In 2010, Eben Moglen delivered his famous speech, “Freedom in the Cloud,” in which he conceived of a single device that integrates the best privacy tools and acts as an independent node in a decentralized network. This device, which Moglen called a “FreedomBox,” was described as a fully free and open source private server that empowers users, regardless of technical expertise, to seamlessly host their own data and services, like a VPN, an ad-blocking proxy, a VoIP server, and much more. Eight years later, FreedomBox is here, and it is already protecting freedom all over the globe.
In this talk, I will introduce the audience to FreedomBox by discussing four main topics. First, I will review the history of the FreedomBox project and discuss the political, social, and technical problems that FreedomBox was designed to solve. Second, I will introduce the audience to the software system and review its built-in applications. I will also take a few minutes to explain how to build a FreedomBox. Third, I will survey the diverse communities of FreedomBox users, from villages in rural India to universities in the U.S. And fourth, I will discuss the FreedomBox Foundation’s vision for the future. Above all, my goal in this talk is to generate hope in each individual’s ability to regain control of the internet and take their freedom into their own hands.