Free Speech, Free Software Across the World

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 from 9:00 – 9:45am in Hawthorne


How does free software help defend free speech in repressive regimes? Danny O'Brien will draw from the records of the Committee to Protect Journalists to explore how open source can help those at the cutting edge of free expression.


The Committee to Protect Journalists monitors and coordinates assistance globally for those persecuted for their reporting, newsgathering, or analysis. Last year, for the first time, their records show that half of those jailed for speaking freely worked on the Internet: as bloggers, online reporters or Web editors.

This talk draws on the current experiences of these writers and speakers in repressive regimes who use FLOSS software at the frontiers of free speech: what works, and what doesn’t. We’ll develop a TODO list: tools that currently don’t exist but which those working for free expression most desperately need. And we’ll look at newest tools within open source’s own cultural repository, from secure IM to distributed version control, and how they might be expanded and developed to enhance and defend free speech in every corner of the globe.

Speaking experience