Advocacy group fighting for access to repair information

by | Mar 28, 2024 | 0 comments

The Canadian Repair Coalition, a right to repair advocacy group, is taking aim at automakers using rising vehicle theft as a tactic to restrict access to repair information.

The group is made up of some 200 individuals, businesses, educators and not-for-profit organizations. Working group participants included representatives from OpenMedia, Software Freedom Conservancy, the Northern Alberta Institute for Technology, Equiterre, Grain Growers of Canada, repair cafes, and several universities. Kevin O’Reilly, a board member with, and Liz Chamberlin, the Director of Sustainability at IFixIt.

Key names in the coalition are Alana Baker, Vice President of Government Relations and Research, Automotive Industries Association of Canada, and Anthony Rosborough, Assistant Professor of Law & Computer Science, Dalhousie University

While right to repair has gained widespread support in Canada and even legislative progress—Quebec passed a right repair bill last year and federal legislation in support of access to repair information is making its way through the Parliament of Canada—opposition has also been growing, buoyed by the increasing use of electronic hacking in vehicle theft.

In response to those initiatives, the Canadian Repair Coalition released the following statement:

“As Canada grapples with the ever-concerning rise in automotive thefts tied to organized crime networks, broader themes of security, innovation, and the accountability of industries in the digital age have emerged.

“Claims from vehicle manufacturers that allowing the right to repair will perpetuate car thefts and work against their efforts to keep vehicle systems secure are reflective of a revolving strategy of deflection, denial and distortion, rather than addressing the root causes of vulnerabilities. Similarly, considering a ban of cybersecurity testing devices like the Flipper Zero without a thorough understanding of their functions and benefits, is counterproductive.

“The right to repair is about ensuring independent repair and service technicians have access to necessary data strictly for the diagnosis, service or repair of a product. If providing independent technicians with access to necessary vehicle data would compromise security, this suggests that the vehicle was not designed with security in mind from the outset.

“By pinning the blame on external factors, manufacturers are diverting attention from their own shortcomings in securing products against theft and other forms of unauthorized access. While offering a temporary reprieve for the industries in question, this strategy does a disservice to consumers, policymakers, and the broader ecosystem of innovation and security.

“Manufacturers must be held accountable for the security vulnerabilities of their products, and there needs to be a clear delineation between security measures and the legitimate interests of interoperability, repair, and research.

“Security through obscurity is not good enough for Canadians. It is imperative that we demand evidence-based policy-making that distinguishes between legitimate security concerns and unfounded fears.”

The “Flipper Zero” mentioned in the statement is an electronic signal emulation device that has recently come under fire for its potential use in hacking key fobs and a variety of other electronic devices and was banned in Canada earlier this year. A sort of “digital multitool,” the device’s primary function is to test and explore digital systems for vulnerabilities.

The coalition says the tool’s banning is symptomatic of the approach to cybersecurity issues:

“The federal government’s decision to ban the Flipper Zero came after a meeting on automotive theft, where industry representatives, without providing concrete evidence, claimed that the device facilitates auto theft. This move to outlaw the Flipper Zero is symptomatic of a reactionary approach to policy-making, where the solution is disproportionately simplistic and misdirected.”

The group has scheduled montly working group Zoom calls to discuss access to repair information issues. The next call is scheduled for April 16.

Interested parties can register to join the call HERE.

For more information, visit


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