Technology

Toby Talbot / AP

This week the Vermont Senate has taken up a wide-ranging electronic privacy bill that would apply to data from a broad array of sources: license-plate readers, phone calls, even drones. We're exploring what the bill covers, and whether it strikes the right balance between the privacy rights of individual Vermonters and the needs of law enforcement. 

Taylor Dobbs / VPR Photo Illustration

Lawmakers introduced a bill last week that would make it against the law for drivers to refuse to allow police to search their cell phones without a warrant. The searches would be “for the limited purpose of enabling the officer to ascertain whether the operator violated” Vermont’s law against using handheld electronics while driving, according to the legislation.

Hilary Niles / VPR

Vermont's decades-old statewide videoconferencing system is days away from being dismantled. But a central Vermont man who has fought the dissolution of Vermont Interactive Technologies is now taking his fight to court.

VPR/Steve Zind

Once upon a time the phone book was an integral part of every home reference library; a source of emergency contacts, a map of time zones, a listing of area codes from here to Alaska – and all those phone numbers. 

But FairPoint Communications says it is no longer issuing residential phone listings in New Hampshire and Maine. However, the printed residential phone directory lives on in Vermont. At least for now.

Matthias Rietschel / AP

Earlier this year, the chipmaker GlobalFoundries took over the former IBM plant in Essex Junction. Now there’s talk that GlobalFoundries itself might be sold.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Vermont's state government has a long, backlogged list of information technology projects — potentially totaling more than $1 billion in the next five years. That much spending is hard to budget for — and harder still with the way Vermont now pays for many of these projects.

Aleksangel / iStock.com

Vermont’s state government is contemplating at least $1 billion of information technology projects in the coming years. The wish list is long, and some projects — even important ones — are likely to stay on it for a long time.

In Vermont and across the nation the vast majority of doctors offices and hospitals have been undergoing a shift from paper to electronic medical records. But the challenge is that many of these software systems don't actually talk to each other.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Joyce Dobbertin, a physician at Corner Medical, a large rural primary care practice in Lyndonville, is a big fan of electronic medical records. In fact, about 15 years ago, when Corner Medical’s office burned down, she saw an opportunity rise from the ashes, as a fellow physician looked at the flames in horror.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

If you’ve had a medical appointment lately, you’ve probably seen your provider peering at your medical history on a computer. Many doctors and patients are happy that paper records are giving way to digital information. But there are concerns that electronic health records can be hacked, and that physicians are now spending too much time with computers and not enough with patients. 

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Nearly 10 years after it was created, the online community known as Front Porch Forum is a well-established statewide service.

It’s a unique model that hasn’t been duplicated on a statewide level elsewhere, but Front Porch Forum CEO and co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis says the business is viable without expanding beyond Vermont.

VPR/Steve Zind

Every farmer knows that eventually the expensive equipment that once gleamed bright green or orange when it was new will succumb to age, hard use and rust.

Farmers also know that there’s still a lot of life left in old rusted equipment, if they can just get it apart to repair it.

The Public Service Board has agreed to open a hearing to settle a long running dispute between VTel and Springfield Area Public Access Television (SAPA).

The Burlington Telecom building. The City of Burlington hopes to have a buyer for Burlington Telecom lined up by the fall. The City Council will vote to eliminate one of three bids from the sale process.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

A group of Burlington residents is pushing the city to keep city-owned Burlington Telecom from being sold to a major national company.

At a meeting of the Burlington Telecom Advisory Board Wednesday, Burlington residents and some from outside the city spoke in favor of keeping the utility locally-owned, even if not by the city itself.

If one Vermont high school's experience is any measure, sexting is commonplace among students. And while adults may consider the sending of explicit photos of oneself to be deeply problematic, teens think about it differently.

FairPoint Communications says DSL broadband customers in portions of 11 Vermont towns have access to higher speeds as a result of recent upgrades by the company.

Library Freedom Project

If you use the Internet or carry a smartphone  and let's face it, that's almost everyone who's not off the grid  you probably already know that companies are tracking our movements. Apps track where we shop, the items we search for, and where we like to travel. Companies are gathering as much data as they can, in large part to come up with more effective ads to sell us more stuff, or in the case of the government, to track suspicious activity.

VPR/Steve Zind

The importance of good broadband for work and education has been stated many times. Yet, as many clamor for faster speeds, there are hundreds of Vermonters still without anything the state considers broadband service.

Hilary Niles / VPR

With 17 sites around the state, Vermont Interactive Technologies offers real-time video conferencing services, so Vermonters don’t have to travel too far to participate in certain classes, public hearings and the like. But the state-supported nonprofit will be shuttered at the end of this year, and users are still figuring out what that means for them. 

Themba Hadebe / AP

The Montshire Museum in Norwich is about to receive a pretty remarkable donation: a cast of the bones of Homo naledi, an early humanoid and perhaps a direct ancestor of us. And thanks to efforts by researchers, those who would like a cast of their own can make one with a 3D printer.

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