FreedomBox - Danube Edition
 Posted on 31/05/2014 - 20:56
Idea Outline
The FreedomBox is a personal server which contributes to decentralizing the Internet, and therefore to more privacy and control online. It is an open source project. The idea is to productize and distribute a version as "FreedomBox - Danube Edition".

The Challenge
The challenge is mass surveillance and threats to online privacy and freedom of expression. The services we mostly use on the Internet today are highly centralized, and with such centralization we lose control of our digital lives. Not being in control of our online identity, personal data, and communications is not only bad for us as individuals, but it also constitutes a threat to democracy and societal fabrics. We need to re-think the way we communicate on the Internet. The patterns according to which we communicate must be changed to match how we want our societies to be organized. We do not want the Internet to be organized like a dictatorship, we want it to be free and decentralized. Our European values of human rights and diversity can help to shape this vision of a new Internet.

The Solution

The FreedomBox is a small personal server that gives us back privacy and control over our digital identity, personal data, and communication. It is a physical piece of hardware in our homes, not beyond our reach "in the cloud". It lets us own part of the Internet infrastructure, and it provides a wide range of different functions, e.g. anonymous browsing, encrypted e-mails, social networking, peer-to-peer chat, hosting a website, etc. With an award and financial support I could pay a few people to help me develop the FreedomBox. This would mean 1. a product designer to design the physical hardware, 2. a few software developers to develop, package and organize the software that would go on the box. I can also organize a FreedomBox hackathon some time in summer to make rapid progress.

Target group and social impact
The target group will initially be people who are idealistic, politically engaged, and already very conscious about the privacy and surveillance threats of the Internet. It will be at first individuals who are technically savvy and like to try new ideas. Ultimately however, the FreedomBox is not about simply fixing a limited set of concrete issues. Rather, it is an attempt to completely rethink how identity, relationships, communication, and data sharing should work online. It will be a platform on which a wide range of different functions can be installed. With this as a basis, we believe it will have a hugely beneficial social impact by proving that an alternative to the currently centralized Internet services is possible, and by gradually supporting more and more such alternatives.

Competences of the applicant
I have worked on many ideas that try to re-decentralize the Internet and give individuals more control over their identity. A few years ago I participated in the "Federated Social Web" effort, which tried to build a decentralized alternative to Facebook. I am not the one who invented the FreedomBox, but I have presented and demo'd it at 20+ events and am very familiar with its technical details.

Video Link
None posted
Social Category
  • Civic Empowerment and Community Engagement
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Knowledge Society and Education
  • Social Inclusion, Human Rights and Equality

  • Tecnology Category
  • Data
  • Open Source
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

  • Please log in to Rate this Idea

    Privacy is essential to a democracy. However, many people do not know how to ensure it. This box would reduce the amount of time, effort and knowledge necessary to do things such as encrypting messages and browsing webpages anonymously. The easier it is, the more people do it; the more people do it, the more effective the technology is.

    I loved the idea, you have my positive vote. I wish you luck.

    btw please rate my idea, "ThinkBit"

    Idea Submitter

    See here for more resources about FreedomBox: (official home) (community in Austria) (home of proposed "FreedomBox - Danube Edition", with videos, papers, blog posts, etc)