(this page is part of the Family Guide to Digital Freedom, 2007 edition. Please do read that introduction to know more about the Guide, especially if you mean to comment this page. Thanks)

Structure of the book

The Family Guide to Digital Freedom describes the fifty most important Things that all parents and educators should know about software, copyright and digital technologies. No previous software knowledge is required. Each Thing has one short chapter devoted entirely to it: all chapters are written in such a way that you can understand most of their content even if you don’t read the others, or should you read them in random order.

The subject of each chapter is almost always presented by describing some real world examples and then explaining (when this isn’t self-evident) why they highlight a serious problem for parents, students and all other citizens. Of course, reading the whole Guide from cover to cover makes it much easier to see how each issue is related to the others.

The Fifty Things are grouped into four main sections. The first one (Chapters 1 - 3) explains briefly what is really at stake, and why the average person should care at all about it.

The second section (Chapters 4 - 32) describes in detail the Digital Dangers we all face, or are already bearing as a consequence of our inattention, and the risks if we continue to do so. Unlike many other books or articles on this topic, we will not deal in detail with technical issues like software performance, reliability or security; don’t worry, this is not a software manual or essay.

Instead, we look at how the lack of truly Free (as in Freedom, not price) Information Technology and related laws harms the standard, vital needs of the civil rights and security, online information or services and digital communications.

The two following sections explain respectively the real causes of those Digital Dangers (Chapters 33 - 35), and the most effective solutions or errors to avoid (Chapters 36 - 50): what the real problem is, what are the right issues to fight for, and how everybody should do it at home, in the office or when voting or shopping. Some tips on how to live in a world where ignoring computers has already become impossible, are also mentioned.