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Some thoughts, and a proposal, about "Personal Clouds to replace corporate-controlled-platforms

Marco Fioretti
Marco Fioretti
Marco FiorettiAuthor, teacher, researcher at Digital DIY research project

The slides of my talk at the FOSSMeet'18 meeting. This is a synthetic explanation of my proposal for a REALLY feasible and usable alternative to Facebook, Google and similar services, via perclouds (PERmanent/PERsonal clouds) as presented at http://per-cloud.com

Some thoughts, and a proposal, about "Personal Clouds to replace corporate-controlled-platforms

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Some thoughts, and a proposal,
about
“Personal Clouds to replace
corporate-controlled platforms”
Marco Fioretti
http://mfioretti.com
http://stop.zona-m.net/
Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut
http://mfioretti.com
http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved
Freelance author/researcher/popularizer (Home page: http://mfioretti.com)
Fields of activity:
• Free Software / Open Hardware/ Open Standards / Open file formats
• Distributed/P2P Digital Manufacturing
• Impacts of digital technologies on human/civil rights, economy, environment,
culture...
Board Member of the Free Knowledge Institute (http://freeknowledge.eu)
Self-hosting my own email, websites, online bookmarks, news feeds… since 2007
Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut
http://mfioretti.com
http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved
First of all… Who am I?
The problem with today’s social networks
Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut
http://mfioretti.com
http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved
“Group Box" service: communications and coordinated activity (sometimes for offering
external services) inside groups. Examples: Uber, AirBnB and similar "platforms", but also FB groups
"Personal box " service: individual online presence, communication and sharing (of text,
video, pictures, calendars and other individual "data")
In an extremely convenient, but deeply problematic way
●
Personally, I believe that group and personal boxes should be as separate as possible
This proposal is only about "personal boxes"
Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut
http://mfioretti.com
http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved
They fill two ESSENTIAL needs
Being a centralized “platform” for
personal boxes means being:
• A single point of failure
• made to order for censorship
(WHOEVER the owner is: coops,
governments…)
Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut
http://mfioretti.com
http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved
Problems of ALL centralized, for-profit social networks
Being profit driven at the platform level means being forced to be:
• Addictive you get what feels good much more than what IS worthwhile
• Polarizing the more “market niches” there are, the better
• Stalking following you through ALL your Web activities, everywhere
• Exploitative YOUR friends are “the product” you pay for free service
Individuals come before BOTH"communities” AND “platforms”
you must have first of all your own personal box
That box must keep working without any loss of identity or connections, throughout your life, even if it
moved to new servers
without that, there is NO real “data portability”, that is no individual freedom, in practice
you must be able to have as many personal boxes as they want (for e.g. family, friends, work..)
Platforms for multiple personal boxes? No, thanks
Implementing personal boxes as partitions of larger "platforms" means insisting
with the same architecture that creates so many problems today.
Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut
http://mfioretti.com
http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved
Vision and main requirements (1)
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Some thoughts, and a proposal, about "Personal Clouds to replace corporate-controlled-platforms

  • 1. Some thoughts, and a proposal, about “Personal Clouds to replace corporate-controlled platforms” Marco Fioretti http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved
  • 2. Freelance author/researcher/popularizer (Home page: http://mfioretti.com) Fields of activity: • Free Software / Open Hardware/ Open Standards / Open file formats • Distributed/P2P Digital Manufacturing • Impacts of digital technologies on human/civil rights, economy, environment, culture... Board Member of the Free Knowledge Institute (http://freeknowledge.eu) Self-hosting my own email, websites, online bookmarks, news feeds… since 2007 Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved First of all… Who am I?
  • 3. The problem with today’s social networks Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved
  • 4. “Group Box" service: communications and coordinated activity (sometimes for offering external services) inside groups. Examples: Uber, AirBnB and similar "platforms", but also FB groups "Personal box " service: individual online presence, communication and sharing (of text, video, pictures, calendars and other individual "data") In an extremely convenient, but deeply problematic way ● Personally, I believe that group and personal boxes should be as separate as possible This proposal is only about "personal boxes" Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved They fill two ESSENTIAL needs
  • 5. Being a centralized “platform” for personal boxes means being: • A single point of failure • made to order for censorship (WHOEVER the owner is: coops, governments…) Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Problems of ALL centralized, for-profit social networks Being profit driven at the platform level means being forced to be: • Addictive you get what feels good much more than what IS worthwhile • Polarizing the more “market niches” there are, the better • Stalking following you through ALL your Web activities, everywhere • Exploitative YOUR friends are “the product” you pay for free service
  • 6. Individuals come before BOTH"communities” AND “platforms” you must have first of all your own personal box That box must keep working without any loss of identity or connections, throughout your life, even if it moved to new servers without that, there is NO real “data portability”, that is no individual freedom, in practice you must be able to have as many personal boxes as they want (for e.g. family, friends, work..) Platforms for multiple personal boxes? No, thanks Implementing personal boxes as partitions of larger "platforms" means insisting with the same architecture that creates so many problems today. Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Vision and main requirements (1)
  • 7. Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved
  • 8. THIS IS A CRUCIAL POINT! hosting providers are not (OK, yet) required to police and “govern” the personal blogs they host. With real “personal boxes” it would be exactly the same Authorities can finally do their job without begging some foreign corporation Automated mass censorship becomes much harder (every personal box could be in a different data centre) Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Putting “platforms” and “governance” back where they belong Platforms for group activities DO need centralized governance Really individual "personal boxes" , instead... put "governance" back where it should have stayed: plain old laws and full individual responsibility
  • 9. Identities are more important than "services" All your personal activities, data and contact info should always remain attached to YOU, even if technologies and their providers change continuously. Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Vision and main requirements (2) WRONG SomeWebsite.com/YOUrblog AnotherWebsite.com/YOUrphotos YOURemail@aThirdWebsite.com you@someMicroBlogging InstantMessaging.service/@yourname RIGHT YOURNAME.com/blog YOURNAME.com/photos email@YOURNAME.com chat@YOURNAME.com
  • 10. realistic first alternatives to the likes of FB, Gmail, Snapchat… must be like them • Usable by EVERYBODY. Including minors, villagers, refugees, nomadic people... • Interoperable with the Web AND main social networks!!! (no way they’ll be adopted, otherwise) but they can (IMHO: must) only target the main, concrete, basic needs • Blogging,photoblogging, microblogging... The current diversification of digital social networks is, in large part, an artificial, induced need. • Almost all of today's social network users only use their most basic features anyway Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Vision and main requirements (3)
  • 11. Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Remember Dilbert! (in June 1996...) CONSUMERISM
  • 12. The reality of life: • This is not about software usable ALONE • Running anything like your own email server gives you no privacy if all 90% of your contacts find usable is Gmail The unavoidable conclusion: • Geeks can play as they want with “the next thing”. No, they must! • But in the meantime, if they care for their own privacy etc… they still need ALL their contacts to have feasible alternatives now Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved This is about **communication**
  • 13. before ANY reconstruction there must be (quick!) Search & Rescue when a building burns, you don’t wait till a better one is available to rescue who’s inside You just get them out of the building, and give them an emergency blanket ASAP This proposal is about the blanket. What I consider the most urgent priority is providing such blankets, asap, to: Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved What I care about? Think buildings on fire! the 2+ BILLIONS people ALREADY trapped inside FB/Google… and the NEXT billion of Internet users
  • 14. The percloud has NO ambition to be the final solution. Only the first, necessary step We are wasting too much time looking only after “real” (=long-term) solutions THE BETTER IS ENEMY OF THE GOOD ESPECIALLY WHEN SOCIAL INERTIA IS already HUGE, and keeps growing Most people trapped inside a burning building: Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved First things first. Please! will not accept to be rescued if that means “losing” their loved ones inside the building will be unable to manage anything more complex than a fire / emergency blanket
  • 15. Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Features and architecture of a truly “for the masses” personal cloud z This. And. Nothing. More. user = average FB user Including homeless, minors… From any Internet kiosk, or smartphone
  • 16. hosting and publishing of texts, images, audio, bookmarks, calendars, any other file • Discussions and access control, at file level • Notify personal contacts of new content, or discussions announcing new content on Facebook or Twitter accounts UNIFIED "news" interface for: RSS feeds, other perclouds, new email, Tweets, Facebook status updates... the whole world, without filters, in ONE "window" Communication: email (server included!), mailing list manager, instant messaging administration (& automatic backups!): separated, assignable to a trusted party (e.g. parents) permanence: can be moved from any server to any other, without losses Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Features and architecture of a truly “for the masses” personal cloud
  • 17. Gnu/Linux distro, or container pre-configured with [the right combination of Free Software] supports the main CPU families, from ARM to x86_64 has an installer that also attaches to it a Web-visible domain name primarily, heavily optimized for • running as Linux VPS or Container • automatic administration, updates etc by data-centre admins Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Percloud (PERmanent/PERSONAL cloud) architecture
  • 18. self-installable on any hardware that runs Linux, from home computers to the datacentre of any ordinary hosting provider moveable from any computer to any other without losses • from the outside everything remains "attached" to "yourname.com" (self) Expandable without interfering with existing features A container of personal data immensely easier to migrate to any other “personal box” than it would be to migrate the same data from inside, e.g. a FB account Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Percloud architecture advantages
  • 19. The MOST important part of the proposal The ONLY way to make perclouds really usable by those who need them the most: • the billions people who don't want to, or simply cannot, install and manage anything by themselves PEAAS = getting your percloud created, hosted and managed.. by any web hosting provider of your choice, in their datacentre Just like eg. setting up a blog at wordpress.com: a few clicks, and you're done Nothing is interrupted or lost if you move the whole percloud to a different provider Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved PEAAS: Percloud As A Service
  • 20. "Anything, as long as it is black" many components may still be the same listed in 2017 (*) but what matters are architecture, integration and above all: packaging, i.e. PEAAS Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Percloud software components (*) http://per-cloud.com/percloud-proposal-2017/#percloud-2017-software
  • 21. Possible main candidates • Nextcloud? • Postfix + Dovecot + Rainloop for email? • Shaarli for bookmarks? • Let’s Encrypt for certificates? • Tell me your favourites But remember: what really matters is integration & packaging Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Percloud software components (2)
  • 22. Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved The others: Full answer: http://per-cloud.com/percloud-and-the-others/ Percloud What are the differences between Percloud and “X”?
  • 23. Deployment and usage: much simpler than the alternatives • NO NEED for international coordination or huge infrastructures • You don't need anybody's permission or coordination to set up your own, worldwide-interoperable, email server • The percloud is the same. It talks both with the whole Web and with other perclouds, by design Both for individuals setting one up for themselves, and for organizations providing them to all and only their “members” via PEAAS Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Percloud deployment
  • 24. (Much) simpler than the alternatives, since most if not all components already exist... ...but certainly not a pet project. Main challenges (besides packaging): • Federation, that is notifications exchange among different perclouds • User interface usability • PEAAS-related testing and optimization (requires large scale pilot) Who MAKES it? • A diverse, adequately funded TEAM (programming, UX design and testing, fundraising, , documentation...) • With or without me. Seriously. Just go ahead, give credit where credit is due • See next slide, thanks Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Percloud development
  • 25. Excellent question, thanks! This, and others closely related questions are extensively answered in: ● the conclusion of the complete Percloud Proposal : http://per-cloud.com/percloud-proposal ● this addendum to the Percloud FAQ, from 2014: http://stop.zona-m.net/2014/10/some-more-percloud-questions-ive-already-frequently-answered Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Show me the code! Why didn’t you do this yourself?
  • 26. This is actually two, equally important questions: •1: Who would pay for development and maintenance of all this software?* A1: whoever cares for a really decentralized, multi-cultural Internet that puts privacy and other individual rights at the center: EU, UNO, NGOs, Open Society, national governments, local public Administrations, who else? A2: whoever would make money (or otherwise fulfill its own institutional goals!) from offering PEAAS. The main such category would surely be (community-owned?) hosting providers Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Who will, or should pay, to make this happen?
  • 27. The second, even more important question: Who would pay for PEAAS, that is the HOSTING of perclouds? FACT: percloud via PEAAS (=99..% of cases) cannot be free as in free beer. A (very?) few USD/month, yes, but not free NOTE: The pilot suggested in the proposal would also measure real-world cost of PEAAS hosting ANSWER: Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved Who will, or should pay, to make this happen? (2) governments, local administrations, schools, NGOs helping disadvantaged groups... they already, implicitly have, or otherwise should have, providing perclouds to their own "members" as part of their mission All these organizations may (IMHO, often should) pay (part of) the hosting costs for their members, maybe only for one or two years. After that, those members could migrate their percloud to any other PEAAS provider.
  • 28. The complete percloud proposal is at http//per-cloud.com These slides will be available there soon Feedback and help to spread the proposal are extremely welcome! Let’s stay in touch: • Email: marco@digifreedom.net • Twitter: @mfioretti_en • My main blog http://stop.zona-m.net – Thanks! Thanks, and final notes Marco Fioretti (marco@digifreedom.net) 2018/02/17 FOSSMeet’18, Calicut http://mfioretti.com http://stop.zona-m.net/ Some Rights Reserved