This argument is used more and more often by manufacturers, trade organizations and in some cases even by consumer rights organizations. We have to prevent you from being able to service or repair your own device, or be able to call in an unauthorised repair service. If we don’t, you are in mortal danger! Either by hurting yourself, the device hurting you, or later, via the actions of the unauthorised repair service. In the fall of 2020, in Massachusetts, Trade organizations spend millions on commercials to convince the citizens to vote no to a ballot initiative; a proposed update to an existing automobile repair law. Their arguments boiled down to the following: did you know that independent car repair garages do not employ and are not run by skilled car mechanics? They are actually criminals pretending to be mechanics, just to find their next robbery or rape victim. Stop these criminals by voting no.
Let us tell you a little something… your life is in mortal danger everyday! Each time you drive to work or school, you can get into an accident caused by your own actions. Let us drive you around everyday by one of our trained and certified drivers to prevent this! No, you can’t use public transport, haven’t you heard about all the crime? A taxi cab? oh no, didn’t you know that you can be robbed, raped or get your organs stolen? They're not certified.
Hold on, are you preparing your own food? We’re campaigning to pass a bill to make selling knives illegal. If not handled properly, you can cut yourself while cutting meat or vegetables. You should eat at a certified restaurant each meal.
Do you own a microwave, washing machine or clothes dryer? This can’t be! Haven’t you heard about all the small children and pets that got hurt by improper operation? They should be banned!
Drinking a glass of whine at the restaurant during dinner? How Insane! You can pinch the glass and hurt yourself or somebody else. Eating with a fork or spoon? Are you insane? You can poke an eye out with them. Let a certified nurse come by each day to intravenously feed you each day. Wait, lots and lots of certified people are constantly moving from door to door. That’s bad for the environment and they're not certified in driving themselves. Lets put all people in a stasis pot next to their assigned day job. Nothing can go wrong anymore. Happy working and waiting for your death by natural cause.
Of course this sound ridiculous. But it’s a sliding slope. Like AvE puts it: “each time stupidity is prevented, a better idiot is invented” In other words; people make mistakes. This is normal, this is how we learn and accomplish things. Sure, there are idiots, but the more we shield people, the more idiots will exists because we’ve also taking learning moments away.
Sure, a few children and pets have been hurt or even killed by accident by means of a microwave, washing machine or clothes dryer. Does this mean nobody should be allowed to use these devices? No, absolutely not. We should not have to loose the freedom to prepare our own food and do our own laundry because a few accidents have happened! Each time, and they're not many, something like this happens, lots and lots of people are shocked that this could happen. All these people have learned something and this knowledge is passed on to others. Freedom is more important than the tiny change that something bad happens.
This is the same for repair. Sure, accidents happen. Most of them are detected and corrected before anything goes wrong. Most of the time, if, let us stress the if, something goes really wrong, a lot of knowledge is gained, and most of the times nothing serious happened.
Let us zoom into cell phone and computer repair for a moment. Have people with criminal intent broken into them? Yes, it happens daily. How many of those were repair technicians or caused by repair? A very, very little amount. In fact, as far as we’re aware, there are no hard figures. Over a period of many years, we’re aware of one instance that made the news. That was a person with criminal intent employed by Apple. He took private photo’s of a phone and spread those picture around. What does this prove? It happens. It does not happen a lot. And if it happens it can happen at a manufacturer. A manufacturer that is infamous for lobbying against independent repair “to protect your safety”.