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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2021-01-27">
<version>1</version>
<head>
<title>EU should enable reusability of software to extend usage lifetimes of devices</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>EU should enable reusability of software to extend usage lifetimes of devices</h1>
<p>
We gave feedback to the EU consultation about "Energy labelling of
mobile phones and tablets". Access to hardware, permission to
replace the operating system of the device, and publication of the
code are key to make phones last longer.
</p>
<p>
In December 2020, the <a
href="https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12798-Energy-labelling-of-mobile-phones-and-tablets-informing-consumers-about-environmental-impact/F1465695_en">EU
consultation about &quot;Energy labelling of mobile phones and
tablets&quot;</a> opened for feedback, and on 27 January 2021 the
FSFE submitted its contribution. The consultation is part of a
current revisal on the European Ecodesign regulation, aiming to
ensure that:
</p>
<ul>
<li>mobile phones and tablets are designed to be energy efficient and durable</li>
<li>consumers can easily repair, upgrade and maintain these devices</li>
<li>circular economy models are provided with possible reuse and recycling of devices.</li>
</ul>
<p>
The FSFE <a
href="https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12798-Energy-labelling-of-mobile-phones-and-tablets-informing-consumers-about-environmental-impact/F1465695_en">responded</a>
to the initiative.
</p>
<figure>
<img
src="https://pics.fsfe.org/uploads/medium/7e0f749c5b2fc9a83ddae98cda6be9f4.png"
alt="holding a smartphone" />
<figcaption>The FSFE asks re-usability of software on smart devices to help extending usage lifetimes.</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>
90% or more of the overall resource and energy consumption in the
lifetime of nowadays smartphones and tablets incur by their
production and global transport but less than 10% by their actual
usage time. Thus, extending usage lifetime of produced mobile
phones and tablets (hereafter together addressed as “phones”) is
key to lower their environmental impact.
</p>
<p>
When the manufacturing company stops supporting the software of
past devices, the user is not in a position to use the device
without security risks. However, the hardware is in good
condition. This is planned obsolescence, a practice that affects
software. The problem is artificially created by manufacturers to
raise sales of new phones instead of letting consumers keep using
the old ones.
</p>
<p>
One solution to the problem would be to enforce a guaranteed
minimal support-time of security updates by manufacturers. But
even more helpful in the long run would be the obligation to
<strong>publish the code</strong> under a Free Software license
if no more security support is or can be provided.
</p>
<p>
It should be reminded that manufacturers prevent the users from
fixing the device too. Preventions include technical measures,
for example locking the bootloader, and legal measures, for
example threatening to void your warranty by flashing a Custom
Rom on your device.
</p>
<figure>
<img
src="https://pics.fsfe.org/uploads/big/225445794ddf71f36e4c6441261cf64a.png"
alt="smartphone teardown" />
<figcaption>Repairing our devices
instead of buying new ones is an environmentally friendly
behaviour.</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>
The Commission must ensure any customer’s full right to their own
hardware including <strong>access to the bootloader</strong> and
the <strong>ability to replace the operating system</strong> at
will. Without planned obsolescence, smartphones can last longer
and the devices can be repurposed. Respecting the users&#39;
right to repair is a sustainable solution. Repairing our devices
instead of buying new ones is an environmentally friendly
behaviour.
</p>
<p>
Finally, these decisions can have significant financial benefits
for small businesses and for the European tech industry. Offering
consumer’s the right to their own hardware and extend its usage
lifetimes via third-party service providers will help to open up
a sector currently heavily dominated by monopolies outside
Europe.
</p>
</body>
<tags>
<tag key="front-page"/>
<tag key="upcyclingandroid">Upcycling Android</tag>
<tag key="sustainability">Sustainability</tag>
</tags>
<image url="https://pics.fsfe.org/uploads/medium/7e0f749c5b2fc9a83ddae98cda6be9f4.png"/>
</html>