News from the frontlines of the Open Wireless Movement en Open Wireless Advocates to European Court: Don't Make Us Lock Down Our Networks! <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><em>Crossposted from the <a href="">EFF blog</a></em></p> <p>The vision of a world of shared open wireless is a compelling one—it means that wherever you go in an urban or other covered area, the connected devices that you own now (and new devices that are today only on the drawing board) will enjoy immediate, seamless, private, and free access to the global Internet. But such a world might exclude Europe, depending on the outcome of a pending case there that calls the viability of open wireless networks into question. EFF and its partners have formulated an open letter—which you can <a href="">read here</a> or below—presenting our views on why a result that threatens open wireless would be a serious loss to innovators, small businesses, travelers, emergency services and users at large.</p> <p>One of the legal protections that currently supports open wireless is the principle that Internet intermediaries, such as ISPs and wireless hotspot operators, are not responsible for content that passes over their networks. In Europe, this principle derives from <a href="">Article 12 of the E-Commerce Directive</a>, which immunizes a so-called "mere conduit" from liability for communications over their networks, only on condition that they did not initiate the communication, select its recipient, or modify it in transit. This provision, however, does not shield such providers from various type of enforcement measures in aid of rights holders, such as website blocking. The permissibility of these measures then depends on a simple rule: are they good for the society at large?</p> <p>The application of this legal framework to open wireless networks has come under challenge in the McFadden reference (C-484/14) concerning a German shopkeeper whose free open wireless network was allegedly used to infringe copyright. In the preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Europe's highest court is asked whether an enforcement practice requiring open wireless networks to be locked is an acceptable one. Germany's Federal Supreme Court in 2010 held that the private operator of a wireless network is obliged to use password protection in order to prevent abuse by third parties. If the CJEU affirms this finding, the effect could be to extend this bad precedent throughout Europe, grounding the open wireless movement across the continent. If on the other hand it rejects that finding, German law could be forced to return to sanity, allowing thousands of hotspot operators to open up their networks again.</p> <p>The main question point in the case turns on whether locking of open wireless networks would be a proportionate enforcement mechanism that advances the public interest. The open letter, co-written with <a href="">Martin Husovec</a>, Affiliate Scholar at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet &amp; Society (CIS), points out that prohibiting open wireless networks creates a serious obstacle to legitimate trade, that cannot be justified by the limited potential benefits of locked-down networks to rightsholders. The letter highlights exact instances of social benefits that will be lost if locking of open wireless networks becomes a standard. Holding wireless network operators anyhow accountable for content that passes over their networks thus should be against European law.</p> <p>The open letter that we publish today has been supported by a coalition of other organizations from both sides of the Atlantic who support the ideals of the open wireless movement, and concur with our conclusion that an adverse decision in the McFadden case that requires Europe to lock down its open wireless networks would be a blow to human rights, economic progress and innovation across the continent. We will be updating this post as additional signatories join the call.</p> <iframe class="pdf" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen="" src="" data-src="" width="600px" frameborder="no" height="600px"></iframe></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/adi">adi</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/users/jmalcolm">jmalcolm</a></div><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/pde">pde</a></div></div></div> Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:58:52 +0000 jmalcolm 62 at Don't Be Fooled: "Six Strikes" Will Undoubtedly Harm Open Wireless <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><em>Crossposted from the <a href="">EFF blog</a></em></p> <p>In a <a href="">recent blog post</a>, Jill Lesser, Executive Director of the Center for Copyright Information, responded to widespread concerns that the <a href="">copyright surveillance machine</a> known as the Copyright Alert System—or "Six Strikes"—would cripple libraries and cafes that provided open wireless networks. The title of said post: "CAS Will Not Harm Public Wi-Fi."</p> <p>We disagree. </p> <p>One key and enduring problem is the CCI's blinkered view of open wireless. Lesser protests that the "vast majority of businesses, including those like Starbucks that provide legitimate open Wi-Fi connections, will have an Internet connection that is tailored to a business operation." Well, maybe. As of now, few large Internet service providers (ISPs) allow for open wireless through their corporate Internet plans—and even then, it usually requires a special agreement between the business and the ISP.</p> <p>In any event, the notion that some "legitimate open Wi-Fi connections" are protected provides little comfort. Open wireless can—and should—mean much, much more than services provided by deep-pocketed businesses like Starbucks negotiating special deals with giant ISPs. As the <a href="">Open Wireless Movement</a> aims to explain, the benefits of open wireless should be available in all spaces—commercial, residential, and public. Having ubiquitous access to the Internet through shared connections protects privacy, promotes innovation, and serves the public good.</p> <p>Yet the copyright surveillance machine operates by <a href="">sending users alerts</a> that directly undermine this laudable goal. For example, the CAS process purportedly begins by warning users to ensure their "wireless connection is password protected." The message this send to supporters of open wireless is obvious: Big Content and major ISPs are working together to stifle the movement just as it is gaining real legs around the United States.</p> <p>Everybody should have the right and ability to run open wireless networks for the benefit of themselves, their guests, and their neighbors. Let's not kid ourselves into thinking the corporate interests of copyright lobbyists are important enough to thwart beneficial Internet practices and policies.</p> <p>Lesser herself admits the copyright surveillance machine will overreach, harming many small businesses that provide an open wireless connection:</p> <blockquote><p>Depending on the type of Internet service they subscribe to, very small businesses like a home-office or a local real estate office may have an Internet connection that is similar from a network perspective to a residential connection... The practical result is that if an employee of the small business, or someone using an open Wi-Fi connection at the business, engages in infringing activity the primary account owner would receive Alerts.</p></blockquote> <p>Her best response is a red herring:</p> <blockquote><p>Nonetheless, these small business accounts would not be subject to disconnection under the CAS any more than a residential subscriber would – termination is not part of the CAS.</p></blockquote> <p>Termination may not be part of the CAS, but <strong>that's not the point</strong>—the program still uses "protecting copyright" as an excuse to seriously hinder a user's online experience. For example, CAS involves not just "education" but also "Mitigation Measures," such as <a href="">slowing down Internet speeds to 256 kbps</a> for days—rendering your connection all but unusable in today's era of videochats and Netflix.</p> <p>Lesser doesn't think that's a problem. As she told the radio show <a href="">On The Media</a>: "The reduction of speed, which one or more of the ISPs will be using as a mitigation measure, is first of all only 48 hours, which is far from termination."</p> <p>But that's 48 hours of lower productivity and limited communication across the globe, based on nothing more than a mere allegation of copyright infringement. </p> <p>Internet users, we have a choice to make about how we govern the Internet. We can aim to maximize the effectiveness of our infrastructure, encouraging secure <a href="">open wireless networks</a> and expanding both bandwidth and the number of devices that can use it. Or, we can decide that enforcing the copyrights of a few entrenched content companies is more important than having well-functioning Internet infrastructure. </p> <p>At EFF, we'll choose protecting the Internet over protecting outdated business models every time. Join us.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/adi">adi</a></div></div></div> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 19:50:44 +0000 adi 55 at Can the FCC Create Public "Super WiFi Networks"? <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p>The <em>Washington Post</em> boldly <a href="">led a front-page story</a> last weekend with the claim: "The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month."</p> <p>Let's get one thing straight: the government is not creating its own "super WiFi network", but its plans will indeed make awesome new WiFi networks possible. Technically, what the FCC is actually trying to do is increase the amount of open spectrum that is available for WiFi networks of all sorts—and for other "unlicensed" uses. This is a very good idea. Increasing the amount of unlicensed spectrum will lead to better functioning routers, tablets, laptops, and smartphones—and to a host of other new products in the marketplace. It will enhance the quality and supply of extremely useful <a href="">open wireless</a> networks, but it will also increase the quality of (somewhat less efficient) password-locked WiFi networks as well.</p> <p>Leaving spectrum open was a necessary historical step for the creation of WiFi in the first place: all of the popular <a href="">802.11</a> devices and standards we use at home, work, and other places—as well as new high-value "wireless ISPs" (WISPs)—only exist because there is some unlicensed spectrum that they can squeeze into. But it's a portion (the "amateur" section of <a href="">this chart</a>). Much more of the spectrum has been auctioned off, and while privatized spectrum can be useful, it currently appears to produce much less benefit in terms of utility and innovative products per megahertz than the unlicensed portions. Increasing the amount of open spectrum available for new products to use is likely to produce comparable gains in the future.</p> <p>In short, the <em>Post</em> was correct to claim that more open spectrum will allow for more efficient wireless networks that would improve the quality of VOIP and video conferencing systems, as well as enable cool new gadgets that do things we haven't even thought of yet.</p> <p>Despite the obvious gains for innovation, <a href="">Congressional Republicans</a> are opposing the FCC's plan on behalf of the telecom industry. Instead, they want more auctions, a process by which the government would hand out monopolies on the last remaining scraps of the spectrum. While this earns the government money in the short term (the 2008 auction raised $19 billion), the long-term harms to innovation would be much greater.</p> <h3>Spectrum Auctions Hurt Users and Harm Innovation</h3> <p>Spectrum auctions are very tax-like in the sense that they transfer resources from individuals and companies in the marketplace into the coffers of the federal government. Put simply: if spectrum is open, you can develop around it for free. If spectrum is auctioned to a single company, said company will pass that investment cost—plus a hefty markup—on to its customers via an expensive cellular or wireless data plan. These auction dynamics and limited competition have led to US citizens paying <a href="">twice as much</a> for their cell phones as people in the rest of the developed world.</p> <p>While telecom companies claim that such monopolies incentivize them to invest in their own infrastructure, the question becomes: are consumers and network users actually getting more benefit per megahertz from the expensive, auctioned-off spectrum, or from the small amount of free spectrum that is currently left over for wireless networks and other uses that are not centrally planned?</p> <p>It turns out that the answer often sides with unlicensed uses: open spectrum is currently used more efficiently than spectrum that has been auctioned off. Why?</p> <p>From an economic perspective, it seems that unlicensed spectrum has simply allowed for more productive technology. A <a href="">recent working paper</a> by Harvard's Yochai Benkler concluded that in eight major wireless markets—from broadband to healthcare to payments—open wireless technologies proved to be dominant. Opening the white spaces will straightforwardly allow indviduals and firms to build better networks and make better use of the spectrum.</p> <p>As Public Knowledge's <a href="">Harold Feld notes</a> in a particularly excellent 2011 article titled "Why The Proposed "Unlicensed Auction" Is Such A Phenomonally Bad Idea -- The Economics":</p> <blockquote><p>Licensing encourages the licensee to maximize the profitability of the spectrum... This is why there are only a handful of large licensed network operators and several dozen smaller providers. By contrast, there are several thousand wireless ISPs using unlicensed spectrum to provide broadband in rural areas unprofitable for wireless providers. In addition, there are tens of thousands of coffee shops, hotels, and other establishments offering wifi. Hundreds of manufacturers put wifi – or other protocols using the unlicensed bands -- into everything from printers to refrigerators.</p></blockquote> <p>We agree with Feld, although his estimates of the number of users of open spectrum are probably an order of magnitude too low.</p> <p>While licensed spectrum provides certain benefits (for example, shielding from network interference), unlicensed spectrum allows for greater utilization and scaling. Almost every Internet user utilizes WiFi or devices from manufacturers who have benefited from the ready availability of WiFi. Such low barriers promote innovation and drive down costs. A <a href="">Stanford paper</a> commissioned by Google also delves into the immense economic and technological benefits of unlicensed spectrum, focusing on the development of WiFi as a prime example of the unforeseen gains that are fostered by available spectrum.</p> <p>From a more technical perspective, the wireless routers we install in our homes and offices are closer together, allowing them to operate at lower power and with correspondingly greater <a href="">area spectral efficiency</a>. The decentralized architecture of wireless routers scattered everywhere is more efficient than the phone companies' use of comparatively centralized long-range cell towers. <fn>Phone companies try to mimic this architecture by charging their customers for "femtocells," which have similar properties to WiFi. (Actually, it would be fairer for phone companies to be paying their customers to run these, since they improve the phone network and bring in more revenue because everyone who uses them has to pay for the calls or bytes). In any case, the number of wireless access points massively outpaces the number of femtocells, leading to higher spectral efficiency</fn></p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>The most prudent spectrum policy calls for a healthy balance of open and privately managed bands, because different stewardship models may work better for different generations of technology or application types. But at the moment, there is a problematic imbalance away from openness. Having more open spectrum networks will allow WiFi (whether that's <a href="">open WiFi</a>, locked networks, or paid-for hot spots) to be faster, longer range, and more reliable; will allow more WISPs that offer low cost point-to-point Internet access; and will allow companies to innovate in ways that we haven't even anticipated yet. We agree with the <i>Washington Post</i> and the FCC: from here, open is the way to go.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/adi">adi</a></div><div class="field-item odd"><a href="/users/pde">pde</a></div></div></div> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 18:27:27 +0000 adi 54 at Open Wireless coalition adds five new member organizations <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p>Since the Open Wireless Movement launched last month, we have received a lot of excited responses and helpful feedback. It's clear that the conversation about a world of open wireless was waiting to be reinvigorated.</p> <p>We are happy to announce five new members of the Open Wireless Movement coalition: the <a href="">Center for Media Justice</a>, <a href="">Engine</a>, <a href="">Noisebridge</a>, <a href="">Open Media International</a>, and <a href="">Open Rights Group</a>.</p> <p>These new coalition members help expand the Open Wireless Movement into a global movement, with Open Media International and Open Rights Group leading digital rights efforts around the world. And we have already seen steps towards an open wireless ecosystem in Europe, for example, with companies like Fon pursuing business models that encourage widely accessible Wi-Fi.</p> <p>Center for Media Justice brings their expertise in media and social change, and Engine has already posted an <a href="">excellent blog post</a> tying Open Wireless with the latest spectrum-related issues on the Hill. And Noisebridge, a popular hackerspace in San Francisco, has given the movement its support. Hackerspaces foster creativity and education around technology, and have already benefitted from not only opening their doors to anyone, but also their networks. We are hoping that more community spaces around the world follow Noisebridge's lead.</p> <p>The Open Wireless Movement cannot survive without a strong coalition of organizations and individuals who believe in the benefits of a world with ubiquitous, open Internet. If you are interested in joining, please email</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/adi">adi</a></div></div></div> Mon, 26 Nov 2012 22:49:39 +0000 adi 52 at Open Garden: The case for Open Wireless <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><em>Cross-posted from the <a href="">Open Garden Foundation blog</a>.</em></p> <p>For decades, it has not been possible to have open communications systems on the physical level. In a world of wires, network access meant physical access. Wireless networking enabled the technical possibility of a completely open network.</p> <p>An open network is better than one with many silos, as long as free riding is contained, because, to a given user paying a given cost, an open network provides connectivity that is faster and in more places. To see how an open network creates additional value, consider two people, you and me. We both have the same type of connection at home, and pay the same for it. Occasionally, we are near each other's houses, but we do not know each other. Consider the baseline world as we have it today: I can use my network when I am home and you can use your network when you are home, but we can't use each other's networks. Imagine a world where both of our networks are open. Now each of us can use the other's network when we are next to the other's house. Given that my network is mostly not used at any given moment, you using it for brief periods when you are near costs me very little. However, my ability to use your network when I am near your house creates new value for me, far greater value than what I lost when you used my network. Thus, for the same price, the open network served both us us better than a closed one would have.</p> <p>The sharing of last-mile Internet capacity extends the way the Internet works already everywhere but the last hop to the connection at the very edge. On the Internet, users already share capacity of all the links. This is what makes the Internet so cost-effective. This statistical multiplexing principle allows to achieve better level of service for any given amount of capacity. Not only is statistical multiplexing used on the Internet, similar principles apply to airline overbooking and even fractional reserve banking.</p> <p>Open Garden supports and promotes the openness of wireless networks, which is why we are a member of the <a href="" target="_blank">Open Wireless</a> coalition, founded by the <a href="" target="_blank">Electronic Frontier Foundation</a>.</p> <p>The goals of the movement are also our goals.</p> <p>The place of Open Garden in the Open Wireless ecosystem is that of a tool. One of the concerns of potential adopters of open wireless is free riding. Open Garden guarantees mutuality by the very nature of our software: to access Open Garden, users need to install the app, and installing the app also enables sharing of their own access.</p> <p>We look forward to working with Open Wireless coalition to bring about a world where more utility is extracted from networks and where the openness and the sharing that exists everywhere else on the Internet also extends to the very edge of the network.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/stas">stas</a></div></div></div> Fri, 16 Nov 2012 08:00:00 +0000 adi 49 at Engine: Why Open Wireless? <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><em>Cross-posted from the <a href="">Engine</a> blog.</em></p> <p>Wireless communication has fundamentally changed the way we use technology and do business. It’s easy to take for granted the ubiquitous nature of wireless services in the United States today, especially as <a href="" title="">LTE rolls out</a> providing more robust options. The speed with which data-hungry devices are being adopted, teamed with a limited amount of available spectrum, has led to what some call a "<a href="" title="">spectrum crunch</a>," contributing to problems like dropped calls and stalled downloads as well as data caps and other pricing mechanisms aimed at limiting ever-growing data consumption.</p> <p>In light of these issues, Engine has joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and 11 other groups to support the <a href="" title="">Open Wireless Movement</a>, a coalition of advocates, companies, organizations, and technologists working to develop wireless technologies and to encourage internet openness. Strengthening the wireless ecosystem isn't just about bad service on your iPhone or poaching your neighbor's WiFi; effective, efficient, and secure wireless communication options will propel future innovation and economic growth.</p> <p>The Open Wireless Movement is about more than wireless hotspots. It links service providers, businesses, and engineers to develop networks around the country that are free, secure, and reliable for everyone. By emphasizing the benefits of sharing, we aim to create new ways of thinking about the wireless ecosystem.</p> <p>Now you might say, "The Federal Communications Commission is planning new spectrum <a href="" title="">auctions</a> in the next few years. What's the problem?"</p> <p>Even with new blocks of spectrum up for auction, the demand for wireless data is projected to continue to <a href="" title="">grow rapidly</a>. If we don't change the way we approach spectrum through public policy and private deployment, we will limit opportunities for startups to create new products by harnessing wireless technologies.</p> <p>Doing so will require not just forward-thinking policies, but a move toward open and shared technologies. Focusing on -- and increasing the success of -- unlicensed technologies like Bluetooth, WiFi, and RFID will be central to our success. These technologies have empowered innovators to experiment with and build low-cost, reliable devices and protocols that have led to the rise of successful segments of the technology ecosystem.</p> <p>New auctions ought to continue the FCC's track record of creating fair markets for commercial-use spectrum for wireless carriers. These auctions should increase their focus on access to spectrum for small and regional wireless companies that can push innovation in local communities.</p> <p>We must also recognize that the use of auctions and unlicensed technologies is not a zero-sum game. WiFi and carrier-owned spectrum have proven to be exceptional complements. Moves to marginalize unlicensed spectrum allocations or artificially increase auction prices harm consumers, innovators, and businesses. <a href="" title="">Recommendations</a> made by the White House in July that the federal government share some of its spectrum with commercial users may increase our access to the public resource, opening the door to even more technologies that will push innovation forward.</p> <p>The Open Wireless Movement is one step in a broader rethink of how we access the internet. Engine is excited to be on board and we encourage you to <a href="" title="">read more</a> about the project, learn how you can promote the cause, volunteer to help engineer new wireless solutions, or get updated on how to make your wireless network part of the movement.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/edwardgoodmann">edwardgoodmann</a></div></div></div> Mon, 12 Nov 2012 08:00:00 +0000 edwardgoodmann 48 at Open Media Internation: We've Joined the Open Wireless Movement <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><em>Cross-posted from the <a href="">Open Media International</a> blog.</em></p> <p>Imagine a world where your wireless network is open and available to all, and where such openness is seen as <a href="">basic politeness</a> – the equivalent of providing a guest with a hot cup of tea.</p> <p>That’s the vision of the <strong><a href="">Open Wireless Movement</a></strong>, a coalition we’ve joined that consists of Internet freedom advocates, companies, organizations, and technologists who are working together towards a future with ubiquitous open Internet.</p> <p>The aim is to facilitate urban environments where dozens of open networks are freely available, wireless Internet functions more <a href="">efficiently</a> through a societal expectation of sharing, and privacy is enhanced by ensuring that we are can no longer be identified solely by our IP addresses.</p> <p>It's so important to start talking about ways to make Internet access available to all, and to figure out how to do this without sacrificing security or bandwidth. This coalition is an effort to have those conversations and try out new ideas, and we’re excited to be part of it.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Check it out now!</a></strong></p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/catherinehart">catherinehart</a></div></div></div> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 08:00:00 +0000 catherinehart 46 at OTI: Internet rights groups launch Open Wireless Movement <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><em>Cross-posted from the <a href="">Open Technology Institute</a> blog.</em></p> <p>Last week, a coalition of Internet rights groups <a href="">launched the Open Wireless Movement</a>, a new project which will promote shared wireless Internet access. The Open Technology Institute and OTI's <a href="">Open Internet Tools Project</a> are two of the ten groups in this coalition.</p> <p>The Open Wireless Movement site (<a href=""></a>) provides technological and legal information about configuring a home or business WiFi router to share the connection with others, including how-to guides and information about common myths. The site includes specialized information for households, small businesses, developers, and Internet Service Providers. The Open Wireless Movement coalition is also working to develop router technology which will ultimately make it easier for people to open their networks without compromising the quality of Internet access or security.</p> <p>The Open Technology Institute, a vocal proponent of open, ubiquitous Internet services, is a proud member of this coalition. We base our work around evidence that the Internet has become a vital tool, and in many cases, a necessity for accessing local and global resources. In addition to OTI’s policy advocacy and work with communities to plan and build networks, the Open Wireless Movement will contribute additional avenues to ensure that individuals and communities have access to this critical resource.</p> <p>OTI works in a number of other ways to support communities in expanding access to the Internet. The <a href="">Commotion Wireless Project</a> helps create local infrastructure for communities to share Internet connectivity over mesh networks. OTI also works with public interest organizations to advocate for policies that enable <a href="">community wireless infrastructure</a> and partners with <a href="">various community groups</a> that are <a href="">working to promote the digital literacy skills</a> that are critical to success. OTI is also a key player in the <a href="">International Summit for Community Wireless Networks</a>, which brings together technology experts, policy analysts, on-the-ground specialists, and university researchers working on state-of-the-art community broadband projects.</p> <p>The Open Wireless Movement, by allowing people to share critical Internet resources with other members of their communities, will help to further these efforts. Members of the Open Wireless Coalition include: the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Internet Archive, NYCwireless, the Open Garden Foundation, OTI’s OpenITP, the Open Spectrum Alliance, the Open Technology Institute, and the Personal Telco Project.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/seamus">seamus</a></div></div></div> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 08:00:00 +0000 seamus 47 at Open Wireless Movement launches, with OpenITP support <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><em>Cross-posted from the <a href="">OpenITP blog</a>.</em></p> <p>Congratulations to the <a href="">Open Wireless Movement</a> on their launch!</p> <p>The OWM is an initiative of the <a href="">Electronic Frontier Foundation</a>, and when we saw what they were trying to do, we gladly provided some early financial support. We're happy to be standing with a distinguished list of partners that includes the <a href="">Open Technology Institute</a>, the <a href="">Internet Archive</a>, and <a href="">Free Press</a> among others — see the <a href="">OWM home page</a> for the complete list.</p> <p>Why does the Open Wireless Movement matter for privacy and freedom of communication on the Internet?</p> <p>The first place any repressive regime turns to enforce Net censorship is the Internet service providers. ISPs are a central point of control: if you can get the ISP to reveal the subscriber's name and activities to authorities, then the subscriber's safe route to the Net is tainted at its source. A strong open wireless movement changes that dynamic. When people share Net access, they dilute risk. It's like taking out a community-wide insurance policy against censorship and surveillance: "I'll let you surf on my network if you let me surf on yours, and those watching will have a harder time knowing which of us is looking at what." When that deal is extended to anonymous strangers, it becomes more difficult to track individuals and target them for their activities. Privacy, anonymity, and security on the Internet are not just about encryption and arcane technical measures, they're also about decentralization of control and strengthening social protocols — giving people tools to help each other directly, without relying on a central, and thus potentially corruptible, intermediary.</p> <p>The first question people always ask about the Open Wireless Movement is: <em>"Won't freeloaders swamp my connection by using it to stream video?"</em> The answer is "Not in practice, and besides, you can guarantee they won't by setting your wireless router to offer only as much bandwidth to strangers as you're comfortable with". The OWM site answers this and many other questions, and explains all the reasons why running an open wireless network is a good idea. <a href="">Check it out.</a></p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/karl">karl</a></div></div></div> Sun, 04 Nov 2012 01:51:10 +0000 karl 44 at EFF: Why We Have An Open Wireless Movement <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><h3>EFF believes open networks are crucial in hurricane-affected areas</h3> <p><a href=""><img src="" align="right" /></a></p> <p><em>Update: In response to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, Comcast is opening its <a href="">XFINITY WiFi</a> hotspots to non-Comcast subscribers in PA, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, MA, NH and ME until Nov. 7. Users should search for the network "xfinitywifi" and click on "Not a Comcast subscriber?" at the bottom of the sign-in page. Users should select the "Complimentary Trial Session" option from the drop down list. The <a href="">Open Wireless Movement</a> thanks Comcast for helping out!</em></p> <p>In troubled times, it's important to help each other out. Right now, we're witnessing an unprecedented hurricane hitting the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and the ensuing damage and power outages are crippling rescue efforts, businesses large and small, and personal communications.</p> <p>Communication is critical in time of crisis, and the Internet allows for the most effective way of getting information in and out. With readily available networks, government officials could use tools like Twitter to quickly spread information, citizen reports could help focus assistance where it is needed most, and social media updates could help reassure friends and loved ones—keeping mobile phone lines open for emergencies.</p> <p>To take advantage of the Internet, people should not have to attempt to skirt restrictive Terms of Service to attempt to <a href="">tether their smartphones</a>. And tethering would not be necessary if there were ubiquitous open wireless, so that anyone with a connection and power can <a href="">share their network</a> with the neigborhood.</p> <p>Last year, we wrote a post titled <a href=";">"Why We Need An Open Wireless Movement."</a> Today, EFF is proud to announce the launch of the Open Wireless Movement—located at <a href=""></a>—a coalition effort put forth in conjunction with nine other organizations: Fight for the Future, Free Press, Internet Archive, NYCwireless, the Open Garden Foundation, OpenITP, the Open Spectrum Alliance, the Open Technology Institute, and the Personal Telco Project.</p> <p>Aimed at residences, businesses, Internet service providers (ISPs), and developers, the Open Wireless Movement helps foster a world where the dozens of wireless networks that criss-cross any urban area are now open for us and our devices to use.</p> <p></p><center><img src="" alt="" title="New Yorkers using a closed Starbucks' wireless network in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. (photo courtesy of NowThis News)" width="450" /><p>New Yorkers using a closed Starbucks' wireless network in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. <br /><em>photo courtesy of <a href="">NowThis News</a></em></p> <p></p></center> <h3>Imagine a future with ubiquitous open Internet</h3> <p>The Open Wireless Movement envisions a world where people readily have access to open wireless Internet connections—a world where sharing one's network in a way that ensures security yet preserves quality is the norm. Much of this vision is attainable now. In fact, many people have routers that already feature <a href="">"guest networking"</a> capabilities. To make this even easier, we are working with a coalition of volunteer engineers to build technologies that would make it simple for Internet subscribers to portion off their wireless networks for guests and the public while maintaining security, protecting privacy, and preserving quality of access. And we're working with advocates to help change the way people and businesses think about Internet service.</p> <p>We're also teaching the world about the many benefits of open wireless in order to help society move away from closed networks and to a world in which open access is the default. We are working to <a href="">debunk myths (and confront truths)</a> about open wireless while creating technologies and legal precedent to ensure it is safe, private, and legal to open your network.</p> <h3>The benefits of open wireless</h3> <p>We believe there are <a href="">many benefits</a> to having a world of open wireless. Two of the big ones for us have to do with privacy and innovation.</p> <p>Open wireless protects privacy. By using multiple IP addresses as one shifts from wireless network to wireless network, you can make it more difficult for advertisers and marketing companies to track you without cookies. Activists can better protect their anonymous communication by using open wireless (though <a href="">Tor</a> is still recommended).</p> <p>Innovations would also thrive: Smarter tablets, watches, clothing, cars—the possibilities are endless. In a future with ubiquitous open Internet, smartphones can take advantage of persistent, higher quality connections to run apps more efficiently without reporting your whereabouts or communications. Inventors and creators would not have to ask permission of cell phone companies to utilize their networks, both freeing up radio spectrum and reducing unnecessary barriers to entry.</p> <h3>Join the movement</h3> <p>This movement is just beginning, but in a sense it has always been around. People, businesses, and communities have already been opening up their wireless networks, sharing with their neighbors, and providing an important public good. We want this movement to grow without unnecessary legal fears or technical restraints.</p> <p>Join the Open Wireless Movement. Whether you're a household or small business, a technologist or a student, we need your support. Check out <a href=""></a> for more information, and spread the word.</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-author field-type-user-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/users/adi">adi</a></div></div></div> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 19:45:53 +0000 adi 31 at