Massachusetts Voters Will Decide (Again) Who Is Allowed To Fix Their Cars
Millions of dollars are being spent to woo Massachusetts voters over a ballot proposition not about taxes, drug policy, or labor laws, but about how your car gets repaired and who is allowed to access your car’s data.
This November, Massachusetts voters will vote on a “right to repair” initiative, Question 1, that would establish that car manufacturers have to permit vehicle owners and independent repair facilities to access a car’s diagnostic data.
Supporting Question 1 is a coalition of auto parts stores and independent repairers who say they’re being left behind as auto manufacturers choose who can be authorized to access the increasingly complex computerized data. Supporters have contributed more than $21 million to get Question 1 passed.
Opposing Question 1 is a group of auto manufacturers (including General Motors, Ford, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan) under the umbrella of the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data. They have contributed more than $25 million to defeat the effort.
Massachusetts voters already weighed in on this in 2012 and voted to allow consumers and auto repair shops to have open access to vehicle diagnostic data. But over the past few years, auto manufacturers have increasingly implemented systems that transmit a car’s diagnostic information wirelessly to remote locations—known as telematics, technology also used for GPS tracking.
Now auto manufacturers are controlling who can access or receive th
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