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FISL closure ceremony with a legacy of knowledge and many challenges ahead

10 de Maio de 2014, 21:10 , por Bruno Buys - | Ninguém está seguindo este artigo ainda.
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International Free Software Forum (FISL) happened from May, 7 to 10 in the PUCRS Center of Events

Acknowledged as one of the largest Free Software events worldwide, FISL closed its 15th editions today, saturday, 10. In these four days, 6.017 people participated in various speeches and workshops.

The event demonstrated that technology based on knowledge sharing may work on behalf of citizenship, be it through software, hardware, networks, Internet, education, energy or digital culture.

According to a report from FISL organizing committee, there were 388 speeches comprising 508 hours. FISL General Coordinator Ricardo Fritsch stressed the huge participation of the public and the high level of speeches and panels presented.

- What we all want is freeing technology, and means that allow us to share, live and be collaborative citizens, so everybody benefits, he said.

The event had 23 sponsors, 58 exhibitors and 16 Users Groups.

The convoy with the highest number of participants from Rio Grande do Sul State was UFSM - CAFW (Frederico Westphalen), with 108 participants.

The convoy with the highest number of participants outside Rio Grande do Sul was SENAI Jaraguá do Sul (SC) with 50 participants.

The most distant convoy was from IFRN PDF, from Pau de Ferros city, Rio Grande do Norte State, with 19 participants.

The highlight in international participation were the United States, with 21 participants. The second largest international representation was Uruguay with 16, followed by Argentina, 9 and Mexico, 8. The event had also participants from France, Canada, Germany, Paraguay, Venezuela, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Equador, India, Italy, Peru, Portugal, Russia and United Kingdom.

In Brazil, the largest number of visitors was Rio Grande do Sul (1909), followed by Santa Catarina (646), Paraná (185), Federal District (129), Rio de Janeiro (129), São Paulo (116), Bahia (69), Espírito Santo (67), Rio Grande do Norte (45) and Minas Gerais (29). There were also representations from Pará, Goiás, Tocantins, Ceará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Roraima, Alagoas, Amazonas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraíba e Pernambuco.

Internet Data during the event's four days

  • Download peak reached: 180 Mbps (Mega bits per second)
  • Total Internet data traffic: 1,75 Tera bytes (20% IPv6)
  • Number of different urls visited: 181000
  • Number of rooms with streaming: 7
  • Number of online visualizations of speeches through Free Software TV: 60177 hits
  • Number of hits at Free Software Radio: 20392 hits
  • Numbers of hours of speeches recorded and transmitted: 250h
  • Amount of streaming data recorded and transmitted: 18GB (Giga bytes)
  • Amount of streaming data transmitted over the Internet: 400GB (Giga bytes)

Is it possible to guarantee Internet privacy?

This question led many speeches and workshops in this year's edition, and was the event's lead subject. Recent approval of the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet yielded many debates about the future of the subject in the country. One certainty: Brazil is building history with the new regulation.

- While most countries are approving laws to criminalize people's daily Internet activities, including raising control and block in the Internet, Brazil went another direction. It approved a law to guarantee freedom of use, creation and expression. The heart of this law is Net Neutrality - stressed teacher and activist Sergio Amadeu.

Victories and defeats in the approval process were debated at FISL. According to activist Maria Melo, the law ensures democracy and freedom for every citizen, but it's not time to relax yet.

- We have a series of challenges ahead. We need to keep society united and alert because after approval and sanction, we still have issues of regulamentation and this will be made through public engagement. It is paramount to understand this isn't a government initiative, but a popular one, aimed at everybody, she said.

Marcelo Branco, another activist who worked in the approval of the bill, participated in the begining of the first draft, when Internet regulation wasn't a real subject in Brazil. However, he believes a few points need attention and correction so as to not fall in contradiction.

The point that didn't quite pass the way we wanted, that needed to be vetoed, was Article nº 15. It makes it mandatory the keeping of logs by corporations. Depending on the regulamentation of the law, our struggle now, it may become contradictory with President Dilma Rousseff's rethoric and the struggle for net privacy. It would allow mass surveillance of net users. We're united and organized to avoid the harmful effects of this article - said Marcelo Branco.

Given the implications of the facts leaked by Edward Snowden, added to the approval of the Internet Framework in Brazil, FISL had enough reasons to get a lot of controvery. Ideas addressed even the real objectives of Snowden when leaking the first informations about United States espionage.

- It is hard to believe he is still alive, after what he's done. It took ten days for the United States government to react, and when he did, it was by means of a poorly written text asking for his deportation from Hong Kong. There's a lot of nebulous things in this story. To me, it fits better in a thesis where this is part of a totalitarian power plan aiming to get people used to this state of surveillance, building a real and agressive seizure of freedom of speech in the Internet, that may occur soon - says Pedro Rezende, teacher at University of Brasilia.

Even the terms used by big media and attributed to the United States' activities was reason for controversy. Use of the word "espionage" was criticized.

- I make a distinction  between terms "espionage" and "surveillance". Espionage always existed as a military activity, looking to produce informations about a certain target. Surveillance is the empowerment of the political power to obtain social control. It is about attacking now, and mining data according to future needs. It is much more serious than espionage, says Rezende.

According to founder of "La Quadrature du Net" (a french group of lawyers to do political pressure) Jérémie Zimmermann, we were born among friendly machines, working in behalf of men. Currently, this relationship is inverted.

- I had an Atari machine that specified every single chip in its User Manual. If you had the patience and "nerdism" to read it all, you could gain complete control over the machine. Today, we have "enemy" machines, that we can't even remove the battery, and containing chips that we don't know what they do, says Jérémie.

According to one of the oldest EFF employees, Seth David Schoen, it is important to rethink limitations of Free Software, thinking not only on its potential.

- We're in FISL talking about espionage. It would be interesting to not only think about the potential of what we have in our hands, but also what we can reach. Espionage didn't start today, but equipment use increased a lot, so that we can be heard by someone from the outside by means of a cellphone or a network breach, says Schoen.

Education was a highlight at FISL
One of the highlights was a room dedicated to robotics' adepts. According to its coordinator, Eloir J. Rockenbach, this year event fulfilled the public's expectations and plans for the next is the room to get larger.

- The robotics room of this year was great! We met the expectations of the public and observed the place was always crowded, which makes me very happy. I feel like mission accomplished. For next year we plan to keep bringing new technologies and methodologies to work with free robotics - stressed Eloir J. Rokenbach.

Paulo Freire Room, dedicated to education, was searched by a lot of teachers, willing to bring to their students the innovations of FISL. According to the Coordinator, Cllarica Lima, teachers showed desire and need to participate in the Free Software Movement.

- The Paulo Freire Room was always very successful at FISL, but this year was really a boom. There were moments when we needed to open an extra stand so people could follow the speeches. We also had radio transmission, because demand was very intense. To me the reason was this is a room organized by teachers, to other teachers, says Cllarica Lima.

Linux Pope was among us:

One of the biggest world Linux authorities, Jon "Maddog" Hall, spoke in the event, and stressed the importance for youngsters of the implementation of open source code in the Internet.

- There are many students here, and they would love to be working and implementing improvements in a piece of software. The advancement of Free Software in comparison with proprietary software is that. Because they can see the code, fix it, work and find, as specialists in the subject, new opportunities. If you have a problem in a big company' software, they will never be able to do something to help, he said.

The speaker explained a curious situation, lived in a big international event: He asked "how many of you already had a problem with a proprietary software?"

- From the 4 thousand people present, 3999 raised their hands. The only one that didn't, was sleeping.

Interactivity present at FISL

The "Tela Social" platform (Social Screen) was one of the novelties this year, completely developed in Free Software. The printed programmes for the event were put aside, allowing to reduce our ecological footprint and increase interactivity with the event's participants.

Social Screen is used by FISL since 2011, and in this edition it is even more dynamic and interactive. There are five TV's exhibiting the programme grid, and three of them also display integration with Twitter and Instagram. All photos and messages posted in the two networks with the hash #fisl15 were automatically exhibited, encouraging the interest in collaboration with the project.

Tags deste artigo: fisl brazilian civil rights framework for the internet

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