If you own a phone or a tablet, you should be able to run whatever software you want on it. It seems like a simple truth, but there are a surprising number of hurdles in the way. Most pressingly, if the manufacturer of that phone or tablet wants to, they can misuse the law to limit your control over the device long after your purchase. This week, EFF has filed a petition with the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office to extend and expand the exemption that allows you to "jailbreak" your phone from those restrictions, without running afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
That's important because jailbreaking (or "rooting," on Android devices) has real-world implications for users' ability to use their phones and tablets effectively and securely. It may be a necessary step before installing security updates after a device has stopped being supported by the manufacturer. In other cases, it may help users install accessibility software that allows them to use a device despite disabilities.
EU Commissioner Oettinger believes Europe’s industrial competitiveness will in the future depend to a large extent on the capacity to develop high quality software and using the most modern computing technologies. EU is investing €80 million in up to 1,000 start-ups to promote the use of Fiware, a public-private partnership between the EU and a consortium of companies that started in 2011.
How many people does it take to fix a tractor? When the repair involves a tractor's computer, it actually takes an army of copyright lawyers, dozens of representatives from U.S. government agencies, an official hearing, hundreds of pages of legal briefs, and nearly a year of waiting.
The Bulgarian parliament has voted and approved a series of amendments to the Electronic Governance Act that require all software written for the government to be open-source and to be developed as such in a public repository.
At the end of August 2017, German police has been testing a facial recognition software at Südkreuz train station in Berlin. The system was tested on 300 volunteers. The goal was to evaluate the accuracy of the software in recognising and distinguishing them from the crowd – a feature that the police hopes to ultimately use to track and arrest crime and terrorism suspects.
Internet censorship enables governments to manipulate public discourse and erode citizens’ rights. But a five-year-old software program called ooniprobe allows users to fight back, by finding our when, where, and how censorship is occurring.
Ooniprobe is free and open software designed to detect blocking of Internet websites, messenger apps, censorship circumvention tools, speed and performance of your network, or presence in certain systems in the network which might be responsible for censorship.
The tool was developed by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) and can be downloaded here.