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cnet.com: Farmers are hacking their tractors so they can actually fix them


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Farmers are hacking their tractors so they can actually fix them

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/farmers-using-hacked-firmware-to-bypass-john-deeres-software-stranglehold/?hl=1&noRedirect=1

 

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You wouldn't think that farm equipment would turn into a battlefield for right-to-repair laws, but in 2017, anything is possible.

American farmers are increasingly turning to hacked firmware in order to repair their John Deere tractors, Motherboard reports. The reason they're doing so is because John Deere has a license agreement wherein only Deere dealers and "authorized" shops can perform work on tractors.

That may seem fine at a glance -- John Deere built the tractor, so it knows the best way to fix it, right? That's just one part of it, though. According to the farmers Vice talked to, John Deere charges out the wazoo for its work, and technicians might not arrive to a broken tractor with sufficient haste, which can affect a farmer's bottom line in a big way.

Right to repair is an issue that extends far beyond farm equipment. John Deere t, Deere's license agreement specific forbids farmers from suing for "crop loss, lost profits, loss of goodwill, loss of use of equipment ... arising from the performance or non-performance of any aspect of the software."

Thus, farmers are turning to shady online forums where hackers are peddling cracked versions of John Deere software that bypasses required authorization, allowing farmers to once again work on their own tractors.

 

In order to combat this issue, farmers have been quick to endorse right-to-repair legislation, which would force manufacturers to make it so that independent repair shops and consumers have access to the tools required to work on a vehicle, whether it's a tractor or a phone or a car.

These issues aren't limited to farm equipment, either. Right to repair has been a hot topic in the automotive industry, especially as computers play an ever-increasing role. For the longest time, tinkering with a car's software was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ...

 

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