Category Archives: English

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

Not on a Social Network? You’ve Still Got a Privacy Problem

Privacy not my problem

When you discuss about privacy in a heteronymous group, there will always be at least one who states he/she has nothing to hide because he/she does nothing wrong. There are still people that cannot afford to be on the Net but some choose deliberately to ignore social networks and claim that privacy is not their problem either. But both categories are mistaken.

The_Bureau Continue reading Not on a Social Network? You’ve Still Got a Privacy Problem

Theories, Practices and Examples for Community and Social Informatics


Tom Denison, Mauro Sarrica and Larry Stillman

1. Internet use and informal help for surrounding communities in Finland
Sakari Taipale, Tomi Oinas and Veli-Matti Salminen

2. New technologies, ageing and social wellbeing in a southern Italian context
Mauro Sarrica, Leopoldina Fortunati and Alberta Contarello

3. Studying crisis communication on social media: Conceptual patterns and methodological concerns
Francesca Comunello

4. Social movements, social media and post-disaster resilience: Towards an integrated system of local protest
Manuela Farinosi and Emiliano Treré

5. Expanding the academic research community-building bridges into society with the Internet
Aldo de Moor

6. What’s so special about the mobile phone? Exploring the mobile phone as a legacy of its ICT progenitors
Jane Vincent

7. Understanding the use of mobile phones in difficult circumstances
Larry Stillman

Continue reading Theories, Practices and Examples for Community and Social Informatics

Howto avoid on line tracking

Last update: 17 September 2014

On your laptop or home computer

Avoid google tracking by installing  “Do not track me” or “Ghostery” as an extension for your browser.

Quote of  developer of “Do not Track me” Abine:

“Companies place third party trackers on their sites for a variety of reasons: to get insights on you, gather information about you to sell to advertisers, or combine what you do on their site with what you do on other sites.

How does DoNotTrackMe block them? When web pages load, there are snippets of code that instantly start tracking you. Our engineering team works hard to figure out who these companies are – and how their code works – so that DoNotTrackMe can stop them.

DoNotTrackMe also protects your email address, phone, and credit card from being abused by companies on the web and on your mobile device.

You can get started for free. Just install DoNotTrackMe for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer. When you browse, you’ll automatically block these trackers!”

On your smarphone

When you have ‘location services’ switched on in your phone, Google is tracking wherever your smartphone goes, and putting a neat red dot on a map to mark the occasion. You can find that map here.

Google’s mobile Maps apps for Android and the iPhone track everywhere you go. Every single day. All of the time.

To see if you have location history enabled, head to the Google Maps Location history page.

Click the gear-icon button to access History settings. Here, you can choose to disable or enable the service.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The data Google collects is put to use in a number of ways. It helps Google better tailor its services to each individual user, and it also obviously helps Google build a more accurate advertising profile of each user. But you can opt out of Google Maps location tracking quickly and easily.

Continue reading Howto avoid on line tracking

On the Internet Ungovernance Forum 2014 in Istanbul


Origin of the forum

For the first time since its establishment in 2006 the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) of ICANN [1] is paralleled with a protest forum, the Internet Ungovernance Forum.

Internet protests all over the world until now were addressed against national states and international organizations wanting to limit internet freedom and net neutrality or against those state and non-state services breaching privacy on the net, but this time a critique is formulated against the Internet governance itself by the Internet Ungovernance Forum. The announcement stated:

“We see that at IGF the most urgent problems of the Internet do not get the right attention. Due to the “multi-stakeholderism” format, the main perpetrators of many of the Internet’s problems, governments and corporations, are getting representation in IGF they don’t deserve. Given these circumstances, we decided to take initiative to defend the Internet as we know it and to create a space to raise the voices of civil society initiatives, activists and common people.”

Continue reading On the Internet Ungovernance Forum 2014 in Istanbul

Use of incognito mode

All browsers have an incognito mode. It’s called ‘Private Window’ in Firefox, InPrivate in Internet Explorer and so on The advantage of incognito mode is that it does not leave traces in your browser history. Of course this is only useful when not sitting at your own computer, unless you want to hide for yourself or for a spying person in the house .

On the other hand, browser history  can be very handsome to retrace your own surfing behaviour on the web. Also if you want to visit a page you visited before, but you forgot the url, you can search in your browser history and find it back.

Anyway there is another interesting feature when going incognito in your browser. When logged on in Facebook, Google or any site with acount and password login, what you see and get differs from what you saw before you were logged in, it also differs from what someone else sees, not being logged in. When going in incognito mode you are logged out without logging out, so you can switch between both situations. Before and after.

Another issue  is that you cannot be logged in with a second account at the same site on the same computer. Going in incognito mode allows exactly to do that without any problems. It is as simple as that.