New York's right to repair law excludes security tech

March 7, 2023
Security Industry Association applauds exclusion of home “security devices or alarm systems”

SILVER SPRING, Md. – 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 on July 1. Hochul first approved the bill in December after reaching an agreement with the bill sponsors to make key clarifications and changes through a subsequent “chapter amendment.” The act broadly requires manufacturers of electronic products to provide diagnostic and repair information, such as manuals and diagrams, to product owners and repair providers to facilitate repairs independently.

As finalized, these obligations do not apply to manufacturers of home “security devices or alarm systems,” or to non-consumer products sold to a business or to the government. Throughout the 2022 legislative session, the Security Industry Association (SIA) led industry efforts in working with Gov. Hochul and the legislative sponsors to address concerns identified with the act in its original form, which 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 security intrusions.

“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.

“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.

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. 

Unfortunately, right to repair legislation without these essential exclusions is being pushed at the state level across the country at an alarming rate. SIA will continue to work with industry leaders, allied organizations and lawmakers across the county to address the unnecessary risks to public safety posed by legislation that does not adequately address these concerns.