Law in the Internet Society

Freedom In The Cloud

This analysis of the roots of the privacy problem in the Net, and the development of the "cloud computing" model from the previous structure of the Microsoft Era is the background to the FreedomBox project and Diaspora*, along with other efforts to use the anarchist development and distribution models we have previously discussed to deal with the privacy problems we are currently discussing. Anyone who has trouble with technical concepts I don't explain clearly enough in the talk will be doing everyone a favor by asking those questions here.

Hi- I am not sure if my previous comment uploaded (betraying my lack of technical skill) and so this is attempt two! I was interested in reading and hearing about the Freedom Box after listening to the speech 'Freedom In the Cloud'. I had not heard about the Freedom Box before and so I am interested in hearing more in class, or through this online discussion, on how the project is going. This may be a dumb question, but I could not tell from the website and the CBS news segment whether the Freedom Box is currently for sale, being distributed etc and exactly what it can do so far in terms of dreaded 'platforms' and software. Does the freedom box work within the Apple 'walled garden', which would clearly be desirable? I am also interested in hearing from you, Professor, whether there has been any reaction to the Freedom Box work from the US government. Thanks, Gillian

-- GillianWhite - 03 Nov 2012

I have a question about how in theory, searching is done in the Freedom Box. Is it contemplated that each Freedom Box will continuously scanning the whole net and storing all webpages it see? What would be the aggregated effect of billions of Freedom Boxes are scanning the whole net at the same time? Thanks, Shimeng.

-- ShimengCheng - 04 Nov 2012

Like the others, I was also wondering on the progress of the Freedom Box.

When you stated that servers have ceased to be made of iron, what did you mean? Were you referring to servers being less accessible and not made of buttons and switches now? I was confused by what the term iron meant in context.

Thank you.

-- AdithyaMani - 04 Nov 2012

You seem to indicate that the "cloud," as it is commonly referred to, is nothing new. You seem to hint that it is only an alteration of the already dominant client-server system, as opposed to peer-to-peer. Do you mean that your data is just as or more accessible in the cloud as it was already?

You additionally said the cloud does represent a minor alteration to this client-server system. Could you identify specifically what this minor alteration is? You mention that the cloud represents a shift of servers being virtual -- is that this minor alteration (i.e. that in the "cloud" servers are virtual as opposed to physical)?

Also, you mention that platform providers (such as Microsoft) are in "total control." Could you elaborate more on what the danger's of using these Microsoft platform's are? I re-played the part thereafter concerning "services," but was a bit lost on what you meant, and couldn't figure out the connection between platforms provided and the services tied with them, and the dangers therein.

Thank you.

-- MatthewGriffinCashia - 05 Nov 2012

I found your discussion of the structure of the web very interesting –that there’s no technological reason the paradigm shouldn’t be peer to peer and instead internet service companies, media companies, tech companies etc. have pushed the server-client paradigm.

In a perfect world if peer to peer on the web were the rule rather than the exception would you still see any place for consumer internet products/services that rely on the server-client paradigm? As you said a major source of friction in pushing people away from these services is convenience. It seems there are certain consumer services that can be delivered on the web that individuals simply cannot provide for themselves, no matter their technical wherewithal that are incredibly useful. If there were in fact strict consumer privacy regulations that prohibited retention of server logs and other methods of tracking users is it possible to deliver these types of consumer services/products on the web at all?

If not, do the concerns with freedom mean that there simply isn't a place in the world for these types of products/services?

-- JohnStewart - 06 Nov 2012

I'm interested in how freedom box technology handles long-distance/rural communication between devices. I understand mesh networking working well in urban areas; with just slightly more-powerful wireless technology than in $20 routers I could envision the entire tri-state area networked without a central ISP. But of course America (let alone the rest of the world) isn't settled so densely throughout. I can imagine long-throwing technology connecting metro area to metro area (even smaller towns), but people in "rural areas" total nearly 60,000,000 according to the 2010 Census. Even if half of those "rural areas" are clustered enough to have local mesh networks connected by long-throwing tech, that's still nearly 30,000,000 people unserved by wireless mesh network technology.

-- MatthewCollins - 06 Nov 2012

I have a few questions based on your talk:

1. Is there a reason why there has to be a physical box where the FreedomBox image file is stored? Shouldn't there be a way of installing it as a program on your computer/phone/etc that would make it work the same way, or is there some technical concept about servers that I don't understand that makes the physical device necessary?

2. I noticed on the FreedomBox website that you mentioned including features of Adblock Plus in the software release. I've been using ABP for a while now, and I love it. However, I've noticed that some websites that depend on advertising revenue and user activity tracking have implemented certain measures to force users to disable ABP (e.g. Hulu, and ESPN for a while until the last ABP update). Have you thought about the backlash from websites like this? Will the response simply be to release updates that find ways to hack around these websites' requirements?

3. What do you think the effect will be on the "free services" industry? (i.e. companies that offer free content but make money selling "targeted" advertising) Will they just vanish, or will they be forced to switch to a business model where users will have to pay a monthly fee. On a related note, what do you see as a realistic percentage of internet users who will choose to use FreedomBox within 5 years of launch?

-- JasonPyke - 08 Nov 2012



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r8 - 08 Nov 2012 - 03:22:58 - JasonPyke
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