Senator Kupec Celebrates Right to Repair Independence Day

Joins Attorney General Ellison, Representative Pursell, and advocates to celebrate Digital Fair Repair Act going into effect July 1

[MINNEAPOLIS] — One of the strongest right to repair laws in the country went into effect this week when Minnesota’s Digital Fair Repair Act took effect on July 1. Chief author of the Senate version of the bill, Senator Rob Kupec (DFL-Moorhead) joined Attorney General Keith Ellison and advocates to celebrate the new law in a Right to Repair Independence Day celebration Monday. 

“This legislation helps Minnesota consumers by letting them take their property to local repair shops, instead of having to rely on repair services that are only sanctioned by the company that made the product,” said Sen. Kupec. “This is a step forward in breaking the stranglehold companies have had over products ranging from consumer products to home appliances, lowering costs for families and reducing electronic waste from purchasing replacement products.”

The Digital Fair Repair Act is part of a nationwide Right to Repair campaign to give consumers the opportunity to take any products to local repair shops, by requiring producers to provide any necessary instructions or manuals on how to repair their product. Minnesota’s law, the Digital Fair Repair Act, requires all manufacturers that sell electronics in the state to make spare parts, specialized tools and manuals available to residents and repair businesses upon request. The law covers a range of consumer electronics and home appliances, but has exceptions for farm equipment, medical devices, automobiles and video game consoles. Senator Kupec plans to introduce legislation in the future to expand the Digital Fair Repair Act to include agriculture equipment, garden equipment and motorcycles. 

SAINT PAUL, Minn.  In response to the recent announcement by the Mall of America that it had implemented a facial recognition system, Senator Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis) and Senator Eric Lucero (R-Saint Michael) issued the following statement:

“Many view non-consensual capturing, storing, mining, and third-party sharing of biometric facial recognition data as a first-degree violation and direct assault on privacy. The Mall of America’s recent announcement regarding the implementation of facial recognition technology contributes to privacy threat against millions of Minnesotans and visitors to our state,” Lucero said. “Public policy concerns surrounding privacy rights and facial recognition technologies have yet to be resolved, including the high risks of abuse, data breaches, identity theft, liability and accountability. It is very clear the continued implementation of facial recognition technology should not move forward until concerns are addressed, including input from citizens, civil liberty and data practices advocates, and state and local government officials.”

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has reported facial recognition technology misidentifies people of color at a rate as high as 40 percent. The potential for racial profiling, harassment and false arrests is clear,” Fateh said. “Even in cases where the system does identify someone correctly, it is not yet clear how that data will be stored, distributed or protected from data breaches. The Mall of America is a major public institution for our state and should not take this dramatic new step without explaining to citizens how this would work, and why this invasion of privacy and violation of civil liberties is necessary. Legislators spanning the political spectrum have serious questions of the Mall and its technology vendor, and should consider legislation to regulate or ban this alarming new technology. We hope to act on these concerns as soon as possible, including if a special session is called this year.”

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Senator Rob Kupec represents Senate District 4, which includes Becker and Clay County. He is vice chair of the Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development Committee, and serves on the Health and Human Services Committee, Higher Education Committee, and Labor Committee.
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