Smart Phones, Tractors And Medical Devices: Who Has The 'Right To Repair'?

Feb 20, 2018

Have you ever tried fixing one of your electric gadgets? Even simply replacing the battery in your cell phone can require special skills or tools. You may not be allowed to do more advanced repairs without potentially voiding a warranty. That's led to demands across the country, including here in Vermont, for the "right to repair," the ability to perform basic repairs on items like smart phones, other electronics and more.

Chittenden Sen. Chris Pearson, sponsor of Vermont's "Fair Repair Law," explains the need he's seen for such a law in Vermont and how his bill could change who gets to fix computers, electronics, tractors, cars and even medical devices.

Jason Koebler, the editor-in-chief at Motherboard/VICE, shares his reporting on issues ranging from tractor hacking by Nebraska farmers to laws that could make it illegal to sell electronics that don't have easily-replaced batteries.

Also joining the show is ​​Theresa McDonaugh, owner of Tech Medic repair shops, explains the problems she sees with increasingly unrepairable electronics and how she works to give devices a second life.

And we'll speak with Tim Wentz, the field director for the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association, Inc., and how he thinks the rules for repairing small electronics don't necessarily translate to agricultural machinery.

Broadcast on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.