YouTube

Got a YouTube account?

New: enable viewer-created translations and captions on your YouTube channel!

English subtitles

← Why Political Liberty Depends on Software Freedom More Than Ever

Get Embed Code
18 Languages

Showing Revision 4 created 06/03/2012 by Børge A. Roum.

  1. Ok, so, it's time for the keynotes
    and we are very honoured to have

  2. Eben Moglen here as first keynote speaker
  3. He is a professor of Law
    and Legal History at Columbia University.
  4. He is probably most known
    for his involvement in the FSF
  5. and for creating the Software Freedom Law Centre.
  6. He was also heavily involved
    in the creation of the GPL version 3
  7. and many other things of course
    and so he will give a talk here today about
  8. Why political liberty depends
    on software freedom more than ever.
  9. Eben Moglen, thank you.
  10. Thank you, good morning
    it's a great pleasure to be here.
  11. I wanna thank the organisers
    for the miracle that FOSDEM is
  12. You all know that only chaos
  13. could create an organisation
    of this quality and power
  14. and it's an honour for me
    to play a little bit of a role in it.
  15. I know how eager you are
    to deal with technical matters
  16. and I'm sorry to start with politics
    first thing in the morning, but it's urgent.
  17. You've been watching it all around the world
    the past several weeks haven't you?
  18. It's about how politics actually works now
  19. for people actually seeking freedom now
  20. for people trying to make
    change in their world now.
  21. Software is what the 21st century is made of.
  22. What steel was to the economy of the 20th century
  23. what steel was to the power of the 20th century
  24. what steel was to the politics
    of the 20th century, software is now.
  25. It's the crucial building block,
    the component out of which everything else is made.
  26. And when I speak of everything else
    I mean, of course, freedom.
  27. As well as tyranny, as well as business as usual
  28. as well as spying on everybody for free all the time.
  29. In other words, the very composition of social life
  30. the way it works or doesn't work for us
  31. the way it works or doesn't work for those who own
  32. the way it works or doesn't work for those who oppress
  33. all now depends on software.
  34. At the other end of this hastening process
  35. when we started our little conspiracy
    you and me and everybody else
  36. you remember how it works, right?
  37. I mean it's a simple idea.
  38. Make freedom, put freedom in everything,
    turn freedom on, right?
  39. That was how the conspiracy was designed
    that's how the thing is supposed to work
  40. We did pretty well with it
    and about halfway through stage 1
  41. my dear friend Larry Lessig
    figured out what was going on for us
  42. and he wrote his first
    quite astonishing book "Code"
  43. in which he said that code was going
    to do the work of law in the 21st century.
  44. That was a crucial idea
    out of which much else got born
  45. including creative commons
    and a bunch of other useful things.
  46. The really important point now is
    that code does the work of law
  47. and the work of the state and code does
    the work of revolution against the state.
  48. And code does all the work that the state does
  49. trying to retain its power in revolutionary situations.
  50. But code also organises the people in the street.
  51. We're having enormous demonstration
    around the world right now
  52. of the power of code in both directions.
  53. The newspapers in the United States
    this past month have been full of the buzz
  54. around the book called
    "The Net Delusion" by Evgeny Morozov
  55. A very interesting book taking a more pessimistic view
    of the political nature of the changes in the net
  56. Mr. Morozov who comes from Belarus
  57. and therefore has a clear understanding
    of the mechanism of 21st century despotism
  58. sees the ways in which the institutions of the net
  59. are increasingly being co-opted by the state
    in an effort to limit control or eliminate freedom.
  60. And his summary of half decade of
    policy papers on that subject in his book
  61. is a warning to the technological optimists,
    at least he says it is
  62. about the nature of the net delusion
    that the net brings freedom.
  63. I am, I guess, one of the technological optimists
    because I do think the net brings freedom.
  64. I don't think Mr. Morozov is wrong, however.
  65. The wrong net brings tyranny
    and the right net brings freedom.
  66. This is a version of the reason why
    I still have the buttons for distribution
  67. that says "Stallman was right".
  68. The right net brings freedom
    and the wrong net brings tyranny
  69. because it all depends on how the code works.
  70. All right, so we all know that.
  71. We've spent a lot of time making free software.
  72. We've spent a lot of time
    putting free software in everything
  73. and we have tried to turn freedom on.
  74. We have also joined forces with other elements
  75. of the free culture world
    that we helped to bring into existence.
  76. I've known Jimmy Wales a long time
    and Julian Assange, and that changes the world.
  77. Wikipedia and Wikileaks
    are two sides of the same coin.
  78. They are the two sides of the same coin
    the third side of which is FOSDEM.
  79. It is the power of ordinary people
    to organise, to change the world
  80. without having to create hierarchy
  81. and without having to recapitulate
    the structures of power
  82. that are being challenged
    by the desire to make freedom.
  83. Wikileaks was being treated
    everywhere around the world
  84. in a semi-criminal fashion at Christmas time
  85. and then events in Tunisia made it
    a little more complicated.
  86. As it became clear that what was
    being reported on around the world
  87. as though it was primarily a conspiracy
    to injure the dignity of the US State Department
  88. or to embarrass the United States military
  89. was actually, really, an attempt
    to allow people to learn about their world.
  90. To learn about how power really operates
    and therefore to do something about it.
  91. And what happened in Tunisia was,
    I thought, an eloquent rebuttal
  92. to the idea that the Wikileaks
    and free culture and free software
  93. was primarily engaged in destruction,
    nihilism or I shrink from even employing
  94. the word in this context, terrorism.
  95. It was instead freedom
    which is messy, complicated,
  96. potentially damaging in the short term
    but salvational in the long term.
  97. The medicine for the human soul.
  98. It's hard, I know, because most
    of the time when we're coding
  99. it doesn't feel like
    we're doing anything
  100. that the human soul is directly
    very much involved in
  101. to take with full seriousness
  102. the political and spiritual meaning
    of free software at the present hour.
  103. But there are a lot of Egyptians
    whose freedom now depends
  104. upon their ability
    to communicate with one another
  105. through a database owned
    for-profit by a guy in California
  106. who obeys orders from governments,
    who send orders to disclose to Facebook.
  107. We are watching in real time
    the evolution of the kinds of politics
  108. of liberation and freedom
    in the 21st century that code can make
  109. and we are watching in real time
    the discovery of the vulnerabilities
  110. that arise from the bad engineering
    of the current system.
  111. Social networking, that is the ability
    to use free-form methods of communication
  112. from many to many, now,
    in an instantaneous fashion
  113. changes the balance of power in society.
  114. Away from highly organised
    vehicles of state control
  115. towards people in their own lives.
  116. What has happened in Iran, in Egypt, in Tunisia
  117. and what will happen in other
    societies over the next few years
  118. demonstrates the enormous political
    and social importance of social networking.
  119. But everything we know
    about technology tells us
  120. that the current forms
    of social network communication
  121. despite their enormous current value for
    politics are also intensely dangerous to use.
  122. They are too centralised
  123. They are too vulnerable
    to state retaliation and control.
  124. And the design of their technology
  125. like the design of almost
    all unfree software technology
  126. is motivated more by
    business interests seeking profit
  127. than by technological interests seeking freedom.
  128. As a result of which, we are watching
  129. political movements of enormous value
  130. capable of transforming
    the lives of hundreds of millions of people
  131. resting on a fragile basis
    like for example the courage of Mr. Zuckerberg
  132. or the willingness of Google to resist the state
  133. where the state is a powerful business partner
  134. and a party Google cannot afford to insult.
  135. We are living in a world
    in which real-time information
  136. crucial to people in the street
    seeking to build their freedom
  137. depends on a commercial
    micro-blogging service in northern California
  138. which must turn a profit
    in order to justify its existence
  139. to the people who design its technology
  140. and which we know is capable
    of deciding overnight all by itself
  141. to donate the entire history
    of everything, everybody said through it
  142. to the library of Congress.
  143. Which means, I suppose, that in some other place
  144. they could make a different style of donation.
  145. We need to fix this. We need to fix it quickly.
  146. We are now behind the curve of the movements
    for freedom that depend on code.
  147. And every day that we don't fix the problems created
    by the use of insecure, over-centralised
  148. overcapitalised social network media
    to do the politics of freedom
  149. the real politics of freedom
    in the street, where the tanks are.
  150. The more we don't fix this,
    the more we are becoming part of the system
  151. which will bring about a tragedy soon.
  152. What has happened in Egypt
    is enormously inspiring.
  153. But the Egyptian state was late
    to the attempt to control the net
  154. and not ready to be
    as remorseless as it could have been.
  155. It is not hard when everybody's just in one
    big database controlled by Mr. Zuckerberg
  156. to decapitate a revolution by sending an order
    to Mr. Zuckerberg that he cannot afford to refuse.
  157. We need to think deeply and rapidly
    and to good technological effect
  158. about the consequences of what
    we have built and what we haven't built yet.
  159. I pointed a couple of times
    already to the reason why
  160. centralised social networking
    and data distribution services
  161. should be replaced by federated services.
  162. I was talking about that intensively last year
  163. before this recent round
    of demonstrations in the street
  164. of the importance of the whole thing began.
  165. And I want to come back
    to the projects I have been advocating.
  166. But let me just say here,
    again, from this other perspective
  167. that the overcentralisation of network services
    is a crucial political vulnerability.
  168. Friends of ours, people seeking freedom
  169. are going to get arrested, beaten, tortured
    and eventually killed somewhere on earth.
  170. Because they're depending for their political
    survival in their movements for freedom
  171. on technology we know, is built to sell them out.
  172. If we care about freedom as much as we do
  173. and if we are as bright
    with technology as we are
  174. we have to address that problem.
    We are actually running out of time.
  175. Because people whose movements we care deeply about
  176. are already out there in harm's way
    using stuff that can hurt them.
  177. I don't want anybody taking life or death risks
    to make freedom somewhere carrying an iPhone.
  178. Because I know what that iPhone can be doing to him
  179. without our having any way to control it,
    stop it, help it or even know what's going on.
  180. We need to think infrastructurally
    about what we mean to freedom now.
  181. And we need to learn the lessons
    of what we see happening around us in real time.
  182. One thing that the Egyptian situation showed us
  183. as we probably knew after the Iranian situation
  184. when we watched the forces of the Iranian state
    buy the telecommunications carriers
  185. as we learnt when the Egyptians
    begin to lean on Vodafone last week.
  186. We learn again why
    closed networks are so harmful to us.
  187. Why the ability to build a kill switch on the infrastructure
  188. by pressuring the for-profit communications carriers
  189. who must have a way of life
    with government in order to survive
  190. can harm our people seeking freedom
    using technology we understand well.
  191. Now, what can we do to help freedom
    under circumstances where the state
  192. has decided to try
    to clamp the network infrastructure?
  193. Well, we can go back to mesh networking.
  194. We've got to go back to mesh networking.
  195. We've got to understand how we can provide people
  196. using the ordinary devices already available
    to them or cheaply available to them
  197. to build networking
    that resists centralised control.
  198. Mesh networking in densely populated urban environments
  199. is capable of sustaining the kind of social action
  200. we saw in Cairo and in Alexandria this week.
  201. Even without the centralised network services providers
  202. if people have wireless routers that mesh up
    in their apartments, in their work places
  203. in the places of public resort around them
    they can continue to communicate
  204. despite attempts in central terms to shut them down.
  205. We need to go back to ensuring people
  206. secure end-to-end communications
    over those local meshes.
  207. We need to provide survivable conditions
  208. for the kinds of communications
    that people now depend upon
  209. outside the context of
    centralised networking environments
  210. that can be used to surveil,
    control, arrest or shut them down.
  211. Can we do this? Sure. Are we gonna do this?
  212. If we don't, the great social promise
    of the free software movement
  213. that free software can lead
    to free society will begin to be broken.
  214. Force will intervene somewhere soon
    and a demonstration will be offered to humanity
  215. that even with all that networking technology
  216. and all those young people seeking
    to build new lives for themselves
  217. the state still wins.
  218. This must not happen.
  219. If you look at that map of the globe at night
    the one where all the lights on
  220. and imagine next time you look at it
    that you're looking instead at a network graph
  221. instead of an electrical infrastructure graph
  222. you'll feel like a kind of pulsing
    coming out of the North American continent
  223. where all the world's data mining is being done.
  224. Think of it that way, right?
  225. North America is becoming the heart
    of the global data mining industry
  226. Its job is becoming knowing everything
    about everybody, everywhere.
  227. When Dwight Eisenhower
    was leaving the presidency in 1960
  228. he made a famous farewell speech to the American people
  229. in which he warned them against
    the power of the military industrial complex
  230. a phrase that became so common place in discussion
  231. that people stopped thinking seriously about what it meant.
  232. The general who had run the largest
    military activity of the 20th century
  233. the invasion of Europe.
  234. The general who had become the president
    of America at the height of the cold war
  235. was warning Americans about
    the permanent changes to their society
  236. that would result from the interaction
  237. of industrial capitalism with American military might.
  238. And since the time of that speech, as you all know,
  239. the United States has spent on defence
    more than the rest of the world combined.
  240. Now, in the 21st century, which we can define
    as after the latter part of September 2001
  241. the United States began to build a new thing.
  242. A surveillance industrial military complex.
  243. The Washington Post produced the most important piece
    of public journalism in the United States last year
  244. a series available to you online called 'Top Secret America'
  245. in which the Washington Post not only wrote
    eight very useful, lengthy, analytic stories
  246. about the classified sector
    of American industrial life
  247. built around surveillance and data processing.
  248. The Post produced an enormous database
    which is publicly available to everyone
  249. through the newspaper
    of all the classified contractors
  250. available to them in public record
  251. what they do for the government, what they're paid
  252. and what can be known about them.
  253. A database which can be used
    to create all sorts of journalism
  254. beyond what the Post published itself.
  255. I would encourage everybody
    to take a look at 'Top Secret America'.
  256. What it will show you is how many goggles there are
  257. under the direct control of the United States government
  258. as well as how many goggles there are
    under the control of Google.
  259. In other words the vast outspreading web
  260. which joins the traditional
    post second world war US listening
  261. to everything everywhere
    on earth outside the United States
  262. to the newly available listening
    to things inside the United States
  263. that used to be against the law
    in my country as I knew its law
  264. to all the data now available
    in all the commercial collection systems
  265. which includes everything
    you type into search boxes about
  266. what you believe, wish, hope, fear or doubt
    as well as every travel reservation you make
  267. and every piece of tracking data
    coming off your friendly smartphone.
  268. When governments talk about
    the future of the net these days
  269. I have on decent authority from
    government officials in several countries.
  270. When governments talk about
    the future of the net these days
  271. they talk almost entirely in terms of cyberwar.
  272. A field in which I've never had much interest
    and which has a jargon all its own
  273. but some current lessons
    from inter-governmental discussions
  274. about cyberwar are probably valuable to us here.
  275. The three most powerful collections of states on earth
  276. the United States of America, the European Union
    and the People's Republic of China
  277. discuss cyberwar at a fairly high
    inter-governmental level fairly regularly.
  278. Some of the people around
    that table have disagreements of policy
  279. but there is a broad area of consensus.
  280. In the world of cyberwar
    they talk about exfiltration.
  281. We would call that spying, they mean exfiltrating
    our data off our networks into their pockets.
  282. Exfiltration, I am told by government
    officials here and there and everywhere
  283. exfiltration is broadly considered by all
    the governments to be a free fire zone.
  284. Everybody may listen to everything everywhere all the time
  285. we don't believe in any governmental limits
  286. and the reason is every government wants to listen
  287. and no government believes listening can be prevented.
  288. On that latter point, I think they're too pessimistic
  289. but let's grant them that
    they've spent a lot of money trying
  290. and they think they know.
  291. Where the disagreements currently exist
  292. I am told by the government officials I talked to
  293. concerns not exfiltration,
    but what they call network disruption.
  294. By which they mean destroying freedom.
  295. The basic attitude here
    is of a two parties in balanced speech.
  296. One side in that conversation
    says what we want is clear rules.
  297. We want to know what we are allowed to attack,
  298. what we have to defend and what we do with
    the things that are neither friendly nor enemy.
  299. The other side in that conversation
    says we recognise no distinctions.
  300. Anywhere on the net where there is a threat
  301. to our national security
    or our national interests,
  302. we claim the right to disrupt or destroy that threat
  303. regardless of its geographical location.
  304. I need not to characterise
    for you which among the governments
  305. the United States of America, the European Union
  306. or the People's Republic of China take those different positions.
  307. And I should say that my guess
    is that within all those governments
  308. there are differences of opinion on those points
  309. dominant factions and less dominant factions
  310. but all parties are increasingly aware
  311. that in North America is where the data mining is.
  312. And that's either a benefit, a dubiousness or a problem
  313. depending upon which state
    or collection of states you represent.
  314. European data protection law has done this much.
  315. It has put your personal data almost exclusively
    in North America where it is uncontrolled.
  316. To that extent, European legislation succeded.
  317. The data mining industries
    are concentrated outside the European Union
  318. largely for reasons of legal policy.
  319. They operate as any enterprise
    tends to operate in the part of the world
  320. where there is least control over their behaviour.
  321. There is no prospect that
    the North American governments
  322. particularly the government of the United States
  323. whose national security policy now depends
    on listening and data mining everything
  324. are going to change that for you.
  325. No possibility. No time soon.
  326. When he was a candidate for president, at the beginning
  327. in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama was in favour
  328. of not immunising American telecommunications giants
  329. for participation in spying domestically
    inside the United States
  330. without direct public legal authorisation.
  331. By the time he was a candidate in the general election
  332. he was no longer in favour of preventing immunisation
  333. Indeed he, as a Senator from Illinois
  334. did not fillibuster the legislation
    immunising the telecomms giants and it went through.
  335. As you are aware the Obama administration's policies
  336. with respect to data mining,
    surveillance and domestic security in the net
  337. are hardly different from the predecessor administrations'
  338. except where they are more
    aggressive about government control.
  339. We can't depend upon the pro-freedom bias
  340. in the listening to everybody, everywhere
    about everything now going on.
  341. Profit motive will not produce privacy
  342. let alone will it produce robust defence
    for freedom in the street.
  343. If we are going to build systems
    of communication for future politics
  344. we're going to have to build them under the assumption
  345. that the network is not only untrusted, but untrustworthy.
  346. And we're going to have to build under
    the assumption that centralised services can kill you.
  347. We can't fool around about this.
  348. We can't let Facebook dance up and down
    about their privacy policy. That's ludicrous.
  349. We have to replace the things that create vulnerability
  350. and lure our colleagues around the world into using them
  351. to make freedom only to discover
  352. that the promise is easily broken by a kill switch.
  353. Fortunately we actually do know how
    to engineer ourselves out of this situation.
  354. Cheap, small, low power plug servers
    are the form factor we need.
  355. And they exist everywhere now
  356. and they will get very cheap very quick very soon.
  357. A small device the size of a cell phone charger
  358. running a low power chip with a wireless NIC or two
  359. and some other available ports
  360. and some very sweet free software of our own
  361. is a practical device for creating
    significant personal privacy
  362. and freedom based communications.
  363. Think what it needs to have in it.
  364. Mesh networking, we are not quite there, but we should be.
  365. OpenBTS, asterisk, yeah,
    we could make telephone systems
  366. that are self-constructing
    out of parts that cost next to nothing.
  367. Federated, rather than centralised, micro-blogging
  368. social networking, photo exchange,
  369. anonymous publication platforms
    based around cloudy web servers.
  370. We can do all of that.
  371. Your data at home in your house
    where they have to come and get it
  372. facing whatever the legal restrictions are,
  373. if any, in your society about
  374. what goes on inside the precincts of the home.
  375. Encrypted email, just all the time
  376. perimeter defence for all those wonky Windows computers
  377. and other bad devices that roll over any time
    they're pushed at by a twelve year old
  378. Proxy services for climbing over national firewalls.
  379. Smart tunnelling to get around anti-neutrality activity
  380. by upstream ISPs and other network providers.
  381. All of that can be easily done on top of stuff
    we already make and use all the time.
  382. We have general purpose distributions of stacks
    more than robust enough for all of this
  383. and a little bit of application layer
    work to do on the top.
  384. Yesterday in the United States
    we formed the Freedom Box Foundation
  385. which I plan to use as the temporary
    or long term as the case may be
  386. organisational headquarters
    for work making free software
  387. to run on small format server boxes
  388. free hardware wherever possible
    unfree hardware where we must
  389. in order to make available
    around the world at low prices
  390. appliances human beings
    will like interacting with
  391. that produce privacy
    and help to secure robust freedom.
  392. We can make such objects cheaper
    than the chargers for smart phones.
  393. We can give people something
    that they can buy at very low cost
  394. that will go in their houses
    that will run free software
  395. to provide them services that make
    life better on the ordinary days
  396. and really come into their own
    on those not so ordinary days
  397. when we are out in the street
    making freedom thank you for calling.
  398. A Belarussian theatre troupe
    that got arrested and heavily beaten on
  399. after the so called elections in Minsk this winter
  400. exfiltrated itself to New York city in January
  401. did some performances of
    Tom Stoppard and gave some interviews
  402. I'm sorry of Harold Pinter and gave some interviews
  403. One of the Belarussian actors
    who was part of that troupe
  404. said in an interview to New York Times
  405. the Belarussian KGB is the most
    honest organisation on earth.
  406. After the Soviet Union fell apart
    they saw no need to change anything they did
  407. so they saw no need to change their name either.
  408. And I thought that was a really quite useful comment.
  409. We need to keep in mind that they are
    exactly the same people they always were
  410. whether they're in Cairo or Moscow
    or Belarus or Los Angeles or Jakarta
  411. or anywhere else on earth.
  412. They're exactly the same people they always were.
  413. So are we exactly the same people we always were too.
  414. We set out a generation ago to make
    freedom and we're still doing it.
  415. But we have to pick up the pace now.
  416. We have to get more urgent now.
  417. We have to aim our engineering
    more directly at politics now.
  418. Because we have friends in the street
    trying to create human freedom.
  419. And if we don't help them they'll get hurt.
  420. We rise to challenges, this is one.
    We've got to do it. Thank you very much.
  421. Thank you very much and I think
    there is enough time for a few questions
  422. so please raise your hand if you want to
  423. The question was what does complete
    decentralisation mean for identity
  424. because the state, you may believe who you are
    but the state gives you a passport
  425. or some other legal document
    that allows you to identify yourself.
  426. So in complete decentralisation
    how do you identify yourself on that network?
  427. I doubt that complete decentralisation
    is the outcome of anything
  428. but let me tell you a story which
    may help to explain how I feel about this.
  429. We need to go back now by 16 years
    to a time when there was a program called PGP
  430. and there was a government in the United States
    that was trying to eradicate it.
  431. I know this will seem like ancient history
    to many people, but it's my life so it doesn't to me.
  432. We were having a debate at Harvard
    Law School in January of 1995
  433. two on two about PGP and the criminal
    investigation and the future of secrecy.
  434. The debators on my side
    were me and Danny Whitesner
  435. then at the Electronic Privacy Information Center
  436. later at the W3C and now
    in the United States Department of Commerce.
  437. And on the other side was the then
    Deputy Attorney General of the United States
  438. and a former General Counsel
    of the National Security Agency.
  439. We debated PGP and then encryption
    and the clipper chip and various other,
  440. now long dead, subjects for a couple of hours
  441. and then we were all on an offered
    little dinner at the Harvard faculty club.
  442. On the way across the Harvard campus
  443. the Deputy Attorney General
    of the United States said to me
  444. Eben, on the basis of your
    public statements this afternoon
  445. I have enough to order the interception
    of your telephone conversations.
  446. She thought that was a joke.
  447. And back in 1995 you could sort of
    get away with thinking it was a joke
  448. as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States
    because it was so clearly against the law.
  449. So I smiled and we went off, we had our dinner
  450. and after the plates were cleared and the walnuts
    and the port had been strewn about
  451. this former General Counsel
    to the National Security Agency
  452. I'm concealing names to protect
    the not so innocent here
  453. this former NSA lawyer,
    he looked around the table calmly
  454. and with that sort of plummy
    through the port kind of look
  455. and he said ok we'll let our head down
    we agree we're not gonna prosecute your client
  456. PGP will happen. We've fought
    a long delaying action
  457. against public key encryption
    but it's coming to an end now.
  458. And then he looked around the table and he said
    but nobody here cares about anonymity, do they?
  459. And a cold chill went up my spine
  460. because I knew what
    the next 15 years were gonna be about.
  461. So I would like to turn around
    the thing you said to say
  462. what we're really talking about is whether
    there's gonna be any preservation of anonymity at all.
  463. Where power on the other side
    made its peace in the mid 1990s
  464. was with the idea that
    there would be strong encryption
  465. and e-commerce but there would be no anomymity.
  466. And in the course of the last decade
    they picked up a strong alliance
  467. with the global entertainment industries
  468. the things that now call
    themselves content companies
  469. which are also adverse to anonymity, right?
  470. cause they wanna know what you read
    and listen to and watch every single time
  471. so that you can increase
    their shareholders' wealth for them.
  472. The real problem of identity
    isn't the problem of
  473. are we gonna be decentralised
    past the point when we have identity
  474. we are not going to do that.
    We are not going to be able to do that.
  475. The real problem of identity is
    are we gonna have any of our own?
  476. or are we gonna be the data cloud
    that everybody else is keeping about us
  477. which contains where we are, what we do, what we think
    what we read, what we eat and everything else too
  478. as long as you send a subpoena
  479. to Mr. Zuckerberg who has the one big database
    in which you live your entire life.
  480. I understand the idea that
    we might be thought of or satirically
  481. or even pointedly claim to be
  482. trying too radically decentralise
    to the point in which identity gets lost.
  483. But if you find yourself
    in an argument where people telling you
  484. you are trying to anarchise so far that
    there won't be any name in the passport anymore
  485. you can reassure them that meat-space
    will stay pretty much the way it is right now.
  486. We just want fewer people
    ripping fingernails off in meat-space.
  487. Which is why we are busy building
    Freedom Boxes and helping people use them.
  488. Thank you very much, the passport will
    remain pretty much the way it is right now
  489. with the RFID chip in it and the fingerprints
    and the retinal scan and everything.
  490. I'm not worried that we are
    going to go too far friends.
  491. It's the other folks who went
    way too far and our job's to get back home.
  492. Hello Eben, I'm here.
  493. Jérémie from La Quadrature du Net
  494. First of all I want to thank you
    and I will never thank you enough
  495. for how inspiring you are for everyone of us
  496. By thanking you for inspiring us
    under an engineering perspective
  497. as I am both an engineering geek
    and a political activist by what I do.
  498. I wanted to stress that the ACTA,
    the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
  499. that deeply concern strengthening
    of DRMs and the legal protection
  500. and also turns every internet service provider
  501. every internet intermediate
    into private copyright police
  502. with deep consequence on our freedom of speech,
    our privacy, on right to a fair trial and so on.
  503. The ACTA will be coming to the
    European Parliament around next summer
  504. maybe before maybe after and it will be
    our ultimate chance to defeat the thing.
  505. We won in the European Parliament before.
  506. This is a battle we can win
    and everybody here can participate into it
  507. and I wanted to ask you Eben
  508. Are those legislative fights worth fighting?
    Do we still have a chance?
  509. and especially on the front of the net neutrality,
  510. What are your insights? What do you think?
    Can we still win today?
  511. No European citizen should need any
    introduction to Jérémie Zimmermann, right?
  512. That's the future of the
    European Union speaking to you.
  513. Your question: Should we bother
    fighting in legislature
  514. seems to me fair, oh yeah we should.
    It's unpleasant work.
  515. I worry about you.
    I don't want your heart to burst.
  516. I don't want people killing
    themselves over the strain of it.
  517. It's ugly, boring, tedious work
  518. and the other side pays people to sit you out
    to wait until you go home, to decide you give up.
  519. Think of Egypt as a place where that
    was done for thirty years along with torture.
  520. Everything stops moving.
  521. If you read Claude Manceron
    on the French revolution
  522. or the coming of the French revolution
  523. as he moves his thousands
    of men and women of freedom
  524. towards the climactic events of the late 1780s
  525. you see how deeply the feeling in France
    at the end of the Ancien Régime
  526. was of status beginning
    to break up into movement.
  527. The work you're talking about
    is work that is largely defensive
  528. to prevent harm from being done.
  529. And as you say you are lucky when you win
    after an enormous effort that nothing happens.
  530. But the good news is in legislative politics
    that there is a thousand ways to stop a thing
  531. and only one way for it to get done.
  532. And therefore the side that wants
    to stop things has an inherent advantage.
  533. Most of the time that's deeply
    funded capital but sometimes it's us.
  534. About ACTA, I think there is no question.
    It's a fight worth fighting everywhere all the time.
  535. Because as you say it's really the concordat,
    the treaty between the state and private power
  536. for the control of the net
    under 21st century conditions
  537. in the mingled interests of
    the listeners and the owners.
  538. If we do beat it, water it down, force
    withdrawal of particularly offensive premises
  539. or significantly expose it
    to disinfecting daylight
  540. we will help ourselves.
  541. We are not going to achieve everything by any means.
  542. We need to turn the international trade conversation
    in the direction of direct support for freedom.
  543. My line with the trade negotiators
    around the world has become:
  544. Governments have a right to share
  545. the sharing economy has as much right to support
    in the international trade system as the owning economy.
  546. My colleague Mishi Choudhary
    who directs SFLC India
  547. was in Beijing making a speech
    on that point earlier this year.
  548. We will be re-iterating that point
    in various places around the world
  549. where strong states with which
    we have other difficulties
  550. meet with us in recognising
    that the world trade system
  551. is now overwhelmingly tilted
    in favour of ownership based production
  552. which is only one part
    of the world's economic production.
  553. We need to press hard against ACTA
    and other pro-ownership trade law
  554. but we also need to begin to roll out
    an affirmative strategy of our own
  555. demanding protection for sharing based
    economic activities in the global trade system.
  556. That effort will take 20 years
    to begin to show fruit
  557. but we need to begin that too now.
  558. On network neutrality I will say this
  559. We are going to have to establish counterforce
    to the various oligopolists of telecommunications.
  560. The regulators believe a lot of things
    they have been told by industry.
  561. I was at ARCEP myself in September
    to discuss wireless network neutrality in Paris
  562. with regulators who are well educated,
    shrewd, thoughtful and capable
  563. but who believe something which isn't true.
  564. Namely that it costs enormous monetary
    investments to build wireless networks.
  565. And I said to the ARCEP regulators
    Do you know about OpenBTS?
  566. Do you know that I can take
    a coat hanger and a laptop
  567. and make a GSM cell phone base station
    out of it using some free software?
  568. Do you know about Asterisk?
  569. I suggested that maybe they would like
    to give us a small French city, say, Grenoble.
  570. where using the extraodinary
    high quality wired harness
  571. that they built around the hexagon that is France
  572. we will create cell phone companies out of nowhere
  573. using cheap commodity hardware and existing handsets
    and provide service to everybody.
  574. And then I say it will be possible
    to have a realistic fact-based discussion
  575. about whether the enormous investment
    necessities of wireless network build out
  576. require non-neutrality in network routing practices.
  577. Well, the regulator of course nods and smiles
    and thanks me very much for all that information
  578. and forgets it the minute I leave.
  579. Because he still believes what Orange,
    that used to be France Télécom, tells him
  580. about how you can't make wireless networks
    without immense monetary investments.
  581. We will begin to gain on network neutrality
  582. when we have a box in everybody's apartment
    that can offer free telephone service over tunnelling
  583. around non-neutrality and talk to GSM handsets.
    Oh, that would be the Freedom Box.
  584. See, that's what I wanna do.
    I wanna build a ring of engineering
  585. around the idea of
    non-neutral network management.
  586. I wanna have a box in your house
    that senses the upstream and says
  587. oh my God he's stopping port 655
  588. I think I'll route that
    from my friend's apartment.
  589. Then I think we will get some interesting
    network neutrality conversation going.
  590. When you call for decentralisation
  591. aren't you really going against
    the trend of history as we've seen it?
  592. For example we used to have
    Usenet which was decentralised
  593. that's moved much more to web based forums.
  594. Or likewise we in geekdom may love IRC.
    We may go to Freenode
  595. but the general public all know about
    Twitter which is moving into that space.
  596. And I think there are many reasons
    why this could be happening
  597. but I think the primary reason is perhaps mindshare.
    The journalists who report this to the general public
  598. outside geekdom know about websites,
    they know about Twitter.
  599. They never knew about Usenet
    so only geeks know about that
  600. If we take this point perhaps the mindshare
    you need to be going for is the journalists
  601. who report on the net, get them
    to report on decentralised networks
  602. and get the public to start using them.
  603. Yes, it's a crucial part
    of the activity, that's right.
  604. We're going to talk to people.
  605. Some of those people are gonna be journalists
    and some of them are gonna be our friends
  606. and some of them are gonna be other engineers
    and some of them are gonna be people who
  607. when their wireless router breaks
    they can go out buying a Freedom Box
  608. cause it's cheaper and neater
    and cooler and does more good stuff.
  609. And some of them are gonna be
    people who buy because they need it.
  610. We just have to make the software.
  611. The hardware guys will make
    the hardware and everything will happen.
  612. I don't know how long.
    I don't know with what degree of certainty.
  613. But I don't know if it's
    about going against the flow of history.
  614. I think it's about pushing the pendulum back.
  615. The general public have to know that this
    option exists and will serve their needs.
  616. Yes, Apple will always advertise more than we will.
  617. But the general public knows about Firefox
    so they can know about the Freedom Box too.
  618. I think we have to stop
    in order to allow the conference to go on.
  619. Thank you very much for your time.