Rising demands for Dutch digital autonomy +++ REUSE Booster +++ Torsten Grote
Dutch digital public services rely increasingly on monopolistic companies; the FSFE Dutch team actively demands digital rights. In June, we launched REUSE Booster to share legal advice with Free Software projects on copyright. We interviewed Torsten Grote, a member of the FSFE, who stressed the need to Free our Androids early on.
Dutch Digital Autonomy is undermined; demands for Free Software are rising
The Netherlands is becoming dependent on a digital infrastructure that is dominated by a small number of monopolistic companies. Although the Dutch Cyber Security Council recognises the consequent risk, their report neglects focusing on Open Standards and Free Software, the proven best practices to face this problem. The FSFE calls on the Dutch government to stand firm and get a grip on their digital security and autonomy by adhering to Open Standards and Free Software, in line with their earlier commitment to use Free Software by default.
Our team emphatically defends digital rights in the Netherlands. In 2018, Jos van den Oever noticed that the 'Debat Direct' app could not be downloaded to his Firefox OS phone. In other words, the official application for parliamentary debates was not available under a Free Software license. Jos' request to get the app's source code was denied, and he brought the case to court. The Council of State ruled on 31 March 2021 that the Parliament does not have to publish the source code. As a result, the participation app remains closed to those who wish to use only Free Software apps.
Jos van den Oever, the person behind this initiative, is a FSFE volunteer and part of our country team Netherlands. Its members kept in touch even during the pandemic, when they had to replace booths for online meetings. Nico Rikken, one of the two coordinators, shares his experiences about this transition in a blogpost, and calls anyone interested to join the FSFE community based in the Netherlands.
REUSE Booster supports Free Software projects with licensing
REUSE has facilitated the licensing of Free Software projects. Developers are given standardised ways to mark all files in a project with their chosen license and copyright notice. A tutorial, a set of FAQs, a helper tool, and an API have been made available to lower the threshold and save time.
With REUSE Booster, the FSFE takes this initiative a step further. Free Software projects can seek tailored support with licensing and copyright by legal experts now. Each project will be evaluated individually and the recommendations will apply to its particular situation. Register until 8 July to get your Free Software project on board.
20 Years FSFE: Envisioning free operating systems in smartphones with Torsten Grote
In our fourth birthday publication we reminisce about the emergence of the first smartphones. We are interviewing Torsten Grote, who explored Free Software alternatives for smartphones as early as 2012. A programmer as well as a Free Software activist, Torsten shares his memories of the developments of alternative operating systems and applications for smartphones. Finally, we would not miss this chance to ask him what options there are today for liberating our phones.
This year the FSFE celebrates its 20th anniversary. Support our work for the next 20 years to come
Internal: The FSFE is migrating its IRC presence to Libera Chat.
Learn how to join us. We are moving from Freenode to Libera Chat, following the migration of its network of volunteer staff. We share our thoughts that led the FSFE to migrate its IRC presence.
What we have done
- On June 28th, Erik Albers, Sustainability Programme Manager of the FSFE, spoke at the Round Table "How do we shape and grow a green tech sector?" organised by the Greens/EFA. In his presentation, Erik Albers explained the role software design plays on the environmental impact of digital technologies. The Round Table is part of a wider effort of the Greens/EFA to compose a digital green manifesto.
- On June 23rd, Lucas Lasota, FSFE Deputy Legal Coordinator and Research Associate at Humboldt University of Berlin, moderated a round table on cybersecurity, human rights, and digital sovereignty together with Katerina Yordanova and Elisabetta Biasin from the KU Leuven Centre for IT & IP Law.
- On June 23rd, Irmhild Rogalla gave a talk in the FSFE Women group meeting about the accessibility of video conferencing tools, supporting a conferencing platform for all. The FSFE Women group meets on a monthly basis, and keeps it casual while providing an open space to discuss recent developments in the area of Free Software. Often meetings focus on one specific topic.
- On June 19th, Matthias Kirschner, FSFE's President, presented "20 Years FSFE: The long way for software freedom" at the openSUSE Conference to inform people on our work as an independent organisation.
- On June 18th, Bonnie Mehring, FSFE's junior project manager, presented "Public Money? Public Code!: A campaign framework to promote software freedom" at the openSUSE Conference. In the talk, she explained how the campaign framework can be used to push for the adoption of Free-Software-friendly policies in your area; be it your public administration, your library, your university, your city, your region, or your country.
- On June 16th, the Netherlands-based FSFE team held its regular monthly meeting. The meeting is open to everybody, and can switch to English if not everybody understands Dutch.
- On June 10th, Erik Albers participated in the "Zukunftswerkstatt Smart Living", where experts analyse sustainable design options for the ongoing digitization of our everyday life.
- On June 5th, Lina Ceballos and Alexander Sander gave a 'Public Money? Public Code!' workshop for our Italian community members.
- On June 4th, Lucas Lasota participated at the Impropedia show to talk about Free Software, Router Freedom, and Digital Rights. The event was hosted by KuZe Potsdam.
- On June 1st, Alexander Sander participated in the GnuLinuxNews-Podcast GLN011. He talked about Free Software during the Corona crisis (DE).
- On June 1st, FSFE's Alexander Sander presented the Public Money? Public Code! campaign in Netzpolitischer Abend, organised by Digitale Gesellschaft, and stressed that there are now no political excuses not to implement the concept.
- On May 27th, the FSFE Berlin local group met for their regular meeting which focuses on Education. Miriam from "Die Lernwerkstatt" introduced this organisation and gave a talk on the design of digital learning with tips on related platforms and techniques. A group discussion followed. In the Berlin Fellowship group, everyone is invited to discuss "Free Software and Education", share experiences, and work on liberating knowledge and education in Berlin and beyond.
- On May 26th, Alexander Sander gave a talk explaining why and how public administrations should use Free Software. He highlighted the benefits of this practice for public administrations, the economy and the society. The current procurement models and an outlook for the coming years were discussed.
Pack your T-shirt and educate those around you on the definition of Free Software during your summer holidays. If we have the right to use, study, share, and improve it, then it is Free Software. Our T-shirts are made of 100% organic cotton, and our collection includes a variety of colours and slogans.
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If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, please send them to us. As always, the address is email@example.com. We're looking forward to hearing from you! If you also want to support us and our work, join our community and support us with a donation or a monthly contribution. Thanks to our community and all the volunteers, supporters, and donors who make our work possible. And thanks to our translators, who enable you to read this newsletter in your native languages.
Your editor, Fani Partsafyllidou
The biggest financial impact the FSFE faces in these times of physical distancing is the cancellation of Free Software conferences, including our own events. To keep the software freedom movement solid and alive, please consider donating a part of your conference budget to Free Software organisations, including the FSFE.