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Library Freedom Project: the long overdue partnership between libraries and free software

Alison Macrina and Nima Fatemi, Library Freedom Project

Librarians have long been defenders of democratic ideals like free speech and privacy, not only providing access to information and technology freely, but also by fighting back against threats to civil liberties like the USA PATRIOT Act and National Security Letters. In the post-Snowden era, libraries have taken this activism further and are teaching FLOSS privacy-enhancing technologies to their patrons in free computer classes, and installing these tools on library PCs. Nima Fatemi and Alison Macrina of Library Freedom Project will talk about how LFP kickstarted this movement of radical crypto-librarians, and how FLOSS tools like Tor Browser, Signal, OTR, GPG, and Tails are being deployed and taught in libraries to an overwhelmingly positive reception. Nima and Alison will also discuss LFP's newest project, bringing Tor exit relays into libraries, what happened when the Department of Homeland Security tried to shut down that project at a small New Hampshire library – and how the local and global community fought back and won.


7 years, 7 months ago

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LibrePlanet 2016 video · LibrePlanet 2016 · LibrePlanet · lp2016 · video

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CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.