SIA Government Relations Manager Joe Hoellerer will appear before the Vermont Senate, as a witness in opposition to S. 180, the Vermont Fair Repair Act. The Security Industry Association (SIA) has concerns that requirements in the legislation would harm companies in the security industry, where SIA represents more than 800 corporate members, many of them manufacturers.
The bill would force original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to disclose proprietary source code, diagnostic and repair information to independent repair providers, potentially jeopardising the security and cybersecurity of certain equipment and voiding related warranties proven to benefit and protect consumers, Hoellerer said in testimony submitted to State Sen. Michael Sirotkin and the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.
Electronic security equipment
“We understand the intention of this legislation is to provide consumers with the freedom and flexibility to fix everyday consumer devices, such as smartphones, tablets, televisions and computers. However, due to the overly broad and vague definition of ‘equipment,’ which seemingly encompasses all digital electronic equipment, our member companies would be forced to comply with this burdensome legislation if enacted into law,” Hoellerer said.
Traditional manufacturers in the security industry build video cameras, carbon monoxide detectors, fire alarms, advanced locks and other critical equipment. Should they disclose proprietary diagnostic and reparation information, manufacturers would have no choice but to place the integrity of their security equipment into the hands of individuals who do not have the requisite skills to fix defects in such highly specialised equipment.
We must enable manufacturers to ensure the efficacy and integrity of their products"
Towards collaborative resolution
In one scenario, Hoellerer raised the possibility that an independent repair provider might fix a home security system. What happens when a house is then burgled? The Vermont legislation does not address who would be liable for damages in this case, whether the OEM or an independent repair provider who may have failed to fully fix the problem.
“Malfunctions can cause real, physical harm. We must enable manufacturers to ensure the efficacy and integrity of their products,” Hoellerer said. “By placing intricate repair information into the possession of uncertified independent repair providers, S. 180 is in fact, exposing consumers to more potential risk.” SIA seeks a collaborative resolution where the Vermont General Assembly works with the private sector to address any concerns.