September 20, 2020
In the Media

AgeLab's Bryan Reimer has been providing insightful commentary and context on Massachusetts's Automobile Right to Repair Law, the status of which Massachusetts voters will decide in November. He writes in an article in Forbes:

Massachusetts Question 1 proposes to augment the state’s 2013 Automobile Right to Repair Law with new added vehicle data access requirements. At first impression, the initiative brought to the ballot by the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition appears to be a simple request for better access to the telematics systems in modern vehicles. Hidden under the hood, however, is a request for access to telemetry through standardized open methods that – without proper safeguards – are ripe for cyber terrorism that could quickly place vehicle occupants and other road users at increased risk.

The ballot initiative looks to “require manufacturers that sell motor vehicles equipped with telematics systems to install a standardized open data platform beginning with model year 2022. Vehicle owners could then access telematics system data through a mobile device application and then give consent for independent repair facilities to access that data and send commands to the system for repair, maintenance, and diagnostic testing”.

To better understand what the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition is asking for, one needs to recognize that we are not simply talking about repairing the brakes, mufflers, and tires of legacy vehicles. We are discussing allowing access to data use in the diagnosis and repair of complex engineering systems, each with 100 million or more lines of computer code – systems that even engineering teams with access to detailed design specifications do not fully understand.