Sprache ändern: English

StopKillingTrains? MEP calls for rules against the arbitrary disabling of devices by manufacturers

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

At the request of Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer, EU Internal Market Commissioner Breton has commented on manufacturers who equip their products with “kill switches”. This question was prompted by a recent case in which the Polish train manufacturer NewAg was found to have installed “kill switches” in several electric multiple units, which switch off the train’s power supply and compressors under certain conditions (location or operating time). Among other things, the manufacturer implemented the switch-off function to prevent the trains from being repaired by competitors and also to prevent the train software from being analysed. In his response, EU Commissioner Breton admits that existing or planned EU rules on the right to repair are largely limited to the protection of consumers and do not apply to businesses.

Patrick Breyer comments:

“The practice by some manufacturers to prevent independent companies from repairing and servicing products is unacceptable. The EU should put clear rules in place to prevent such abuses and protect the rights of users, as well as the competitiveness of independent repair services. The right to repair should also apply to business customers.

However, a mere right to repair falls short of what is needed in the digital era. Users must be given full control over the technology they use in their daily lives. We need a right to modify, customise and improve our legally acquired devices. The fact that copyright law currently prohibits this is disempowering and invites abuse, as the Polish case shows.”

A similar problem is also observed with computer games, where manufacturers make popular games unusable at will. In collaboration with the gamer initiative “Stop killing games”, the pirate party is calling for cultural protection of video games.