Mon 28 Mar 2016 3:51AM

Should Sensorica join the Electronic Frontier Alliance?

VN Von Neumann Public Seen by 301

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has recently launched an initiative to build a network of community and campus organizations in US. They are calling it the Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA) and their principles seem to line up with Sensorica's. (https://www.eff.org/electronic-frontier-alliance)

  • Free Expression:
    People should be able to speak their minds to whoever will listen.

  • Security:
    Technology should be trustworthy and answer to its users.

  • Privacy:
    Technology should allow private and anonymous speech, and allow users to set their own parameters about what to share with whom.

  • Creativity:
    Technology should promote progress by allowing people to build on the ideas, creations, and inventions of others.

  • Access to Knowledge:
    Curiosity should be rewarded, not stifled.

Should Sensorica join the Alliance?

What are the advantages/disadvantages to associating ourselves with the EFF?

The EFF has taken very libertarian and sometimes even anarchic stances on controversial issues in the past. Is this too political for an organisation like Sensorica?

The EFF has also been a long-standing champion of free speech and internet privacy protection over the years. They have driven awareness and come to the defence of those who stood for the true spirit of a free and open internet. See https://www.eff.org/issues and https://www.eff.org/about

I agree with all 5 principles of the EFA's mission statement. Do you?

Current members of the EFA: https://www.eff.org/electronic-frontier-alliance/allies
Sensorica soon?

More info: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/03/launching-efa

Please comment.


Poll Created Mon 28 Mar 2016 3:51AM

Should Sensorica join the Electronic Frontier Alliance? Closed Sun 1 May 2016 3:08AM


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 100.0% 7 TB FB RS AK VG VN CJ
Abstain 0.0% 0  
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Block 0.0% 0  

7 of 36 people have participated (19%)


Valentin Gomez Mon 28 Mar 2016 1:14PM

It will be good for us to be involved in this kind of coalition.

But I don't know if this one is the best for us, especially if there are others with the same values of us.
Advocacy take a lot of time. Now, in Montreal maybe a meeting current of this year. I think it will be better at the beginning to such for an alliance "Canada-based" ?


Abran Khalid Mon 28 Mar 2016 2:30PM

As an organization, sensorica is not geared towards net neutrality, freedom of expression, privacy and other such notions. As individuals, sensoricans might advocate or holds those beliefs dear. But as an organization, we do not work to safeguard these ideals.
Creativity and access to knowledge on the other hand are cornerstones of the work Sensoricans do. Without those two, creative commons will be a myth and open source collaborative work will be an urban legend.
So, while there are areas we do not exactly advocate for in the EFF mission, they are not opposed to our own ideals.

We should be a part of this frontier. If not as an active member, we can still be allies who lend moral support at the least.


Tiberius Brastaviceanu Fri 1 Apr 2016 2:47AM

I see them as our advocates, because without a free Internet SENSORICA and other p2p initiatives cannot exist. One day perhaps SENSORICA will have larger muscles to support such organizations, a % of our revenue could go to them, to make sure that the environment is kept safe for us to operate. They are definitely part of our ecosystem. But what can we do now? This relation would probably require one individual or two to maintain communication. Something like Bruce is doing with the World Social Forum. I personally don't have time for that, I am too tangled to issues about paying the rent. But I already voted in support of this initiative.


Von Neumann Fri 1 Apr 2016 8:30PM

Hi @abrankhalid,

You are right to say that Sensorica does not directly advocate the Security and Privacy elements of the EFA's mandate but our objectives of integrating Ethereum and other block chain based tech and the choice of affiliating ourselves with the Bitcoin Embassy in Montreal sort of echoes these principles, no?

Also, I consider freedom of expression crucial to collaborative work and so indirectly it is a vital component of the operation of Sensorica. However, in the context of political free speech, freedom of the press, etc it is true that Sensorica does not involve itself in those conversations.

For Sensoricans who live in places where affiliation to the EFF/EFA could be seen as dissenting to a regime maybe joining such an alliance is ill advised. From the EFA's website " the Alliance will serve as an increasingly vital hub for activism and organizing addressing a spectrum of civil liberties and digital rights issues. "

Sensorica's purpose is the design and deployment of intelligent, open sensors, and sensemaking systems, which allow our communities to optimize interactions with our physical environment and realize our full human potential. it was never expressed that we should involve ourselves in political activism but membership in the EFA may serve us well to attract other like minded individuals to the network. It is a good opportunity for exposure and outreach.

@valentingomez I agree that advocacy can be time consuming and we already have enough on our plates without becoming official cheerleaders of the EFF but as I understand it, the role of an EFA affiliate is only to lend support to the 5 core principles and advocate however we see fit. The EFA seems more USA-centric for now but Sensorica is meant to be a worldwide network with affiliates everywhere. The lab's physical location is in Montreal but our membership is international. Maybe we could have an American Sensorican as one of the custodians of our EFA membership (@bobhaugen @lynnfoster @joshcowan). If we decide to join I can volunteer to help with communications.

It seems that joining the EFA will only require the following from Sensorica:

If your group is poised to endorse the principles uniting the Electronic Frontier Alliance, please:

-share them within your organization (done here)

-confirm your group’s support (waiting on consensus via Loomio)

-publicly endorse the principles however you wish to do so (e.g., by replicating this tweet) (we should define what this means and what role Sensorica is ready to play)

-identify a point of public contact through which your group is poised to respond to public inquiries (we can create a mail account for this purpose and charge a custodian(s) to maintain it)

We're excited to help you connect with allies in your area, as well as others across the country.

The EFF's purpose:

" We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows [...] EFF uses the unique expertise of leading technologists, activists, and attorneys in our efforts to defend free speech online, fight illegal surveillance, advocate for users and innovators, and support freedom-enhancing technologies. "

Below are a few of the EFF's other initiatives that would appeal to Sensoricans:


How can establishing a relationship with the EFF benefit Sensorica beyond attracting new affiliates?

Let's keep the conversation going.


Bob Haugen Sat 2 Apr 2016 6:29PM

@vonneumann - Lynn and I will decline the honor of being Sensorica's reps with the EFF. Should be some other candidates, no?


Von Neumann Sat 2 Apr 2016 6:54PM

@bobhaugen @lynnfoster I mentionned you because you're the only American Sensoricans I could think of.

What is your stance on the affiliation? Do you see any potential downsides?


Bob Haugen Sat 2 Apr 2016 7:17PM

I like the EFF a lot. Have not thought much about the affiliation. I love these Sensorica Loomion proposals, think it is great that they are happening, but am mostly not voting on because I don't feel like I have enough "skin in the game", as they say in Enspiral.

Please don't take that as disagreement or disapproval in any way.


Bob Haugen Sat 2 Apr 2016 7:18PM

Re Americans: @fredericdurville is a long-time Sensorica contributor. I'm pretty sure more exist. We are just drowning in work, which is a good place to be.


Tiberius Brastaviceanu Sun 1 May 2016 3:57PM

Very nice. Is someone taking this further?