Your money, your public software. And router too

It’s as simple as that, really.

The last yearly report of Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) documents its main achievements during 2020. At least two of them, namely the campaign for European public code and the one about Users freedom, and routers, deserve the greatest attention by the general public.

“Public Money? Public Code!”

Your money, your public software. And router too /img/fsfe-one-place-for-public-code.jpg

“Public Money? Public Code!” is the ongoing FSFE campaign for something very simple that makes a lot of sense: publicly financed software developed for the public sector should be made publicly available under a Free Software licence.

The campaign has already had a big influence on political bodies in Europe. Perhaps its most important impact so far have been in Germany. Nationwide, the biggest conservative party in Europe, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), updated their party convention so that it now includes the demand that software developed with public money should be publicly available as Free Software.

Locally, the City of Munich committed again to software freedom by supporting the FSFE demand for public code.

The continuing interest in the #publiccode campaign has also caused the formation of a new alliance of administrations, business and civil society organisations, who call for a collaborative code repository for Free Software developed by the german public sector.

Your internet access freedom starts from your router

Your money, your public software. And router too /img/fsfe-router-freedom.jpg

Sometimes, surely too often, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) impose excessive, unjustified constraints on how their customers may change or reconfigure their own modems or routers.

FSFE has worked to end these restrictions since 2013 with its Router Freedom in Europe campaign, that has been particularly important in 2020. During that year, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) drafted new “Guidelines on the Location of the Network Termination Point”, that threatened the fundamental rights of end-users to choose their own routers and modems. The FSFE comments to that draft, however, contributed to make BEREC side with the FSFE’s demand that any router and modem be under the full control of the user, who can freely decide which device to use - not in control of ISPs: “Most important, BEREC modified the official text in order to explicitly adopt our position that Router Freedom should be the rule”.

What’s not to like here? Demand it!

Software developed with your tax money, to give you some service, should be immediately available (at least) to every other project funded with the same money, to save your money. And no internet provider should force you to use an inferior device to connect to the internet throught their network.

It’s as simple as that. If there are no such guarantees where you live, demand them!