#Sheffield is launching it's free wifi service. I remember talking about delivering this to people at the beginning of the century. Where communities would own their infrastructure and deliver it. Own their own data and manage how it is used.

Move forward 20 years and it's happening, except being delivered by a private company, and I worry about the survelliance. I guess that it's part of turning the city "smart".

Ancient history? Our local free WiFi goes back 1200 years according to the council's pavement promos. 😀

I remember warchalking et al but not that site... Thanks for the link!

@noogles You have me remembering all sorts of things now.

It seemed to be a time where technology and local community activism aligned, where software protocols could mirror liberatory social politics...

There was the "pico-peering agreement" picopeer.net/PPA-en.shtml

the consume.net manifesto dek.spc.org/julian/consume/con

Metrics such as "geek activist per sq km" to measure resilience of networks


Happy times


Thanks, more for the reading stack :)

Do you think local tech activism has faded, or has it evolved into other things?

@noogles I have given this a little (confused) thought this afternoon.

The local tech activism stuff has changed. There were a couple of threads that were interesting at the turn of the century.

Giving people Internet access .. for free ( or building communities around delivering that). This involved meeting people GEOGRAPHICALLY CLOSE. Talking to your neighbours! Becoming LESS SOCIALLY ATOMISED!

Another thing involved fixing people's PC's, (de-spywaring them, or installing Ubuntu!)
Ubuntu 4.10 was delivered by CD. You wrote to Canonical and said send me a box of CD, and in the post came a box of 500.

Again people would meet up, run pc clinics and install and fix things locally.

The Internet was still young, and was still touching people's lives.

There was a local and physical part to these activities.



Also the actions seemed to be about enabling and building infrastructure that could be shared by many people.

Putting in cyber cafe's, talking to people about sharing connectivity.

Current things seem to be more atomised, more individualised.

Lots of efforts that were involved in building physical infrastructure moved to building online web things. It's great that these can be accessed from anywhere, but it removes the intersection between the physical and the local.


@noogles Other projects, like say freedombox, become about individualised hosting. Not building shared servers.


The breaking of the intersection of local and tech means that I don't need to get on with my neighbours any more.

When we build internet cafe's to get online and work. We build spaces where people who you perhaps don't agree with would come into a space to work together. They became foci for many different communities.

These days if you don't like something, you can mute/block/ban voices


It does mean that we have learned a lot more about differences that were hidden beneath social norms.

That marginalised voices can be heard clearer now, and there are new tools being build to protect and strengthen those voices.

But, it would be nice to learn about projects that are working to re-localise AND re-collectivise tech!
/ends rant

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