Presented by

  • Kevin O'Reilly

    Kevin O'Reilly

    Kevin O'Reilly is a leader in the Right to Repair movement. As the Right to Repair campaign director at the Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, he leads the group's work on medical and agricultural Right to Repair. Kevin's research has demonstrated how modern tractors are engineered to restrict independent repair, how dealership consolidation further erodes farmers' repair choices, and how Right to Repair would save U.S. farmers $4.2 billion per year. He has organized hundreds of farmers and medical repair technicians from all over the country to push for change at all levels of government, and worked closely with legislators at the state and federal level to develop and advance effective legislation. Most recently, he was a leader in the coalition that passed the country's first agricultural Right to Repair law in Colorado. Kevin's work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, Politico and more.


​​In the evolving landscape of the digital world, the Right to Repair movement has made substantial strides towards restoring consumer control and promoting sustainable practices when it comes to our devices. Coming off a breakthrough year with numerous legislative breakthroughs, it's important that we understand the building blocks of our campaign's success and look to the challenges that lie ahead, particularly in the realm of free and open-source software (FOSS). So far, 2023 has seen governors in three states sign Right to Repair bills into law: a consumer electronics focused bill in New York, a Minnesota law that improved upon the New York bill and added in enterprise electronics, and a first-of-its kind Colorado law targeting tractors and other farm equipment. We'll talk about the problems that those bills solve, the industries that we still need to address, and our plan to make translate those state-level victories into nationwide change. All this progress didn't occur overnight. We'll explore the strategic and tactical building blocks that contributed to the success of the Right to Repair movement, and dissect the combination of advocacy, legislation, and public education campaigns that were instrumental turning our policy ideas into concrete change. The conversation will then shift to discuss the next push for this movement: breaking free from the confines of proprietary software. As our focus expands from hardware to software, the talk will illuminate the importance of FOSS in establishing full ownership of devices and how FOSS can help bridge the gap between physical and digital repairability. In particular, we'll discuss the infrastructure that we need to build—coalitions, research, legal arguments, and engineering capacity—and the incremental steps we need to take to bring about our vision, all with an eye toward the model that the Right to Repair movement has established. Finally, this talk will address the role of the FOSS community in pushing for the same level of success as the Right to Repair movement. It will shed light on how the community needs to rethink and intensify its efforts to promote open-source software, ensure user freedom, and counter the monopolistic practices of proprietary software developers. Suggestions will be offered for actionable steps that the FOSS community can take to leverage their resources, foster collaborative innovation, and drive significant change in this space. This talk promises to offer a holistic view of the Right to Repair movement, its intersection with FOSS, and a call to action for the open-source community. By looking at where we've been, where we stand, and where we need to go, we can chart our path into the next frontier for our digital rights and ownership.