It may not appear in the scriptures of any religious figurehead, but my informal spiritual, political, and professional creed is: If you’ve upset the Church of Scientology without breaking the law, you’re probably doing something right. That’s this week’s most hilarious example — as brought to light by the newly launched media company 404 media – The right thing you are probably doing is exercising your right to repair.
This appears to be the trigger for an outraged letter from a Church of Scientology affiliate, Author Services, to the US Copyright Office on August 10th the letterthe Scientology-affiliated group is calling for an exception to the right-to-repair laws that would almost certainly cover church rights as well special “auditing” device – the e-meter, also called electropsychometer, as shame wishes tier boxes are more commonly known. The Church describes the electronic device originally invented by a chiropractor named Chiropractor Volney MathisonAs a “religious artifact.”
Hard-won right-to-repair laws are forcing tech giants like Apple to hand over device schematics to the heroes of your local independent repair shops. And most of these laws already have a long list of exceptions, ranging from game consoles to tractors. But it seems the Scientology-affiliated group doesn’t want you to see behind the technology curtain when a software-powered device can only be purchased by someone with special permission or training, or when use of that device is restricted by a licensed agreement (How has been the case with e-meters).
Could there be other reasons why the Church of Scientology and affiliated group want the spin-off? Secure. The author of the letter and Legal Director of Author Services, Ryland Hawkins, claims that the ability to repair the bullets could somehow interfere with the proper use of the device, which is “essential to device manufacture.”[r] to protect his reputation and goodwill.”
Those who entrust their souls to the machinations of this corporation and this church deserve a clear look at the wizard before settling in Oz.
Despite the fact that any reputation that can be broken with honesty deserves it, the strangest thing about this story about the Wizard of Oz is that the Church of Scientology has already openly admitted that “the… E meter does nothing … The E-Meter is not intended or effective for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of any disease.”
It is the wise hand of the Administrator under the Scientology ordination that supposedly enables the E-Meter to give an accurate reading of the subject’s negative emotions through low-level galvanic skin-contact reactions. If that’s actually true, and if the results of an E-meter reading aren’t intentionally tampered with by the test administrator, then I have no idea.
It would only mean that the E-Meter plays the same role in this Scientology confession of sins as other divination tools—like pendulums and dowsing rods—in absolution rituals of other faith traditions. The anthro-humanities student in me would be thrilled to discover so much. But let me be clear here: my insatiable devotion to the curious technological search for the hereafter, however unalloyed in sheer joy, is irrevocably and happily married to my lifelong anger at religious scammers who exploit spiritual pain for profit.
And for that very reason, the E-Meter shouldn’t be spared under the Right to Repair Act. Those who entrust their souls to the machinations of this corporation and this church deserve full access to the man behind the curtain, a clear view of the wizard, before settling in Oz.
As noted by 404 Media, it will be several months before the Copyright Office receives Hawkins’ letter and makes a decision. In the meantime, I hungrily scour the shelves of my local thrift store for loose E-Meters, clutching my iFixit screwdriver like it’s a fork waiting to rip a steak into chunks. If you find one before I find it, message me. I would like to have lunch.
Until then, I’ll just have to settle for the satisfaction of knowing that the divination tools I choose are fully open source — even if I whet my appetite by watching a happy tech hero Take apart a Hubbard-Matic 9000 on YouTube.
about the struggle to protect the right to repair