Today, our rights and the overall quality of our life heavily depend on how software is used around us. This is true also for people (including children) who don’t care much about computers, or don’t even have one. This is why in 2006/2007 I wrote a Family Guide to Digital Freedom and an associated website. My goal was to try to explain, in one place and in the simplest possible way, what everybody should know about software, digital technologies and digital culture, in order to protect their rights. Above all, I wanted to explain the real reasons why everybody (starting from parents and teachers) should seriously care about certain issues. Now the whole text of that book is readable online on this website (see link at the bottom).
One reason for doing this is that, even if that text has the limits explained in the disclaimer below, the basic concepts and issues are still valid and, I believe, immediately useful as they are to many people. Besides, I want to collect feedback and suggestions for a new edition (probably as e-book) of the Family Guide to Digital Freedom. The 2007 text here is divided in chapters just to facilitate efficient, separate discussions on each topic. But there’s more…
From the Guide to the course: Digital Citizens Basics
Since I am more convinced today than when I started that it is very important for everybody to know about these things, I will offer a very simple, non technical course. Starting in April 2011, I will teach online the same things I put in the Guide, but interactively and always using the latest practical examples straight from the Internet. If you have ever heard about computers, you know enough to participate and benefit from that course. I put the whole 2007 edition online also to give you an idea of what you will learn from it. To know more, please visit the “Digital Citizens Basics” page.
Disclaimer about the 2007 edition
Four years can be a very long time when digital matters are concerned. Several things important today are missing from the 2007 Guide. Today there also are much better examples to explain certain issues than those I made 4 years ago. I have changed too. I have spent much more time studying these problems and speaking/teaching about them in the last four years than I had done when I published the first edition: I changed my opinion on a few things, and I would (will) write lots of parts in a different way today. In the 2007 book I also mentioned several things that I was planning to do at digifreedom.net. For several reasons I ended up doing almost all of them but on this website instead.
This is why, here and there you’ll find some broken link and/or assertions that, 4 years later, turn out to be wrong or irrelevant. Please don’t be surprised and signal them in a comment; I put everything online just to make both the next edition of the book and the course much better than the first Guide.
Thanks for your patience. Here is the Table of Contents of the Family Guide to Digital Freedom, 2007 Edition.