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Freedom in a Box

My talk about privacy, decentralization, self-hosting, freedom of speech and FreedomBox.

It's a non-technical talk meant to spread awareness about the dangers of mass surveillance and the alternatives that exist to centralized systems.

Links to slides are in the video description.

Delivered at ThoughtWorks Hyderabad for the 46th edition of GeekNight on 2nd Jan, 2019.

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Digital Empowerment in Rural India - powered by FreedomBox.

Sudhamsh Kandukuri and I presented yesterday at XConf India 2018.

An inspiring story of a grassroots movement where people rejected Facebook's Free Basics and installed low-cost community Wi-Fi networks instead.
A FreedomBox on the network provides most of the essential digital services required, offline.


Video recording: coming soon!

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All it costs to fulfill the average person's needs for digital services is a $5 per month VPS instance. It's even cheaper if you buy a single board computer and host your services at home.

We've been letting companies steal our personal data and sell it to the highest bidder and destroying democracy in the process all to save what? A coffee a month?

This is one of the worst deals in history.

A friend of mine who works at the Wikimedia Foundation wants to spread the word that they are hiring for two research positions:

Research Engineer:

Research Scientist (Disinformation):

Application deadline is Aug 31. You'd be working remotely in either case. I can put you in touch with my friend, if you have questions.

Screw chaos monkey randomly shutting down production machines to test resiliency

People should be given random vacation days to see what knowledge isn't distributed

When I began using computers, there was this thing called RSS.

That allows me to read things from your blog/site, without open it. It was good, because there plenty of implementations, and therefore I can read in multiple platforms and get away with things I don't want but could have on your website like tracking, ads, unwanted pop-ups, the ugly design of your blog and focus on what I (and you should) want on your blog/website:

your content, your message.

Please, have a RSS Feed

So many people saying they're switching from Firefox. Won't this only make the problem worse?

If you're switching to Brave or qutebrowser or UnGoogled Chromium or something, you're only strengthening Google's monopoly. If you're switching to a Webkit-based browser like Epiphany, you're shifting the monopoly towards Safari, whose parent company doesn't consider the Web a priority.

That Mozilla has bad management doesn't change the fact that Firefox is the most viable option for the open web.

so tired about US tech people posting about covid19 contact tracing apps. they don't work, they never worked, they haven't worked anywhere. the solution is not more tech the solution is public healthcare and giving money to people to stay home. stop making apps

@technomancy @jakob But I think that also leads to optimism of a path out.

Weird thought: if Mozilla falters, maybe this could lead to enough entrenchment by Google controlling browsers and just making them straight up unpleasant enough that it actually leads to the downfall of browsers.

For the first time since the 90s, I'm considering "maybe stuff built for the web not only might not last in terms of bitrotting, but maybe people will stop using web browsers and switch to something else"

@jakob I think it's more that the resources just plain aren't there, period.

previously you could say "no one except Google and Mozilla has the massive resources to fund a project as expensive as the development of a browser" and now it's more obvious that it's "no one except Google".

it's foolish of the Mozilla management to keep what little they have on non-browser-engine projects, but the writing was on the wall before yesterday; it was never going to be feasible in the long run regardless.

I'm now wondering if I should start seeking funding for developing my new browser engine. Any advice?

I was going to wait until I finished my verbal browser "Rhapsode", and seek funding for a smart TV browser. I'm not sure that's the right path anymore...

If had fallen asleep in 2001 and woke up now...

Google owns a monopoly on browsers.

Microsoft owns a defacto monopoly on the servers where almost all of FOSS is located and development is done.

Micosoft's IDE is also what all the Kool Kids are using and is rapidly taking over.

ISP's are a monopoly in most locations in the USA: Comcast, AT&T, and a few others, but many places have just one (1) choice. South Korea (and indeed much of the world) has far better residential and mobile internet connectivity than the USA.

Almost all the servers on the internet are running Linux.... but owned by Amazon, Inc. and rented to people on an hourly basis.

All the personal devices are running either Linux or FreeBSD, but owned and closed down by Apple or Google and cellular carriers.

One of the most dominant languages is JavaScript. Some of other most dominant languages are owned by Google, Oracle, and Microsoft.

Steve Jobs is dead, Bill Gates is retired, and RMS has been run out of town on a rail for being a creep.

Endless September has been extended to a large portion of the world, who is all online and trolling each other relentlessly on massive privately-owned walled-garden fora owned by corporations. Elections have been turned by desinformatsaya purposely spread via these fora and there's no way to stop it.

Tech Will Not Save Us. I am begging you to understand that simple fact

Our software is only as free as the tools we use to make it

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I don't think we lack technical solutions

We lack the culture

We don't need to implement stuff

We need to talk and think more

Gonna start referring to Git as my "source control blockchain." Send money to get in on my Series A.

And yes, it will always happen: people see business opportunities and jump in, and with venture capital it is possible to put-organize us, again and again. Welcome to capitalism. But there’s hope: the grim reaper that cuts down enterprises in a pandemic, in an economic crisis. When profits are gone, we’re still there. Gopher is still there. RSS is still there. Plan 9 is still there. Emacs is still there. (Vim, too.) Forth is still there. Email is still there.

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@Shufei @alcinnz I've been mentoring a 15-year-old in the ways of sysadmin. They wanted to set up a pastebin, and the top of the list is Hastebin, written in node.js. They recoiled in horror at the sheer list of dependencies that apt wanted to bring in just to get the environment built.

We switched to looking at Privatebin. About 15 minutes later they had the PHP environment up and the app running.

The kids these days, they're alright.

FOSS is good when it threatens capitalism and gives power to otherwise marginalized voices. It is not inherently good, though, nor is it a means to itself

Further proof that #encryption helps protect your data - The Chinese government is now blocking TLS 1.3 and ESNI, which makes it harder to know certain domain information.

But, it's not just in #China that these things occur...

The US government is currently trying to weaken your ability to use encryption too. If you believe in a more private and secure #Internet, please speak out to your member of #Congress and share why #privacy matters to you.

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