FreedomBox is a community project to develop, design and promote personal servers running free software for distributed social networking, email and audio/video communications. The project was announced by Eben Moglen at the New York ISOC meeting on February 2, 2010.
On February 4, 2011, Moglen formed the FreedomBox Foundation to become the organizational headquarters of the project, and on February 18, 2011, the foundation started a campaign to raise $60,000 in 30 days on the crowdfunding service, Kickstarter. The goal was met on February 22, and on March 19, 2011, the campaign ended after collecting $86,724 from 1,007 backers.
- 1 FreedomBox Definition and Scope
- 2 Related or similar projects
- 3 References
- 4 See also
- 5 External links
Learn About the FreedomBox!Eben Moglen explained the FreedomBox in a short interview with the CBS Evening News. We also have a one page flyer that explains the box quickly and easily to lay people. Print and distribute it at your next conference!
What is FreedomBox?
- Email and telecommunications that protects privacy and resists eavesdropping
- A publishing platform that resists oppression and censorship.
- An organizing tool for democratic activists in hostile regimes.
- An emergency communication network in times of crisis.
Much of the software already exists: onion routing, encryption, virtual private networks, etc. There are tiny, low-watt computers known as "plug servers" to run this software. The hard parts is integrating that technology, distributing it, and making it easy to use without expertise. The harder part is to decentralize it so users have no need to rely on and trust centralized infrastructure.
That's what FreedomBox is: we integrate privacy protection on a cheap plug server so everybody can have privacy. Data stays in your home and can't be mined by governments, billionaires, thugs or even gossipy neighbors.
With FreedomBoxes in their homes, anybody, regardless of technical skill, can easily enjoy secure, private, even anonymous communication!
Why FreedomBox?FreedomBox integrates privacy protection on a cheap plug server so everybody can have privacy. Data stays in your home and can't be mined by governments, billionaires, thugs or even gossipy neighbors. Other practical examples where FreedomBox is useful:
- FreedomBoxes are encrypted web proxies. Boxes in uncensored countries can bounce signals for users stuck behind censorship walls---each one is a tiny crack in the Great Firewall. Chinese users could surf the entire net free from government censorship.
- The US government famously sought information about internal WikiLeaks communications from Twitter and other social websites. By moving our communication from centralized monoliths to decentralized servers in our homes, we protect our data from government prying.
- Many whistleblowers and dissidents need to anonymously talk to media and the public. With the FreedomBox, we can use VOIP to encrypt telephone calls and can create anonymous web servers over TOR to publish documents. Anonymous instant messaging or microblogging are also possible.
- Egyptian Democracy activists had trouble talking to demonstrators in the streets because the Mubarak regime shutdown parts of the internet as well as many cellular networks. If our internet plug is pulled, the box will use mesh routing to talk to other boxes like it. If any of them can get a packet across the border, they all can.
- FreedomBoxes are useful on a daily personal level too. That same proxy technology can scrub web sites of ads and tracking technology as you use them, thus protecting your privacy. FreedomBoxes help you encrypt your email. They also know who your friends are and can back up your data in encrypted form to their FreedomBoxes. You can get your data back even if you don't know your password. Even absent a crisis, privacy matters.
- FreedomBox is free software, which means you can freely inspect it, audit it, study it and improve it.
Who is FreedomBox?FreedomBox is a collaborative project of programmers around the world who believe in Free Software, Free Society. Many of its members will come from the Debian community, and many will come from other corners of the Free World. Bdale Garbee, former Debian Project Leader is the project's Tech Lead. FreedomBox is organized into WorkingGroups.
The FreedomBox Foundation, which supports the FreedomBox Project and conserves the free software it makes, is led by Executive Director James Vasile and its President, Eben Moglen, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and founder of the Software Freedom Law Center.
A fuller description of our team can be found on the team page.