FSFE Newsletter - September 2015
FSFE supports users' control over their online data
Nowadays we use online services for everything and increasingly provide our data to them. However we also lose the control of our own data more than ever. Together with other organisations FSFE supports the publication of the User Data Manifesto 2.0 which promotes users' basic rights to control their data while using online services. According to the manifesto, users must control the access to their data, they have to know if their data is stored by the online services, and they have to be able to freely choose a platform without being forced to vendor lock-in. The manifesto is a good starting point for the debate about users' rights online, and FSFE looks forward to other organisations joining the effort to stand for online services that respect users' fundamental rights.
Compulsory routers: Another one bites the dust
The router, although often a device covered with dust in some corner at home, is an important part of your local network and phone. A lot of users in Germany do not own this device, although it stands in their home and they pay for its power. At least that is still the case. On August 12th, the German Federal Ministry of the Economy (BMWi) passed a reworked draft bill that would free users from compulsory router lock-in. The draft ensures that internet users in Germany can use whatever routers they want to connect to the internet.
The bill now has to be adopted by the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) and the Federal Assembly (Bundesrat). So far the comments concerned only a small formal ambiguity, but we have to make sure this law passes without any negative changes and that it is afterwards implemented. We have a detailed update which also describes how you can help us in Germany at the moment! Besides that we summarised the issue and we are constantly updating our timeline so in case this topic comes up in your country, you can reuse our arguments.
New German Coordinators and dissolving the German association
In his blog post your editor outlined the process of streamlining the FSFE by dissolving the last remaining country chapter, known as the FSFE Chapter Germany e.V. This step was decided last year in November with the goal to remove some bureaucratic burdens associated with maintaining a legal entity. However as you can read in the article, dissolving an organisation is not as easy as it may sound; but we hope to complete this process in April of next year.
FSFE is happy to announce that Max Mehl and Björn Schießle became the new coordinators of the German team last month, and from now on will hopefully not spend many hours per year dealing with bureaucracy. Both have been a part of FSFE for a long time now and have been helping us to achieve our goal to empower people to control technology. Just recently, Björn wrote an article on the German blog Netzpolitik.org about the User Data Manifesto (see above in English), and Max just published an update on compulsory routers as mentioned above, along with an article on Netzpolitik.org about it.
Something completely different
- Paul Boddie started with the Fellowship interviews again: he talked with Neil McGovern who is a Fellow of the FSFE from the United Kingdom and the current Debian Project Leader.
- Hugo Roy, FSFE's deputy legal coordinator wrote an article (in French) about a copyright case between Skype and a French software company which decompiled parts of Skype in order to, allegedly, build a system interoperable with it. Interestingly enough, the court found that company's disclosure of the source code was illegal, but that using the code to build a new interoperable program was legal.
- FSFE has a new role in the Bacula project. Over the coming months, the FSFE will wind down its previous role as a fiduciary for Bacula, effectively transferring its copyright to Kern. However, the FSFE will continue to work with Kern and contributors to ensure that Bacula will remain as Free Software, as per our original agreement.
- Next month FSFE will have a booth at the "Rotlintstraßenfest" in Frankfurt on 19 September and a booth at the "Kieler Open Source and Linuxtage" from 18-19 September.
- From the planet aggregation:
- Nikos Roussos was guided by Open Street Map during his vacations and afterwards he spent time to improve the Open Street Map with the data he gathered during his trip so everybody will benefit from it again.
- Daniel Pocock published the second part of his how-to about "recording live events like a pro".
- Paul Boddie commented on the new Fairphone and wrote about his passion for microcomputer systems from the 1980s and his experience with PCB design.
- Mario Fux unveils the secret ingredient for the success of the "Randa Meetings" -- the KDE meetings in the Swiss Alps -- which took place for the sixth time this year.
- On a more technical side Peter Bubestinger, FSFE's Austrian coordinator and technician at the National Video-Archive, wrote about rescuing videotapes.
- Kevin Keitzer wrote about some SSH magic in "Connecting to a server’s web interface over SSH", and about how to track airplanes and do other interesting things with "software-defined radio on GNU/Linux".
Get active: translate and improve translations of our mission statement
"Free Software Foundation Europe is a charity that empowers users to control technology. Software is deeply involved in all aspects of our lives. It is important that this technology empowers rather than restricts us. Free Software gives everybody the rights..." That is how FSFE's recently updated mission statement starts. We hope that it will help us to get more people to understand what we are doing. We already have translations into Albanian, Dutch, English, Finnish, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, and Turkish.
Please help us to get more translations, and to check the exisiting translations for easy readability for everybody.