Marc Bruyere from Tetalab, a hackerspace in Toulouse, France, was a guest of Dallas Makerspace during the past two weeks. Marc visited our September 16th and 23rd meetings and was also a guest speaker at our Dallas Software Freedom Day event. Marc got a chance to see the projects we’re working on and he shared his experiences from similar projects at Tetalab. We came up with several ideas for future collaborations between Dallas Makerspace and Tetalab. There was an interesting discussion of similarities and differences between American vs European hackerspaces. After the meeting members adjourned to a nearby pub for a comparison of European and Texan beers.
In his Software Freedom Day talk, Marc described Tetalab’s use of free software to build an encrypted VPN that connects their hackerspace to the Internet through Amsterdam, outside the reach of new French censorship laws. The new laws have destroyed much of what we take for granted as normal Internet freedoms such as peer to peer file sharing and even reading Usenet. Every French Internet user is viewed as a potential criminal under the new laws. The day Marc returned to France, Slashdot posted a story on Hadopi, the first of the two new Internet censorship laws. Under Hadopi, copyright agencies have started out filing complaints against 10,000 IP addresses per day and will be building up to 150,000 IP addresses per day within weeks. They hope to shut down each of those IPs and identify the associated users. ISPs will be fined 1,500 euros per day per IP if they fail to turn over names and addresses.
Marc’s visit comes just a few weeks after Nick Farr of HacDC visited Dallas Makerspace. We hope to meet many more hackerspace members from around the world and offer a standing invitation for members of other hackerspaces who are passing through Dallas to stop by and get to know us!