All posts by Daniël Verhoeven

About Daniël Verhoeven

father of three, soixante huitard, constant gardener, retired computer scientist, still doing some investigative journalism

Sociale Cohesie en Sociale Rechtvaardigheid

Definities sociale cohesie


Door de de onderzoekers betrokken bij de Europese barometer voor sociale cohesie wordt deze als volgt gedefinieerd:

“Wij definiëren de sociale cohesie dus als de mate van de sociale saamhorigheid in een territoriaal gedefinieerd geopolitieke entiteit. Sociale cohesie is eerder een kenmerk van het collectief in deze entiteit, dan een kenmerk van individuele leden. Een hechte samenleving wordt gekenmerkt door betrouwbare sociale relaties, een positieve emotionele verbondenheid van haar leden met de entiteit en een uitgesproken focus op het algemeen welzijn. Elk van deze drie domeinen heeft drie dimensies, die afzonderlijk kunnen worden gemeten.1” (Dragolov et al., 2013a, p.4)

Eurobarometer Sociale Cohesie voor België

Continue reading Sociale Cohesie en Sociale Rechtvaardigheid

Hoplr going deep, an intro into research about the impact of local social media on our lives

Nederlandse versie

As the saying goes, if you don't pay for the product, you are the product. When looking solely at these corporate products, social media feels like the hellish extreme of late capitalism, Faustian bargains where consumers consume themselves. (Sarah Jeong, 2017)

Hoplr attracted our attention in Ghent on September 17, 2017. Sami Sougir, then the leader of the VLD  in the city council, now the sidekick of the new Mayor Mathias De Clercq, questioned Daniël Termont about its activities. Leaflets had been posted in every house in every street of the city. We all recall Google street view, when spy cameras entered our neighbourhoods. Hoplr doesn’t intrude our privacy that rough, it’s just asking us to do it ourselves, voluntarily… Spoiler alert: more about later.

A Google translated quote of Sami:

“In recent weeks and months, a lot of people from Ghent have received a letter to register for Hoplr, a private social network for your neighbourhood that focuses on social interaction between residents and engagement in the neighbourhood.

Residents can exchange items or services, launch initiatives, announce events, make notifications or simply get to know each other better. In addition, Hoplr allows reports from the city, police, fire department … to be received. In the invitation you can read: “In collaboration with IVAGO”.”

Sami wanted also to know if there had been a consultation about collaboration with Hoplr and:

“Will other city services also use Hoplr to make announcements or to monitor what is going on in the neighbourhoods? For example, the neighbourhood directors of the Policy Participation Department or the neighbourhood inspectors.”

The answer of the former Mayor is very detailed, you can read it yourself, though point 3. should be mentioned because Hoplr is very silent about this. Another Google translation:

“The purchase of anonymous statistical information about the interactions that take place, the topics of conversation that are frequently used, and so on.”

About three weeks later, we read in De Morgen about a completely different proposal from a not-for-profit designer Indienet, for an implementation of Indieweb. This technology makes it possible for everyone to remain the owner of what he/she posts on the internet, he/she always keeps control of its own “content” and makes that content interchangeable with all internet services.  The paper found this important enough to publish two articles on it on the same day: “Gent wil burgers eigen stukje internet geven” (De Morgen, 9/10/2017) and “Surfen zonder uitgemolken te worden is een mensenrecht” (De Morgen, 9/10/201).

Exploratory talks about this proposal between Aral Balkan and the strategic coordinator of the city, Karl-Filip Coenegrachts even reached an agreement to start a first phase of development as you can read on

“Indienet is an initiative led by Indie to explore the development and deployment of Federated Personal Web Sites (FPWS) to empower people with individual sovereignty and a healthy commons in the digital/networked age. The first round of development (Jan-April, 2018) was realised with financial support and development resources from Digipolis at the The City of Ghent.”

Continue reading Hoplr going deep, an intro into research about the impact of local social media on our lives

Free Software, Public Domain and Digital Commons (continuation)

Richard Stallman’s dismisses proprietary software for a good reason but his recommendations are only followed by ICT experts. Let us have a closer look.

Professional software versus software for the masses

The market share for operating systems for desktop computers of MS-Windows is actually 91,2%. Apple has 5,27% while GNU like systems take only 3,61% . Apple OS and Android dominate mobile devices, with 47,06% for Android, 43,83% for Apple and only 2,38 for MS-Windows. Though Android is a GNU like system it isn’t free software as to Richard Stallman:

Google has complied with the requirements of the GNU General Public License for Linux, but the Apache license on the rest of Android does not require source release. Google said it would never publish the source code of Android 3.0 (aside from Linux). Android 3.1 source code was also withheld, making Android 3, apart from Linux, nonfree software pure and simple.

So  strictly there is no relevant1 free software for smart-phones. Even the OS of the Fairphone is based on Google’s Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Fairphone_back_inside_sim_slots_03 The market share of public servers, web-servers and firewall systems shows a quite different picture. Web-servers use Linux for 38.6% and only for 32,6% MS-Windows. When security is involved Linux is used for 58-78% while only 18-38% MS-Windows. Continue reading Free Software, Public Domain and Digital Commons (continuation)

Free Software, Public Domain and Digital Commons

Since fuzziness and mythology are the ubiquitous ingredients of internet content we need solid definitions. The Free Software Foundation defines free software as follows:

“A program is free software if the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.



Richard Stallman  is the initiator of free software movement since 1983 and the writer of the GNU licence. He is also an experienced software developer. Stallman explains that proprietary software, the commercial software used on home computers and smart phones, like MacOS, MSWindows, Itunes, Facebook, Amazon is often malware.

Proprietary software is often malware

Continue reading Free Software, Public Domain and Digital Commons

The biological implications of Electronic media use

“We are constantly connected with the world and the price we pay is that we interact with it less, as we are increasingly less able to do so.” (Manfred Spitzer, 2012)

Electronic media and face to face interaction

C. Wright Mills has instructed us that historical perspective and background next to the analysis and awareness of a representative sample of personal histories are the main resources in sociology, we tend to forget history and background when talking about computers and Internet. So when looking for the social impact of digital social networks, the historical impact of television and other electronic media is often neglected. When Internet started to spread in the mid nineties, television had repulsed community life already, largely pocketing face to face communication and impoverishing community life (Aric Sigman, 2009).

Source. Aric Sigman, Well Connected
Source. Aric Sigman, Well Connected

Continue reading The biological implications of Electronic media use

Clictivism, the polution of activism with the logic of Silicon Valley

nie pleuen

Author: Micah White

A battle is raging for the soul of activism. It is a struggle between digital activists, who have adopted the logic of the marketplace, and those organisers who vehemently oppose the marketisation of social change. At stake is the possibility of an emancipatory revolution in our lifetimes.


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Virtual interview with Edward Snowden on 11/10/2014

Some quotes:

“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.”

Continue reading Virtual interview with Edward Snowden on 11/10/2014