Eben Moglen Live in NYC on Friday: Freedom in the Cloud
If you're fortunate enough to live near New York City, you can catch Eben Moglen at the NY Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-NY) on Friday, talking about "Freedom in the Cloud." Specifically, Moglen will be talking about the implications of "cloud computing" on software freedom, privacy, and security.
Cloud computing does pose quite a few challenges for software freedom. In addition to software licensing, users have to worry about privacy, data portability, and more. Just having the source is no longer enough, when users do have the source. Software freedom in the cloud is possible, however. For example, as this report of a talk by Aaron Williamson of Software Freedom Law Center points out, the Identi.ca microblogging service is an example of how to provide a "cloud" service and maintain user freedom:
It's licensed under the AGPL v3. The service's ToS specify which data is private and which is not – private data isn't shared, but is only used to provide services to users, and Identi.ca will only turn data over to the government under a court order. The service also describes exactly what it does with the public data it stores, constraining its freedom with regards to that information. Finally, Identi.ca has an API (a clone of the Twitter API, evidently) that lets users get their data out of the service.
This isn't a new topic for the SFLC or Moglen. He spoke about similar topics at the MySQL Conference & Expo in 2007, and it should be interesting to hear how his views have evolved over the intervening years.
Sponsored by ISOC-NY, NYU ACM, and the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Clinic, the event is open to the public. More information is available on the ISOC-NY site, including links to the flyer and handbill, and Webcast for those who can't make it to NYC on Friday. The SFLC says that the Webcast will be online "almost immediately" as Flash, and higher quality audio in Ogg and video in MP4 and Ogg will be posted a few days later.