@fosdem Hi there, welcome to the fediverse.
Who are your sponsors this year? Will you have the world’s #1 surveillance capitalist (Google) as your primary sponsor again?
What’s FOSDEM’s official stance on surveillance capitalism? Are you ethically/morally opposed to the business model of tracking/profiling people to manipulate their behaviour for profit or do you support it (being neutral in this, as in any situation of injustice, takes the side of the oppressor).
Look forward to your answer.
@aral We are a conference and platform for and about free and open source software. As such we welcome all free and open source developers from all over the world, regardless of their affiliation. We use donations to make this event possible. We aren't selective about sponsors and sources of donations, for sponsors have no influence on the selection of the contents for the event.
@fosdem That “free” word you keep using refers to “freedom”.
”We aren’t selective about about sponsors and sources of donations” is tone-deaf, reckless, & simply not acceptable in 2018 for any group that seeks legitimacy in the ethics of what they do.
Palantir develops open source (https://palantir.github.io) and also helps ICE find & deport asylum seekers. By your (lack of) ethical standards, they would be welcome as a sponsor.
Please see https://fundingmatters.tech and review your stance on this.
As long as @fosdem remains wilfully ignorant of the role they play in legitimising surveillance capitalism by ignoring the ethics of their sponsorship choices, I encourage any group who purports to care about human rights to boycott their event.
@indie and I will be boycotting it until such time as their policies forbid sponsorship by (and thus legitimisation of) surveillance capitalists like Google (their main sponsor last year), Facebook, and Palantir.
@aral @fosdem @indie You cannot be against surveillance capitalism, and then demand that surveillance and investigation happens. It is irrelevant that you want this to prevent the proliferation of surveillance capitalism. There is no way to prevent all financial transactions from the sponsors and donators without lowering yourself to their level.
@wodan @fosdem @indie What you just wrote is the largest pile of bullshit I read in quite a while. I am literally dumber for having read it. How do you equate not legitimising surveillance capitalism with surveillance capitalism itself. Truly amazing.
You can absolutely not take money from companies you are ethically opposed to and do not want to legitimise: it’s called having principles and a fucking backbone.
@wodan @fosdem @indie Yeah, man (goodness, how I know you’re a man), neither I nor Desmond Tutu understand the concept of neutrality, which is why we are so blessed to have you, dear anonymous elephant, to explain it to us – thank your adorable trunk.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Demond Tutu
@aral @fosdem @indie Nice quote. But the jury is still out on the 'injustice' and 'oppressor' part. You could be right. You could also be wrong. Maybe you're only seeing the top of the iceberg, and the conspiracy goes way deeper. If you feel up to being the judge, that's fine. Just don't expect others to put 100% faith in your abilities.
I would strongly urge the Decentralised Internet and Privacy track to reconsider its involvement in @fosdem unless FOSDEM takes a principled stance against surveillance capitalism and disallows sponsorship by (and thereby legitimisation of) surveillance capitalists like Google (their primary sponsor last year), Facebook, and Palantir.
@indie will have nothing to do with the event until such time.
I’d be happy to discuss organising our own event in Europe instead.
This is FOSDEM’s stance on the issue. If Palantir wanted to be a sponsor, FOSDEM’s response would be along the lines of “Sure, sir. Right this way, sir. Thank you, sir.” Their current policy is that they’ll accept money from anyone, ethics be damned.
Wow, the responses show a complete lack of historical knowledge and political consciousness.
'Neutrality' works only among equals. When you're oppressed, neutrality is collaboration with the oppressor, @fosdem
When Microsoft acquires Github, IBM Redhat, etc., it's not neutral: it's a direct attack on the possibility to pursue the free software movement. Being neutral here is like waiting for the hammer to fall on your heads.
@aral @fosdem Looks like you're having issues with that "freedom" concept. It can apply to anything. You keep promoting one view. You consider your view to be the one and only. You have every possibility to use the platform to spread your view. I consider that freedom. If you want to push back against those that give you a platform, that's fine. It's your choice. But I think you're making an issue of a non-issue. Seems like a waste of efforts to me...
@wodan @fosdem What you call a non-issue is one of the primary reasons why we cannot effectively regulate surveillance capitalists: because people who don’t/won’t understand institutional corruption keep legitimising them (because, hey, why question where the money comes from, amirite?)
I understand the word “freedom” intimately: I understand it doesn’t mean remaining neutral in situations of injustice or implying some sort of relativism between those who protect it and those who restrict it.
@aral @wodan while I agree with you on Alphabet Inc. being the largest surveillance oppressor, I don't think that @fosdem is legitimising them. Unevitably, google is very present in many open source projects and wants to sponsor large FOSS events, as part of their openwashing and to drag attention away from the petabyte of mass-survelliance secret software they produce.
All viewpoints have always been welcome at the conf: there are always talks on sovereignity, de-googlification, copyleft...
I mostly agree with @aral (maybe except on the tone: if we don't assume our intelocutors might might be right, why should they consider we could be right? I think we need to listen more carefully.. 😉 ).
NOTE that the @fosdem's position is pretty similar to that of #Stallman (see https://newleftreview.org/II/113/richard-stallman-talking-to-the-mailman ), and I think that both are naively wrong: you cannot really optimize a single dimension in a complex dynamic system: the equilibrium is too unstable and unpredictable.
Some toots ago @wodan wrote:
> Maybe you're only seeing the top of the iceberg, and the conspiracy goes way deeper.
I'd like you to elaborate.
What do you think it's happening under the hood?
I'd say that the tip of the iceberg is what most people see, free services and annoying nerds concerned with being tracked.
I think I have a pretty clear vision of the whole iceberg. But I like people challenging my vision. What's your take on these matters?
IMO going into full attack mode of "why are you collaborating with the oppressors" to someone possibly unaware of the issue is just gonna make them defensive.
Wouldn't it be a better strategy to first provide them with information why google indeed is an oppressor, and why them taking donations from google is a problem?
Yeah, the real problem is that people listen thoughtlessly to a company's propaganda and get hyped about every new shiny thing it announces.
I think it would be fun to have google at a conference where people ask difficult questions, point out the corpo's bullshit, and laugh at it.
Free Software is an expression of #hackers' ethics and as such it often at odds with the goals of such companies.
IMO the companies sometimes actually contribute to Free Software projects in a way which benefits us. And we should let them do that, and appreciate if their contributions are good.
OTOH, we should be wary of their propaganda, and be very clear that eg. "yes, Google contributed a lot of good code to the Linux kernel, but their Android system is shit and not much useful for any person valuing their freedom, and the Play Services should die in fire"
FOSDEM is a platform, not an enemy. Boycotting FOSDEM is leaving it to the openwashing machine. Instead, you could use it to bring these issues to a broader public including developers who have been hired by these companies, and fail to see the big picture.
It is as neutral as marketing is.
Are all voices equally heard on that platform? I guess they are not.
So I agree with @aral that while neutrality is neutral in theory, in practice it's not.
By attending to FOSDEM you have near zero chance to really challenge Google or Mozilla, while they can simply censor you by ignoring you.
Exploiting this asymmetry they exploit your presence to foster their propaganda.
I have trouble defining how I feel about Google. I appreciate the critiques of surveillance (and I'm in the process of de-googling my life) but Google enables a lot of positive things to happen. Perhaps we should not consider them an enemy but an entity we shouldn't be forced to rely upon.
I don't know.
We should more be sincerely afraid of #Google than hate it.
But I think they are actually very dangerous for everybody. Their power surpass that of most world governments (and is tightly coupled with U.S.).
We should not spread hate against them, but for sure we should make people aware of the risks!
Because #hackers' curiosity could make them realize by themselves the issues and the solutions, while they are stuck to discuss about either buzzwords (eg blockchain) or bullshit (eg CoCs).
These company hire the best software engineers also to prevent they turn to actual hackers, politically aware.
Thanks for the link - I find these projects interesting and now I have something new to follow.
Shamar, can I ask where you are based? Feel free not to answer. I ask because I'm researching communication and data storage solutions for a partner that's very critical of the US and doesn't want to trust us tech companies. I've been driving deep into alternative solutions.
@Shamar how can you say that voices are not equally heard? Sponsoring FOSDEM gives the sponsor no possibility to interfere with the program. Devrooms have their own schedules that FOSDEM itself cannot veto. Talks like:
happen more and more often.
Talk to developers. Interact. Exchange ideas. Most people are as critical as you are, and you can meet people spending effort to develop free and decentralized alternatives to GAFAM
Well you could do a simple experiment next time you go: count attenders to talks from GAFAM employees + sponsored projects + Mozilla's ones and compare that to the number of attenders to talks from groups and developers that are totally independent from them.
I've never been at @fosdem so I don't really know if their aggregated impact on the FOSDEM narration is statistically relevant. But I guess so.
Am I wrong?
The problem in this is that the number of Google speakers is way lower than the number of Google influenced speaker.
Depending on the amount of money your project get from Google (or anybody else) you might be more or less prone to support their interests.
See #Mozilla, as an example.
@Shamar @Wolf480pl @bob @danielinux @fosdem @aral
And that's where it gets tricky. @fosdem takes money from so many people and organisations. Sure, the number of named sponsors is limited. But there are thousands of people who donate without being mentioned. So your view is to do a complete background check before accepting any donation? Otherwise you don't know what you are (supposedly) legitimating...
@Argus Lineage with Fdroid. But not satisfied with the concept of a smartphone in general.
Please elaborate on that, I would love to hear why.
On FDroid, are you able to operate comfortably in the app catalogue?
@Argus the apps on F-Droid are more than enough for my needs. OTOH, the F-Droid client became shit after the UI redesign.
Actually, that's a problem not just with F-Droid, but also OSMAnd, and may other apps. With time, they became more resource hungry, and made their UI less ergonomic.
Other than that, the concept of using touchscreen for everything is IMO fundamentally flawed. Typing is the worst. You can't sense where the keys are!
A phone with physical keyboard would be a good first step.
@Argus Ideally, I'd like to split what currently constitutes a smartphone into multiple devices:
- cpu module in backpack, with storage, wifi, bluetooth, etc.
- electrically spearate GSM module, connected over wifi to the cpu module
- a bunch of thin clients connected over wifi:
* a handset with numpad for calls
* a qwerty keyboard with display for chat
* a big standalone touchscreen for maps, reading, etc.
Another interesting front to investigate would be adding more input devices to a smartphone. A lot of inspiration could be drawn from game controllers. Buttons on sides? Buttons on the back? Maybe a 1- or 2-dimensional touchpad on the back?
But as for practical requirements of mine:
1. A 4" phone or smaller.
2. If possible, with a physical keyboard.
3. If possible, with apps optimized for low resource usage.
It's hard to find anything that satisfies 1, let alone 2 and 3.
And 4" is as much as I can comfortably reach with my thumb.
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