(English) The Telematics Freedom Foundation is active again

TFF, TFF news No Comments »

Ci spiace, ma questo articolo è disponibile soltanto in English.

(English) New director for the Telematics Freedom Foundation

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Ci spiace, ma questo articolo è disponibile soltanto in English.

COPOWI: a “Free” ISP Provider through Free Telematics

floss, TFF, TFF news 1 Comment »

On a Smart Mobs blog post; i just discovered today about Copowi that is set out to offer a fully FLOSS ISP service, which would include also several additional guarantees for several rights of its users. They plan to release all their code under Affero License, as much as possible. They seemed very aligned towards our same goal of putting users in control of their telematics through social control (“Community” in their language) and FLOSS. It seems that our proposed tecniques of individual control through democratic processes could complement their approach very well.

Here is a letter we wrote to them today:

Hello,we just discovered your project. We have been working on very similar lines. From discussions with Henri Poole (creator of the Affero) and Richard Stallman, we have been working on ways to enable web user to have the same freedom over a web service as they have over a FLOSS app running on a GNU/Linux PC. We are in the process of devising ways in which, certain hosting requirements and joint democratic control by users could achieve such individual control. We’d be interested for example in a partnership in the implementation of a first deployment.Rufo Guerreschiwww.telematicsfreedom.org

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How to prevent software patent holders to stop Free Software take-over

floss, general, license, patents, software, TFF, TFF news 1 Comment »

The thousands of generic software patents held by large software giants, and other dedicated private entities, are increasingly becoming a huge and unfair barrier for new software companies, development communities and products to achieve wide market adoption.
In fact, as a software product competes with a product made by one of those large patent holders, they will sue or threaten to sue developers and/or large organization and corporate users for the infringement of their patents.

There are 2 approaches to solve this problem:
(1) The problem would be easily solved politically: (a) Put some sanity in the standards for approval of software patent claims; (b) re-proportion the duration of patent holders rights to the average duration of “useful economic life” of a software invention, so as not to prevent the ability of the wider population to and new creators to benefit from the use and remixing of those ideas. Efforts to enact this changes are under way, but it seems that lobbying efforts in the opposite direction are stronger (see for example the extension of copyright duration in the US and the continued awarding of ridiculous software patents).

(2) Another solutions is represented by the creation of a copylefted” patent pool.
Here’s how it would work: A well founded and solid non-profit organization would:
- aggressively solicit the assignment to it of a large number of software patent rights
- it would instantly issue an irrevocable full license to such patents ideas to anyone in the world, except to anyone who will anytime in the future sue, or threaten to sue, anyone over software patent claims.

This article that appeared today shows encouraging signs for the possible success of this strategy.

Software capital of the world rules out e-voting

democracy, e-voting, general, politics, TFF news No Comments »

It is great news that California – the software capital state of the world, the economy best positioned to benefit from a worldwide e-voting market, and lead state in many areas of legislation – has decided to de-certify all e-voting systems.
Most, or possibly all, e-voting systems available today are just not at all ready for prime time!

Let’s hope well-intentioned world politicians hear this loud and clear message among the PR noise of e-voting system sellers!

At the very least, this should push back lunatic attempts to have, at present, binding web or sms governmental elections.

Free Telematics: a model for the democratic control of telematic services

do2gether, general, license, TFF, TFF news 7 Comments »

It is not enough for citizens to be told to have certain rights as users of a given telematic service, under a license (such as FLOSS), or a legislations (such a national and global privacy protection regulations) or under a contract with the service provider (such as Terms of Use).
To actually control a telematic service, or a web service, a user needs reasonable practical means to verify the software AND the hardware of all servers which run at and beyond the point of decryption of his communications with such service (or “end servers”).
If such “end servers” interact with other external network services, he will know – by having access to the code of the “end servers” – which services, and all the details and conditions of such interactions.
It is not necessary to control servers and networks in between the client device and the “end servers”, as we can reasonably rely on the power of the latest encryption to totally secure from all software, hardware and cables in between. In fact, the communication could be intercepted in between, but the content could not be read. It could be stopped or deviated in between, but there is free software that, installed on both client and server can prevent that, or at least verify that it did happens.
This is not new. Democracies, for centuries now, have always provided citizens with reasonable means to verify that key constitutional rights were not widely abused. When I go to vote, I do not simply have the right that my vote be secret and fairly counted, but I rely on a good number of other citizens, randomly selected or with conflicting interests, which prevent the bad guys to put in place large scale abuses of such rights. There are also a number of process regulations, such as recounts, that further prevent such frauds.
In fact, in order to provide such concrete control over telematics, server rooms (or “cages”) hosting a such “free” telematic service could be physically managed applying those same (or enhanced) physical security provisions that are currently applied to ballot boxes during an election. In practice, physical access to such servers would be enabled only while a few randomly selected or elected users (or citizens) are physically present. For a more detail explanation on how that may be accomplished, see our proposed hosting requirements for such service
According to this model of telematic service provisioning, anyone could deploy a “free” telematic services, by developing new software or freely installing or extending any publicly available FLOSS software, and running those according to such hosting requirements.
Anyone can do this, without breaching any FLOSS license, by requiring the signing of a copyright assignment, or similar statement, whenever users, or anyone, wants to access the software source code.

For more info on how set up such “free” telematics service, see our draft Service Access Policies at Plonegroups.org

Rufo Guerreschi

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Telematics, Global democracy and Media Democracy

democracy, general, media, software, telematics, TFF, TFF news, world 1 Comment »

Telematics, the integrated use of telecommunications and informatics, is the most crucial industry sector for the future of humanity. It is key to the indispensable updating and possible deepening of our democratic systems, through their adequate extension to the global level and to the main systems of public opinion formation. Only such extension, in fact, will avoid that citizens of the world will stand, both powerless and unaware, while largely unaccountable interests lead them to ultimate nuclear, environmental and biological catastrophe.
The patterns of control over network-enabled software that will become legal and predominant over the next few years, will weigh more than anything on a definite slide of humanity towards, either its extinction, or an unprecedented deepening of democracy and freedom.

Telematics can be defined as ways software programs are used to control hardware devices and data networks to provide a communication experience. Software is not only the key element of information networks like the Internet and the Web but, by now and increasingly, of practically all those media that originated as bare telecommunication channels, such as: radio, analog TV, satellite and digital TV, mobile phones.

Paradoxically, over the next few years, the practical nature of certain telematics innovations, especially those enabling remote democratic organizing and audience-controlled mass self communications, and the way our democratic societies will legislate and enforce their access and control, will be the main potential instrument for reviving democracy and therefore substantially reducing the abovementioned risks.

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