Freedom of Exchange of data and information in Freifunk free wireless networks

It is often stated that the Internet is the basis of the free communication and exchange of software and content – all kinds of information and knowledge. Yes, the Internet especially in the 1990’s could be regarded as a free infrastructure that enabled free exchange. This is changing rapidly throughout the world, as we see a trend to censoring of information all over the world and privately enforced censoring with the help of copyright and patent laws.

The less free the Internet becomes the more attractive free community networks, like the Freifunk networks, will appear to the masses. It is the aim of Freifunk enthusiasts to create truly free networks, which are comparable to public spaces like a street where everyone can freely walk and communicate with others. As in a city with its free public spaces, we have a public space in the cyberspace. Public spaces guarantee our basic rights like freedom of speech, freedom of information and freedom of the press. However, also crimes happen in public spaces. There is no solution that will prevent crimes to a hundred percent without also reducing our freedoms, neither in the virtual world nor in the real world.

Still, neither people involved in free infrastructure projects like Freifunk regard their networks as a space free of the rule of law. The completely decentralized structures of these networks, however, (and for good reason) make it impossible to control the traffic centrally. The solution to reducing crime and fighting terrorism seems to be to require IPSs to control and protocol the traffic of all its users (entire populations e.g. in Germany). In fact the observing the traffic of all internet and network users in the world is rather questionable. Firstly concerning the duties of network operators, who should not and are in no position to take over police duties, secondly it is questionable in regards to the misuse that is possible with these huge amounts of data, that compromises of information like who communicates with whom, when, how long and possibly even what. Besides its drive of innovation and opportunities for businesses free decentralized freifunk networks also propose a solution to trends of digital mass control in politics.