As a reader of our website, you are aware of the importance of Free Software for a free society. The FSFE has been fighting for Free Software since 2001. Since then, we have made a big difference by exercising political pressure, helping Free Software developers with legal expertise, and building public awareness for software freedom. To continue this important work, we need a total budget of 390,000 Euro for 2014. We are currently still 160,000 short of this goal.
News Archive for 2013
The FSFE empowers users to control technology with its diverse activities and concrete engagement for software freedom. Follow us and make sure to receive regular updates and deeper insights on our various channels.
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For a long time, cars were a symbol of freedom and independence. No longer. In its Zoe electric car, car maker Renault apparently has the ability to remotely prevent the battery from charging. And that’s more chilling than it may sound.
Rockstar, a consortium of companies formed to collect certain patents put on sale in the dissolution procedure of Nortel, has sued Google and other companies over seven of those patents.
Today FSFE launches a new campaign to make young people aware of the digital restrictions that they tolerate. Microblogging and guerilla stickering form core components of this fresh strategy for engaging youth in fighting for digital freedom.
It was 30 years ago that Richard Stallman announced the GNU project. An initiative that started with a programmer's frustration over a broken printer driver has changed our society. The idea of software that everyone can use, study, share and improve has proven very powerful indeed.
A coalition of more than 265 organisations launched a list of 13 International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communication Surveillance. The groups officially presented the list of principles on Friday last week during the 24th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
We need computers we can trust. The recent news about planet-wide surveillance make clear how important computer systems are for our society. Control of these computer systems needs to be in the hands of their users.
Privacy is a fundamental human right, and is central to maintaining democratic societies. FSFE joins more than 100 other organisations in demanding that states respect human rights, and bring their surveillance apparatus under democratic control. We have signed the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance. These principles are an important contribution to the discussion about how to provide security in a free society. More than one year in the making, they are now more relevant than ever.
FSFE has sent an open letter to Estonia's National Electoral Committee (NEC) regarding the country's Internet voting system. We ask the NEC to release the software used in the election process as Free Software.
In a recent antitrust submission to the European Commission, a Microsoft-led coalition falsely claimed that the distribution of Free Software free of charge hurts competition. FSFE has written a letter to the European Commission's competition authorities to refute this claim, and make it clear that Free Software is critical for an open, competitive IT market.
FSFE supports the Open Letter to stop surveillance. The letter calls for twelve political steps including the development and promotion of Free Software for digital self-defence. The letter was initiated by Digitale Gesellschaft and also signed by several organisations including CCC, Creative Commons Germany, the German journalist association, DigitalCourage, EFF, EDRI, Greenpeace Central/East Europe, Transparency International Germany, the German Consumer Protections, Wikimedia, and others.
Free Software Foundation Europe and Open Rights Group have sent an open letter [pdf] to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. Mr Schulz has recently been asked [pdf] to produce a study on transparency within the Parliament.
In an article published today, The Guardian describes how Microsoft is actively cooperating with the NSA. According to the article, Microsoft is providing the NSA with broad access to the communications of anyone using the company's services:
Today Hemlis, a proposal for a new encrypted mobile messaging app, received $125,000 in crowdfunding. It’s wonderful to see ambitious new software projects get support from the community, but how open will it be?
Today, the Free Software Foundation Europe publishes its Free Software related election questions for this fall's elections to the German parliament, which will take place on September 22. All political parties have responded to the questions, which cover issues like users' control over their electronic devices, the release of publicly funded computer programs as Free Software, and software patents.
The Regional Court of Hamburg [Landgericht Hamburg] found FANTEC GmbH guilty of violating the GNU General Public License in their media player FANTEC 3DFHDL. In the case between Harald Welte versus FANTEC GmbH the court decided that FANTEC has to pay a penalty fee plus additional costs for the lawyers, and has to give out the exact information about their chain of distribution of the FANTEC 3DFHDL Media Player.
In a Communication published today, the European Commission urges public bodies to break free from vendor lock-in in their IT systems. The Commission wants public bodies to rely on standards rather than brand names and proprietary technology when they buy software.
Faced with user protests, Microsoft has been forced to make the terms for its latest Xbox gaming console look a little less restrictive. However, the “new” terms which had caused such outrage were not in fact new at all: they were similar to most other proprietary software licences, including those covering other Microsoft software products and on-line services.
On Friday the 7th of June the German Parliament decided upon a joint motion to limit software patents (see English translation by BIKT). The Parliament urges the German Government to take steps to limit the granting of patents on computer programs. Software should exclusively be covered by copyright, and the rights of the copyright holders should not be devalued by third parties' software patents. The only exception where patents should be allowed are computer programs which replace a mechanical or electromagnetic component. In addition the Parliament made clear that governmental actions related to patents must never interfere with the legality of distributing Free Software.
In a case of a Slovak company protesting against being forced to use non-free software to file taxes, a court has failed to rule on the substance of the case.
As reported in the our last newsletter, W3C wants to implement usage controls on the web. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) now published a formal objection to the HTML working group draft charter. Free Software Foundation Europe fully supports EFF's objections.
In April the German Parliament (the 'Bundestag') has introduced a joint motion against software patents. It urges the German government to take steps to limit the granting of patents on computer programs. After the first hearing in Parliament, Matthias Kirschner was invited for FSFE as external expert to the legal committee meeting on May 13th. FSFE published a written statement and we published the notes of our oral presentation. There will be a second meeting of a committee and afterwards on the 6th of June the Parliament will vote upon the motion.
This Friday, May 3rd 2013, FSFE is joining the 8th international "Day against DRM" campaign in the call to end Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). The fight against DRM has been gathering momentum in the past weeks. Freedom activists rallied against DRM in HTML5, stressing this technology's harmful effects on innovation and user's freedom. On today's Day Against DRM, our sister organisation the Free Software Foundation will deliver the petition signatures opposing DRM in HTML5 to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)in Boston.
Today, May 3rd 2013, is the international day against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). Usually, the term DRM refers to various restrictions that companies – or any other content provider – impose on digital media and data. These restrictions are there to let providers decide what you can do with your media and data and what not. This blog entry sheds light on a related issue: the loss of digital and physical control of your own device.
On April 27, the administrative court of Almada, Portugal, declared a 550, 000 Euro contract between Microsoft and the municipality of Almada to be illegal. The technical specifications of the competition launched by the municipality prevented any company other than Microsoft and their partners to submit a proposal.
Join us in calling on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and its member organisations to reject the Encrypted Media Extensions proposal (EME). This proposal aims at incorporating support for Digital Restriction Management (DRM) into HTML and would therefore exclude Free Software browsers from being compatible with many web pages.
A group of Free Software activists from Romania and Moldova has joined FSFE's program of associate organisations. Active since 2008, Ceata incorporated as a foundation in February 2013. Fundația Ceata and FSFE will work together to promote software freedom in Romania and throughout Europe.
The German Parliament, the Bundestag, has introduced a joint motion against software patents. The resolution urges the German government to take steps to limit the granting of patents on computer programs.
On April 8, Microsoft will discontinue its Windows Messenger service. All current users will be switched to Skype. The Free Software Foundation Europe advises former users of Windows Messenger to take this as an opportunity to embrace Open Standards such as Jabber (XMPP) instead of switching to Skype.
The German newspaper taz.die tageszeitung (TAZ) receives this year's Document Freedom Day award. With this award, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) honour organisations that make exemplary use of Open Standards.
In 30 countries around the world, activists are celebrating Open Standards on today's Document Freedom Day, an annual campaign to promote Open Standards. More than 50 groups are hosting events around the world, from Brussels to Nicaragua to Nepal.
…Heiki "Repentinus" Ojasild! The election period for this year's Fellowship GA seat has ended on March 15 and it was exciting until the end. Albert Dengg who also stood for the Fellowship GA seat promised to stay around and continue his great work for FSFE in their area.
Last week, the European Commission slapped the company with a fine of more than 500 million EUR for breaching a settlement over the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows. Karsten Gerloff, the president of the FSFE, is explaining position of the Free Software Foundation Europe.
Every year on February 14th people celebrate love, relationship with others.. and for the third year running, the wonders of Free Software. All around the world people expressed their love during the "I love Free software" day. We would like to thank you for participating, and share some lovely quotes, dents, tweets, blog entries and articles that were done because of your dedication to Free Software. When developers will read your declarations, they will definitely find extra energy to carry on their good work.
On February 14th Free Software Foundation Europe asks all Free Software users to show their appreciation for Free Software. FSFE suggests to take this day as an opportunity to say "thank you" to one of the dedicated hard-working people in the Free Software community.