The FSFE is helping to build an “Internet of Humans”
The Free Software Foundation Europe is a partner of the Next Generation Internet Zero consortium, which aims to build a more resilient, trustworthy and open Internet that empowers end users to control technology. The FSFE team provides support to NGI0 grantee projects on legal and licensing issues, as well as helping them to become REUSE compliant.
How are emerging technological innovations shaping our future? What will the Internet of the future look like? The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) believes that Free Software is the key to an Internet that is accessible, open, transparent and diverse and respects human rights in digital spaces. Therefore, since 2018, FSFE has been a partner of diverse projects that are part of the European Commission's Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative to make this dream become a living reality.
Transforming the Internet, one software project at a time
Since the beginning of 2023, the FSFE has been involved in two NGI Zero grant programmes, namely Entrust and Core. Both these programmes aim to create an "Internet of Humans", a virtuous circle of innovation through Free Software, open hardware and open standards. These programmes award grants through calls for proposals for software projects that work to improve privacy, trustworthiness and data sovereignty on the Internet. Submitted projects are judged on their technical merit, strategic relevance to the Next Generation Internet and overall value for money. The main objective is to deliver potential breakthrough contributions to the Open Internet, fostering Free Software alternatives to key elements of the Internet value chain and devices. All scientific results must be published as open access, and all software and hardware must be published in their entirety under a recognised free software or hardware licence.
The FSFE's team provides guidance to successful grantee projects on legal and licensing issues and helping them to become REUSE compliant. Through individual assessments and direct assistance, we aim to promote the display of unambiguous and perfectly human- and machine-readable licence and copyright information. Other consortium partners provide support for other issues that can improve each grantee software project, such as security, accessibility and translations, just to name a few.
"We have been partners of different Next Generation Internet Zero projects for the last five years as we want to empower users to control technology and for that, we need an open internet built on strong and transparent technologies. This will foster innovation and equality and will benefit everyone."Gabriel Ku Wei Bin, FSFE Legal Senior Project Manager.
Free Software licensing compliance is paramount
During our previous projects under the NGI Zero framework, the FSFE provided support to 296 participating software projects to help them with their legal and licensing issues, for example providing guidance to them on how to display copyright and licensing information in their repositories using our REUSE specification.
By encouraging the grantee software projects in the NGI Zero programmes to adopt our REUSE specification, the FSFE intends to facilitate management of their licensing and copyright information, by making how this information is added to the source code more consistent, and in ways which allow for automating many of the processes involved.
The REUSE specification is key to making the communication of licensing and copyright information of Free Software projects easier for everyone. With a set of best practices and the REUSE helper tool, adding this legal information in every single file of the project becomes a simple process.
If you are currently working on a software project that you feel fits the aims of the Next Generation Internet, we encourage you to apply to obtain funding and technical support from not just the FSFE, but also from our NGI Zero consortium partners. Calls for proposals take place on a rolling basis, and the deadline for the current call for proposals is on 1st August 2023, at 12:00 CEST.
The Next Generation Internet initiative
The Next Generation Internet (NGI) is a European Commission initiative that aims to shape the development and evolution of the Internet into an Internet of Humans. An Internet that responds to people’s fundamental needs, including trust, security, and inclusion, while reflecting the values and the norms all citizens enjoy in Europe. It aims to put in place the key technological building blocks of tomorrow’s Internet and to shape the future Internet as an interoperable platform ecosystem that embodies the values that Europe holds dear: openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation, and protection of data. The goal is to empower users with the freedom of choice among a range of Free Software decentralised digital solutions for the Internet and devices.