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Sunday 1:10 p.m.–1:40 p.m.

Free Software, Free People

Pete Fein

Audience level:


Four years after the Arab Spring & 2 years after Snowden, little has changed. What now? This talk will remember Telecomix, an ad-hoc activist cluster that supported free communication around the world. Stories of humans and machines, reflection on 3 years of hacktivism & exploration of similarities to the free software community. It follows a 2011 Pycon lightning talk given after Tahrir Square.


Four years after the Arab Spring and two years after the Snowden revelations about NSA spying, it appears that little has changed. We'll answer the question "what now?" by remember the ad-hoc activist cluster Telecomix. Called "Tech Support for the Arab Spring", Telecomix helped keep Egypt & Syria online, using everything from encryption to dialup modems and fax machines. We helped to catch a US company selling surveillance to dictators, defend journalists against Chicago cops and rally thousands to the streets of Europe against the ACTA copyright treaty. We spend more time hanging out on IRC than is technically healthy. This talk will reflect on lessons learned during last three years of hands-on "hacktivism" and explore similarities with the free software community. It's a follow-up to a 2011 Pycon lightning talk given shortly after the Tahrir Square protests.
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