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News from FreedomBox – our own, free, uncensored Cloud

Dear Reader,

When the FreedomBox was announced a while ago, I was pretty excited. And the project is moving ahead nicely.

Glynsky still does not understand the issue.
So, for his benefit, here is a short explanation and an update.

In the beginning there were large mainframe computers, used by specialists.
Next, people were sitting in front of computer terminals, connected to those mainframes. But they were only entering or reading data, dumb “users”. The language tells a lot here.
IT was a system of “masters” and “slaves”. And the user was the slave of the mainframe and its administrators.

Then home computers and PCs were introduced, mostly XT and AT.
With that the first steps of freedom arrived. The user grew to become his/her own administrator.
When PCs were introduced on larger scale in business, many companies turned the PC into stupid terminals. Banks were famous for this. Instead of unleashing the power of the PC and enabling their employees, they remained in the “master and slave” world.

Jumping forward to the internet.
In its beginnings it was a decentralized network of “masters”. Every connected computer was equally “client” and “server”. Note the change in language.

But over time, platforms were developed, leading back to centralization. Slowly, the formerly free PC and their owners became users and slaves again. Slaves of platforms. Like in the terminal days, the user sits in front of his/her PC and enters and reads data from a master, in this case a platform.
Dominant platforms are Google for search; Facebook, Twitter, WordPress for publishing; Facebook, Gmail for communication.

The last two years have demonstrated the weakness of that structure. Censorship, privacy issues, spying governments, all this got easy with centralization, domineering platforms.

The Freedombox will change that. How?

Besides your PC, laptop or pad, you will have your own little server.

You will be enabled to publish from there, to privately communicate through it, and to keep your data there.

The Freedombox will ensure your independence and freedom from platforms. It will give you the ultimate power over your data. Anyone, who wants your data, will need a search warrant to physically go to your (!) box and get your (!) data.
Why does this matter? Read this Wired article about Federal Subpoenas.

At the same time, your Freedombox will connect with other boxes and computers. An additional network will grow. Independent from providers, and not under control of any government. Your government will have to shut off electricity AND the phone-system to disconnect you.
We are building our own “cloud”, a truly free, uncensored network.

As announced this week, FreedomBox – based upon Debian – will utilize the TOR network, of which I am a fan already. It will use AdBlocker and the security improvement HTTPS Everywhere by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Both plugins are great.

A first developers release of the software can be found here.

What will the FreedomBox look like?
Maybe similar to this:

Stay free, connected, private, and safe,
Engine Room

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