and will be a target.

    Well, they just have to be smarter than the poor sap they sell the stolen device to.
    Net effect is your iPhone is gone -- parts pairing or not.
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 9 of 12
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,332member
    The main issue I see is what few people talk about.  What happens when a machine is so old that genuine parts are no longer made?  What then?

    If I had a machine that's 8-10 years old and largely works, it's my right to keep using it.  And stop telling me it's dangerous !  Stop telling me about security and "you should upgrade."  People who say that are no different than folks against Right to Repair.  Security and all that are important considerations that are BESIDE THE POINT.  I still use a Macintosh SE/30.  Are you going to get on my case about that?  Even so, I made need to repair it.  But in the case of the SE/30, Apple didn't design certain parts to be keyed.  Meaning, I can replace any part I want on the SE/30 with parts that were not original Apple parts, and it will work.  But with an iPhone or similar modern device, Apple has designed certain parts so that only OFFICIAL APPLE PARTS will act as replacements.

    One can argue in defense of Apple for doing this, but such only helps people who have a modern device which still has Apple certified parts available for it.  At some point though, Apple will stop making parts for it, and then what?  Of course, then the DEFEND APPLE FOREVER folks will come out of the cracks talking about security and how you should upgrade, but like I said, all that is BESIDE THE POINT.  It doesn't help people who want to repair an 8-10 year old device for their own reasons.

    So I see this RIGHT TO REPAIR battle as going beyond modern devices.  IT MUST!  For truly, all current devices will soon become UNSUPPORTED DEVICES, and that will be faster than you think.

    Whether you should use an old device or not is IRRELEVANT to the topic of REPAIR.  Regardless of the security issues surrounding use of older devices, there are people who may want to repair that older device for their own reasons and they need the ability to use NON-Apple parts for the specific reason that Apple will eventually stop making those parts.  But if the parts only work if Apple makes the parts, then similar parts from non-Apple sources won't work!  That's the core problem nobody talks about!
    nubusmuthuk_vanalingamRespitebeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 10 of 12
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,655member
    jdw said:
    The main issue I see is what few people talk about.  What happens when a machine is so old that genuine parts are no longer made?  What then?

    If I had a machine that's 8-10 years old and largely works, it's my right to keep using it.  And stop telling me it's dangerous !  Stop telling me about security and "you should upgrade."  People who say that are no different than folks against Right to Repair.  Security and all that are important considerations that are BESIDE THE POINT.  I still use a Macintosh SE/30.  Are you going to get on my case about that?  Even so, I made need to repair it.  But in the case of the SE/30, Apple didn't design certain parts to be keyed.  Meaning, I can replace any part I want on the SE/30 with parts that were not original Apple parts, and it will work.  But with an iPhone or similar modern device, Apple has designed certain parts so that only OFFICIAL APPLE PARTS will act as replacements.

    One can argue in defense of Apple for doing this, but such only helps people who have a modern device which still has Apple certified parts available for it.  At some point though, Apple will stop making parts for it, and then what?  Of course, then the DEFEND APPLE FOREVER folks will come out of the cracks talking about security and how you should upgrade, but like I said, all that is BESIDE THE POINT.  It doesn't help people who want to repair an 8-10 year old device for their own reasons.

    So I see this RIGHT TO REPAIR battle as going beyond modern devices.  IT MUST!  For truly, all current devices will soon become UNSUPPORTED DEVICES, and that will be faster than you think.

    Whether you should use an old device or not is IRRELEVANT to the topic of REPAIR.  Regardless of the security issues surrounding use of older devices, there are people who may want to repair that older device for their own reasons and they need the ability to use NON-Apple parts for the specific reason that Apple will eventually stop making those parts.  But if the parts only work if Apple makes the parts, then similar parts from non-Apple sources won't work!  That's the core problem nobody talks about!
    I'm with you 100% here. 

    Apple's number one interest here is control and with that comes the revenue stream. 

    Even with authorised repair, that control and monetisation remain. 

    Can both systems coexist with common goals? Yes. 

    Parts pairing should be a user facing toggle switch. Once again it boils down to choice. 

    The users must have the last word and much better if the user has access to the information about what is officially paired and what isn't. 

    That could be via a warning on first boot that a non-officially sanctioned part is on the device and a system profiling tool where users can pull up a tab and check what is official and what isn't. 

    That way, users can check under warranty repairs and if the correct paired parts were used. 

    However, pairing should not be an impediment to the user choosing to use a non-Apple sanctioned part. 

    Let's not forget that Apple sanctioned is a strange situation as we already know a known good part from a known official source will throw up problems if it isn't blessed by the company. 

    Support for repair of unsupported devices is a perfect counter argument for the situation. 

    My MacBook Air must be about 13 years old now but still works fine. I use it daily. 

    Yes, it is a security 'threat' because it isn't getting security updates and won't run the latest versions of Chrome etc so no Meets now for example. 

    But security is my decision, not Apple’s. 

    The EU will soon be bringing new regulations to market and ten year support (including hardware support with access to 'affordable' parts for that period is part of it. 

    Some details need to be ironed out but it's all part of a broader 'right to repair' initiative which also promotes 'design for repair'. 

    muthuk_vanalingamgatorguy
  • Reply 11 of 12
    mknelson said:
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Parts pairing for security -- is there some proven metric that it works?  I mean, organized gangs still break (or simply walk) into Apple Stores and steal the display iPhones, despite the fact that a) they're not usable and b) the main parts are already part-paired.  Thieves aren't the smartest people...I leave my phone at a bus stop, you think people are going to just leave it because it's not of any value?  

    Maybe one day Apple will put up billboards in every major city saying stolen iPhones are worthless, but until then they are and will be a target.

    Well, they just have to be smarter than the poor sap they sell the stolen device to.
    They steal them because of the parts than they can still harvest that aren’t using FMI or any other security initiative that Apple uses in the software on the store devices. 

    From what I have read a large number of stolen iPhones end up in Vietnam where they are harvested and the non secure parts are sold. 

    This could be a good explanation why parts pairing works. There’s not a lot of parts that thieves can use to justify stealing just 1 phone, but 100 or more can add up. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    mfryd said:
    There are both advantages and disadvantages to parts pairing.

    "Security" also includes physical security.  Locking a phone to a particular Apple ID, and parts pairing both reduce the value of a stolen iPhone.

    If an iPhone is locked to a particular Apple ID, it has less value as it can't be used by anyone else.  That means the value in a stolen iPhone is in "parting" it out.  However, if the parts are locked to a particular serial number, they have less value as it can't be used to repair a different phone.

    If Apple can reduce the value of a stolen iPhone, then I am safer, as it is less likely that I will get hurt by someone trying to steal my iPhone.

    The real question is whether the good done by parts pairing outweighs the bad done by parts pairing.   

    One solution is software.   Right now, Apple only allows the pairing of a replacement part if it was purchased from Apple.  They could change this policy.  Instead they could allow pairing of any part, unless that part was already associated with an iPhone that was locked to an Apple ID (or reported as stolen).  That would keep the advantage that the parts to a stolen phone have little value.  Yet it would allow the owner of a broken phone to sell the parts for others to use.   It also allows Apple to continue to restrict replacement parts to genuine Apple parts.

    While it seems that a third part screen would not be a security risk, we used to think the same thing about third part USB or FireWire devices.  However clever people have figured out how to hack into computers using these sorts of devices.

    I think this is a terrific idea, basically putting software infrastructure in place to allow the user to choose whether to use an Apple-keyed part or a third-party part. It would be part of the registration process for new phones. It also would have to allow phones to be marked for sale or use (if already owned by the person using the parts from a device to repair another device), to keep the parts’ validation chain intact. Finally, devices could drop out of the system when they are no longer supported, and then their parts could be used to repair other devices or be repaired by previously registered parts from other devices without restrictions.

    The only drawback that I can see (other than it being a costly process to implement, based on how many software and hardware engineers would need to work on this) is that from the outside this at first seems way more restrictive than what people think is the current status quo, and that it’s difficult to broadcast the details of why to implement a complicated system like this to the public/lawmakers. But then, such was setting up the App Store, and ultimately most people agree that it’s a good idea to track software provenance instead of just installing whatever.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
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