Ugh. I'm so frustrated to be continually asked to participate in talks & panels on Zoom specifically about tech ethics & #opensource. There are great #FOSS systems for this. See @fosdem's successful use of solely FOSS solutions for over 30,000 participants. #jitsi #BigBlueButton

@o0karen0o @fosdem I refuse to participate in anything not running #FOSS communication tools. Instead I provide a BBB instance I run. Positive experiences for slaves-to-proprietary so far? all of them.

@lightweight yes, I usually try to just supply an easy alternative too. "You don't need an account or to download any software - really!" This is why I'm just completely flabbergasted that people who actually know better keep brazenly using Zoom and expecting me to use it too. It's not like being invited to a relative's birthday party. This is a professional discussion about the ethics of freely licensed code.


@o0karen0o @lightweight

I'm planning a conference (linguistics) for the Spring. Our University/Department has Zoom accounts, which we're expected to use for classes and official University business.

But we don't have a high enough "tier" of Zoom for me to use it for a conference whether I wanted to or not. I'm not keen on spending conference resources to pay Zoom. I'd rather pay a host to spin up a BBB instance for the conference and have been looking into different options.

@emacsomancer @o0karen0o Do it! Then your uni has a solid datapoint to support not renewing Zoom and going full BBB instead. It's a no brainer for universities.

@lightweight I doubt it will affect Uni decisions. Our IT departments routinely choose the worst solutions. I think their guiding principle is "use whatever most other Unis are using so we can't be blamed for X", and thus we have Outlook and Zoom etc.

(Tragically, there was actually some use of BBB pre-pandemic and early pandemic here, but they switched everything to Zoom.)

But I at least don't want to add to the issue by paying Zoom more more.


@emacsomancer @o0karen0o this is where a little civil disobedience comes into play. Perhaps you can convince your department to make the switch? Or voice concern about the terms of service for the proprietary services - see this for example:

@lightweight Yes. Though right now my main concern is that our Department has decided that Microsoft Teams is a good and safe platform for faculty, staff, grads, and undergrads to discuss issues of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion on.


@emacsomancer @o0karen0o yes, most institutional IT policy makers are grossly incompetent. We need to call it out a LOT more. And more forcefully.

@lightweight The Microsoft Teams one is worse, because, while it is true that Teams is one of the "official" solutions of our University, unlike Outlook, which is now the only allowed channel for email, it is not mandated. So we could have made a different choice there, at the Department level.

On the larger issue of incompetent (I'm tempted to say, and also paid off by large corps) IT policy makers - it's not clear to me exactly where I can apply leverage.


@emacsomancer @o0karen0o organise your peers... state that you no longer accept the draconian/byzantine terms you've been forced to accept, and then show the Uni why it's an imposition on the rights of all attending or employed by the institution... And yes, your Uni's institution IT folks are getting lots of 'perks' to ensure they stick with the Frightful Five (and Zoom). They need to be helped to 'move on', i.e. put out to pasture.

@lightweight The organising my peers step is likely to be the stumbling block, as most of them really don't care. I'll do what I can though.


@emacsomancer @o0karen0o it might be a long game... but by seeding the concern, it might galvanise folks into action when the next major centralised service provider outage occurs, for example. :)

@emacsomancer @o0karen0o by forcing you to accept those Ts&Cs your uni's policy is effectively forcing you to sacrifice your personal privacy and data sovereignty. That's a serious imposition.

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