Minna Saariketo is a postdoc at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University. Mareike Glöss is a lecturer Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University.
In their research, they address the ‘grey zone of hacking’: end users subverting software and hardware controls imposed by manufacturers. We discuss one empirical case in particular: farmers claiming the ‘right to repair’ of agricultural equipment. The ‘Right to Repair’ movement has brought together users and developers to circumvent products that cannot be repaired or modified freely. Manufactures have responded by ‘lock-ins’ by not supplying spare parts, service manuals, disassembly and diagnostic tools, as well as forbidding modification of software in their licenses. Hackers have worked around these lock-ins, creating parallel networks of software and hardware distribution, supplying hacking tools to end users. So in their session, they will talk about the political economy of software: how the control of technical artefacts is achieved both legally and economically. Second is the issue of agency, expertise, and technological literacy.