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FSFE wins EU Datathon +++ YH4F winners and new round +++ No to chat control


FSFE’s ‘TEDective’, a program helping to analyse public spending, wins first prize in the EU Datathon and our very own Youth Hacking 4 Freedom contest starts again. An EU draft law might end secure chats. Citizens in Sweden have a say with the Free Software Decidim and the FSFE Switzerland asks administrations to join federated social media.

FSFE’s open data app TEDective wins EU Datathon

The FSFE’s proposal ‘TEDective’ won the first prize in ‘transparency in public procurement’ challenge in the EU Datathon – the European open data competition. TEDective works with public EU tendering data. The prototype program helps us analyse how public administrations in the European Union spend their money. For example, it allows journalists to find out how much money the government spends on Microsoft licenses and products, but also it helps to compare that spending with other regions in similar cases or even in relation to other countries. Are you a data expert who wants to help? Email tedective@fsfe.org.

Organiser hands over glass plaque to a person on a stage
Alexander Sander and Linus Sehn, members of the TEDective team, receive EU Datathon award.

YH4F winners!

After a year of coding and evaluation, the Youth Hacking 4 Freedom competition came to an end, giving us amazing projects. Over a hundred people coming from 25 countries registered for the competition, making it a truly pan-European event. The six winning programs offer sign language transcription, a smart table robot, a personal assistant, a music tutorial, file sharing, and a homework manager. All Free Software.

Four young people smiling holding trophies and participation certificates
Four winners, Ekaterina, Miquel, Héctor, and Stavros, with their awards. Brussels, October 2022.

Do you want to get to know some of the participants and their motivation? Check our interview! Alexia, Ekaterina, and Miquel introduce themselves.

A table with a tray and storage space coming out. On the right,    a wheelchair fits closely in front of the table, as the table has a    gap on the feet level. On the left, a young person holds the    controller of the table
Miquel demonstrates Smart Table Assistant. Get to know three of the participants in their interview.

YH4F competition starts again!

The registration for the second edition of “Youth Hacking 4 Freedom”, the FSFE’s hacking competition for teenagers from all over Europe, just started. This contest offers young people aged between 14 and 18 the opportunity to challenge themselves, meet like-minded people, and win cash prizes. Register until 31 December 2022 and share the opportunity with schools and young hackers!

EU draft law might end secure chats

The European Commission proposed a directive on mandatory chat control with the supposed aim to effectively tackle child sexual abuse. If the law is enforced, Internet service providers will have to monitor and scan all communications of citizens – including the securely encrypted end-to-end ones. It is a threat to all our private communication. On top of that, it is only big market players who can carry out this enforced necessity to scan every single message. It would hinder Free Software developers from writing and running their own versions of communication software, and may deprive us of open standard programming interfaces.

Podcast: Citizens participate in local administrations

Now it is easier than ever for a municipality to ask its citizens what building projects to prioritise, how to distribute a given budget, or other questions. In our latest Software Freedom Podcast, Petter Joelson, director of the Swedish NGO Digidem Lab, explains the power of the participation platform “Decidim” based on its implementation in Sweden. With Decidim, municipalities can design citizen processes in a modular way to fit their needs.

Two people smiling in a selfie
Petter Joelson is our guest in our New Software Freedom Podcast episode.

Swedish administrations use participatory budgets – budgets in which citizens participate. Citizens submit proposals and the administration examines whether the proposal is legal and feasible. Then, citizens vote on the approved proposals. With Decidim the process and the time taken to implement the project can be monitored by everyone and it is possible to check if something is not going according to plan. The software is designed and suitable for large-scale implementations. Many cities already use Decidim, for example New York, Barcelona, and Helsinki.

Fedigov: FSFE Switzerland asks administrations to join Mastodon

When public institutions share a message on social media they should not limit it to proprietary platforms. To effectively communicate with all citizens, including those who are rightfully concerned about their privacy, administrations should also use federated social media. The FSFE Switzerland and the GNU/Linux.ch explain this to local authorities. The Fedigov website (also available in DE, FR, IT) shows that ethical communication benefits the public sector. You can use the letter template and send a letter to your local authorities asking them to join Mastodon, Pixelfeld, and Peertube.

Illustration of an elephant greeting happily in front of a neoclassical building. Text: Fedigov

Save the date!

Past events

FSFE groups

Belarus: The FSFE Minsk group and GNU/Linux enthusiasts met in Minsk. It the first in person meeting after a long period of only virtual communications. Several topics regarding using and creating Free Software were discussed. Some of them were Intel TDX confidential computing, Lustre project state, Kubernetes clusters, OpenStreetMap, and Pine Phone user experience. The event finished with all the participants enjoying a barbecue.

Germany: Ana Galan, FSFE’s Senior Project Manager Communications, joined Berlin’s group October meeting. The group also organised a booth in FifFkon, and talked in the online monthly edu meeting about the OpenTalk videoconferencing tool. The Hamburg group meets monthly.

Italy: The FSFE celebrated Linux Day on 22 October in Milan. Marta Andreoli, Deputy Coordinator Italy, gave an overview of Free Software associations in Italy, Natale Vinto presented ‘Public Money? Public Code!’, and Stefano Costa talked about Router Freedom in Italy and EU.

Netherlands: Router Freedom consultation in Belgium is announced and the Netherlands group is working on formulating a stance on this and translating it to Dutch. The group met the FSFE team in Arnhem, where the FSFE had its general assembly. The group also discussed the exodus of developers leaving GitHub for codeberg.org and git.sr.ht because of Copilot.

Switzerland: Volunteers in Switzerland, including the local groups Basel and Zurich, launch the Fedigov campaign. After the recent developments on Twitter, now it is the right time to bring public communication onto the Fediverse. All local groups can join the Fedigov campaign! The code of the website is available, any group can fork and adapt it. And the FSFE Switzerland can help this initiative in other countries.

Women: In October’s online meeting, the group discussed calendar systems for websites and proposed to create an introduction of the members in the form of a game.

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Your editor, Fani Partsafyllidou