Communication Applications - Why being FOSS is only a first step
Most of us advocate digital privacy as a requirement for protecting freedom and democracy. Both of these depend on the possibility for free communication and idea sharing between people.
In this digital era, people around the world have a previously unthinkable access to knowledge and information. Yet at the same time, never before knowledge and information was concentrated so much in the hands of only a few. These few can take the form of a company, a coalition or a government.
If data is being collected about you and your daily communications with the people you collaborate and discuss with, you are always in risk of it falling into the wrong hands or being used against you.
Compared to the recent past, we nowadays have several high quality and relatively simple to use FOSS solutions for protecting our everyday communications from surveillance and interference. By sharing their code under a Free Software license, these applications and services take a great first step towards enhancing our privacy and guaranteeing transparency, but this is not enough on its own.
In this non-technical talk, I will define and explain the importance of parameters such as encryption, decentralization and federation, and present the current status of FOSS communication applications in regards to them. The advantages in terms of the implementation, security, usability, and popularity will be highlighted and the extend to which they protect our privacy, anonymity and ability to communicate under a variety of scenarios will be investigated. I will point out possible improvements, aiming at turning them into even more powerful tools in our disposal as advocates of private, safe and reliable communication that works in the benefit of the people.