46 Sign OS Freedom Open Letter +++ Fair Market App +++ Your Digital Rights
In this Issue: an alliance of 46 entities - and counting - supports the universal right to install any software on any device. Free Software is being considered for inclusion in the EU Declaration of Digital Rights. FSFE's transparency in public procurement app gets to EU Datathon finals. Italian FSFE volunteers prepare tour.
46 Entities Request the EU for the Right to Reuse Hardware
The EU is redefining their ecodesign criteria for environmentally friendly electronics. The FSFE provided input by publishing an open letter demanding the right to install any software on any electronic device. This right would allow to keep our devices longer, but it requires manufacturers to follow certain rules. For example, manufacturers must be required to unlock bootloaders on all devices, including computers, tablets and phones; they must also publish full specifications for every component on the device. This allows us and any third party to better repair our devices, and even reuse parts of them. The use of Open Standards is also necessary for devices to communicate and operate with each other.
Initially 38 organisations agreed on the necessity of these conditions and signed the open letter before publication. It is still possible to sign the letter and more than 45 organisations have now signed. It speaks volumes that tech companies, right to repair initiatives, and important environmental organisations support the right to install any software on any device.
FSFE's App Prototype Shortlisted to EU Datathon Finals
The FSFE System Hackers created an application prototype aspiring to connect publicly available tendering and company data and to allow analysis of this data. The goal of the app is to allow citizens and experts to monitor suspicious market activity of public interest. The project idea has been a success and made it to the top six out of 26 entries in the ‘transparency in public procurement’ challenge of the EU Datathon 2022. Our team has now been invited to further develop the app.
Update: Digital Rights Declaration
The EU is in the process of discussing the Declaration of Digital Rights and Principles. The European Parliament has now agreed on a common text recognising Free Software as a way to ensure transparency in algorithms and artificial intelligence. The agreed text also stresses the need for 'trustworthy standards and, wherever possible, open source standards'. It encourages 'sustainable by design digital technologies that are durable, repairable, and interoperable, both on hardware and software level, and banning practices leading to premature obsolescence'. The FSFE keeps monitoring the ongoing inter-institutional dialogue trying to make sure that the Parliament proposal remains.
Update: AI Resolution Passed
The European Parliament passed a resolution on Artificial Intelligence (AI) with a huge majority. According to the resolution, public procurement should require Free Software, where appropriate, with the goal to encourage cross-border collaboration. The Parliament acknowledges that Free Software can enhance investments and boost innovation in AI technologies in the EU. The FSFE now urges the Parliament to transfer its own position into the AI regulation.
Save the Date!
- On 12 May the FSFE Berlin group has its regular monthly meeting.
- On 14 May the FSFE will have a booth in make-it.saarland in Saarbrücken, Germany and also our Policy Consultant Alexander Sander will give a talk ‘Innovation needs Free Software’ on Saturday and Sunday. On 19 May Alexander will discuss the challenges and perspectives of ethical and diversity-sensitive AI in the European context at the KIDD-Fachkonferenz panel in Berlin.
- On 20 May the FSFE Women group has its regular monthly meeting. In the last meeting, the group discussed the legal structure and the blogging network of the organisation.
- On 2 June there is an author reading of Ada & Zangemann [DE] in Cologne.
- On 14 June the FSFE local group Hamburg has its regular monthly meeting.
- Lucas Lasota, FSFE Legal Project Manager, is conducting a seminar on digital sovereignty at the Humboldt University of Berlin for the summer semester.
Past and Ongoing Activities
- On 4 May we held an online session about the future of Router Freedom in Austria. The recording [DE] will soon be available in our Peertube instance.
- Max Mehl, FSFE Programme Manager, wrote a blog post about a Python application he created for the FSFE infrastructure to automate reverse proxies for Docker containers, Docker2Caddy.
- We published a short video: What is Free Software (Open Source)? EN, DE. Matthias Kirschner, President of the FSFE, shared a blog post on how the video came to be made. To reach to possibly new audiences, we also uploaded the video to proprietary platforms EN, DE where you can upvote it to help new people learn about software freedom.
- „Nur ein Jahr länger…“ – Politik und Software rund um’s Smartphone [DE], the talk by FSFE Programme Manager and sustainability expert Erik Albers at the Digital Social Summit 2022, is now available on our Peertube instance.
FSFE Local Groups
Italy | The Italian Translation team has worked on the PMPC brochure and it is now available in Italian. Friends of the team are kindly proofreading the brochure.
The Italian volunteers are also preparing a summer tour around the country to let people know that code paid for by the public should also be publicly available. The first stop in the tour is Trento, on June 7th. Learn more about the plans in the mailing lists or chats of Milano and Sicily. Meet the volunteers in the tour and get yourself a copy of the freshly translated PMPC brochure!
Zurich | The local group in Zurich is working on persuading public administrations to migrate to federated social networks. The group have been discussing the idea since early April, and the project gained a boost when many people and entities, including the European Union have been joining Mastodon. The group will meet again on 18 May 2022.
Netherlands | Building on the Zurich group's idea, the Dutch team brainstormed technical solutions to automatically post Dutch municipalities’ news to Mastodon. ‘What if we gather the RSS feeds of 345 Dutch municipalities and feed them to a Mastodon account?’ was a question that caught attention. Fani Partsafyllidou, Project Manager at FSFE, joined the last meeting. The next meeting is on Wednesday 25 May 20:00 CEST.
In the FSFE we want to empower users to control technology. But Free Software also helps to achieve ecological sustainability. That is why we joined the organising committee of the Bits & Bäume 2022 ('Bits and Trees') conference which will take place from 30 September to 2 October.
Passionate about sustainable Free Software solutions? Please let us and everyone else know at the conference! Submit a talk, a workshop or a fine piece of art to Bits & Bäume 2022. The Call for Participation for is open until 7 June.
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Your editor, Fani Partsafyllidou