Device Neutrality: or how to safeguard Free Software in devices
2023-09-10, 14:25–14:55 (Europe/Berlin), Tesla

While our devices are increasingly becoming proprietary, we need to find ways to safeguard ways to Free Software, otherwise our digital autonomy can be highly compromised. This talk introduces "Device Neutrality" as a principle to ensure that users equal access and non-discriminatory use of Free Software in of their devices. The audience will learn about real-life examples, as the struggle for Router Freedom and the latest regulatory initiatives for internet devices in the EU.

The number of devices on which users cannot run Free Software is exponentially increasing. The consequence is an increased loss of control over users’ technology. In order to remediate this situation, the FSFE has kicked-off initiatives related to "Device Neutrality", understood as a policy principle that ensures users equal access and non-discriminatory use of their devices. The FSFE has advocated for four main principles: stricter consent rules for pre-installed apps, no vendor lock-in, full interoperability, and real-time data portability.

The audience will learn about real-life experiences FSFE has advocated in the last years related to internet devices, for instance the EU's major overhaul of internet law - the Digital Markets Act - and the FSFE's campaign "Router Freedom". All these initiatives are aimed to empower people to control their devices with Free Software.

Lucas works for the FSFE as Senior Project Manager Legal. Lucas has background in contract, technology and telecommunications law. Over the years he got experience in the academic sector as well, achieving a Master and PhD in law. For him Free Software is a precondition for a safe, neutral and healthy digital environment. He is also a lecturer and researcher at the Humboldt University of Berlin.