November 3rd & 4th, 2023
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Building Alternative Networks for Fun and Resistance

SeaGL 2020

If all the networks are owned by a small handful of corporations, how can your network be free (as in speech)? If all the networks are surveilled by the government, how can any network by free? Is there any alternative?

This talk will tell you how to build several types of alternative networks with open source tools that can be used temporarily or for the long term, depending on need and context. I’ll talk about choices of hardware and network type, how (and whether) to connect it to the wider Internet, and some basic security considerations to help you plan. I’ll broadly cover light-based networks, smartphone network hacks, point to point radio networks, and mesh networks you can build with off the shelf (or thrift store) wifi routers. For each network type, I’ll give some pros and cons, along with links to more detailed tutorials so you can try them out yourself.


Elior Sterling

Elior Sterling, Geeks Without Bounds

Elior Sterling is a life long proponent of software freedom. He spent the first 15+ years of his career working for companies like Wells Fargo Bank, and a string of startups you barely remember. His ideas about the importance of Libre software and hardware have been refined in the fires of civic and humanitarian projects that affect marginalized people on the outside of the digital divide. He has worked on software projects to improve public water service in Tanzania, environmental tracking in Guatemala, protection of indigenous lands in Ecuador and the US, and the protection of refugees in Jordan and Mexico. In recent years, much of his work has revolved around keeping vulnerable people (and their digital doppelgangers) safe while facing harassment from individuals, hate groups, and governments.