On March 3, 2023, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law a measure finalizing the Digital Fair Repair Act, which will go into effect July 1, 2023, making New York the first state in the nation to guarantee the right to repair. The law broadly requires electronics manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information to product owners and repair providers. However, the passing of the law came with one notable exemption from its obligations: security systems and their associated devices.
Since the law’s inception, many within the security industry had seen its provisions as a major issue for security products. As the Security Industry Association (SIA) states, the original provisions within the bill could have allowed “information necessary for disabling or circumventing electronic security and life safety equipment to make it into the public domain, creating an unnecessary risk of cybersecurity and physical intrusions.
To address these issues, SIA worked alongside Gov. Hochul and the legislative sponsors of the bill throughout the 2022 legislative session to ensure these concerns were addressed. At the time of finalization, March 3, 2023, manufacturers of home “security devices or alarm systems” and non-consumer products sold to a business or to the government are exempt under New York’s right to repair law.
“The legislation as drafted included technical issues that could put safety and security at risk, as well as heighten the risk of injury from physical repair projects, and I am pleased to have reached an agreement with the legislature to address these issues,” said Gov. Hochul in her approval letter upon signing the legislation in December. New York State Sen. Neil Breslin, Senate author of the amendment, noted in his sponsor memo that the measure “creates exemptions for security devices,” among other provisions.
“While we believe it is important to extend the life of consumer electronics and reduce electronic waste, SIA is deeply grateful to the governor and the bill sponsors for acknowledging some significant unintended consequences and working together resolve these issues,” said SIA CEO Don Erickson.
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“We are pleased that lawmakers listened to the concerns of local businesses providing security and alarm systems that help protect millions of New Yorkers,” said Tom Powers, president of the New York Electronic Life Safety Association.
In a press release celebrating this legislative success, SIA states “It is significant that the first state to adopt right to repair legislation has appropriately excluded security and life safety products. This acknowledges that, far beyond fixing broken smartphones, such legislation can create real risks to consumers if applied too broadly.”