Last week on the Internet: Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace anniversary, strong net neutrality rules, FSF new campaign and certified laptop


  • On 8th of February, we celebrated the 19th anniversary of John Perry Barlow’s visionary and powerful text A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. “Weary giants of flesh and steel”, how the co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation was naming in his text the Governments of the Industrial World, are showing today their old authoritarian values. They are fighting strongly, but clearly self-destructing, the new paradigm of what Barlow called “Cyberspace, the new home of Mind”.
  • Germany, like many other countries, is publicly showing concern for their citizens in front of US’s mass surveillance programs, while in secret it is happy to be part of these programs. The German data protection commissioners take action against EU data transfers to US under the ‘Safe Harbor’ program, while the German subsidiary of US telecoms provider, MCI, gave to the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) access to its phone lines (GE).
  • Secrecy and the unchecked state power are always a danger, and some of its first victims are journalists. Wikileaks’s secret criminal investigation is troubling for journalists and it is showing many important flaws in the system.
  • While governments and companies alike try to convince us, in any way possible, that privacy is dead, we should ask ourselves: [pull_quote_center]If privacy was really dead, would everyone be trying so hard to kill it? [/pull_quote_center]
  • Phil Zimmermann, the creator of the PGP encryption system, is arguing that “Intelligence agencies have never had it so good and that protecting privacy by using encryption in our everyday computing would not be a compromise on security, as our governments try to convince us: [pull_quote_center]To complain that end-to-end encryption is crippling them? It’s like having a couple of missing pixels in a large display[/pull_quote_center]But UK’s Security services want the whole display and more; they are capable of bypassing encryption, a new public draft code reveals.  
  • Laura Poitras wins with Citizenfour the DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary. Edward Snowden, the protagonist of the documentary, is the living proof of the importance of encryption for democracy. And for that, here are 2 new guides for making your daily computing safe: from EFF a great rich resource – Surveillance Self-Defense; and for your website/domain a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA) Let’s Encrypt.
  • DemocracyOS, the promising collaborative decision making tool, is taking coverage under BBC: Democracy at the touch of a button?

Net Neutrality

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founding director of World Wide Web Foundation, gave  an interview last week to the the European Commission guest blog, speaking about net neutrality.
  • The artist who snooped on Google’s data farm is reversing the surveillor-surveilled roles.

Free Software & Open Source

  • Some interesting news about several unexpected actors of the Open Source environment:

        – the US Army has just open-sourced its security software;

        – Ford Foundation expands Creative Commons licensing for all grant-funded projects;

        – Open source is now part of Romania’s Digital Agenda (23-Dec-14).

declaration-of-independence-of-cyberspace-ilovefs-heart-short-copy-3-10-febLibreboot X200 laptop is now FSF-certified to respect your freedom. It can easily become a part of anyone’s arsenal for facing today’s undemocratic challenges.

I ♥ Free Software – FSFE – Free Software Foundation is spreading the love with a new campaign.  Other activities can be checked out in their newsletter FSFE Newsletter.


Featured image based on: John Perry Barlow, Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation-1688 – by @Kmeron for LeWeb13 Conference @ Central Hall Westminster – London // CC BY 2.0