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What's been billed as the most expensive ballot measure campaign in Massachusetts history has reportedly been decided.
Question 1 on the Massachusetts ballot challenged the "right-to-repair" state law signed back in 2013, where essentially independent auto repair shops and vehicle owners had to be given the same repair information that authorized dealers in the state get for fixing a vehicle.
The 2013 law excluded telematics, driving and diagnostic data shared wirelessly with car dealers, and independent car dealers said that they couldn't adequately repair heavily computerized modern vehicles without access to that information. Question 1 would give everyone access to that telematics data that had still been reserved for automakers. Some of the roughly $25 million poured into advertising by car companies attempting to quashing Question 1 went into an ad attempting to prey on fears that anyone — including violent predators — could somehow track you by gaining access to your car's telematics because of this ballot measure. Voters were not convinced, however: With about 64% of precincts reporting, AP is projecting that Question 1 will pass.
This is seen as a victory for the larger "right-to-repair" movement, where advocates argue that consumers should be able to easily fix the expensive pieces of technology they buy, without having to pay manufacturers to do it for them. One of the most visible companies in the right-to-repair debate over the years has been Apple.
Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.