November 26, 2005

Rescued by FON?

A couple of hours after I called for massive deployment of Wifi hotspots enabling anonymous access in Europe as the simplest method to counter the harmful proposals to watch all European citizens around the clock, I saw a post at Joi Ito's blog introducing me to the new FON network idea.

Actually they propose to do exactly that. They want to build a large network of Wifi access points.

I don't know yet if anonymous access will be possible. However, I think that this idea might help European citizens fight back effectively against the outrageous human rights violations planned in Brussels. Here is a comment I wrote to Joi Ito's post at his blog:

This might turn out very useful to circumvent the harmful proposals in the EU parliament to store all traffic data. I have blogged those today, since it seems that some kind of legislation will actually be passed in the near future.

If we get a couple of hundred thousand Wifi hotspots across Europe run by people who don't know who uses them, it will be difficult to enforce traffic data storage against those mini-providers, and even if there is a logfile left, the Wifi provider would not know the name of the user in question.

I note that over 50.000 people signed the petition against the traffic data retention proposals, so it might be possible to get that kind of coverage rather fast, at least faster than the legislators come through with their obnoxious plans.

That in turn would depend on whether people billing for access (the "Bills" in the FON system) could accept payment anonymously, for example over e-gold or a similar sensible payment mechanism.

And it would also depend on whether people who log in as a "Linus" would tell the Wifi provider in question their name, or if the list of names and associated passwords is kept out of reach of individual providers, and maybe in a country respecting the human right to confidential communication (e.g. Japan), out of easy reach for the people who try building an European Internet surveillance infrastructure.

I don't know if those conditions are true. But if they are, this FON idea might have turned up exactly in time to help moot the plans to watch all European citizens all the time.

Posted by Karl-Friedrich Lenz at November 26, 2005 10:56 PM