Free The Network

Free The NetworkA documentary about the Occupy Wall Street, hacktivism, and the hackers trying to build a distributed network for the Occupy movement and beyond.

You're on the Internet. What does that mean? Most likely, it means one of a handful of telecommunications providers is middlemanning your information from Point A to Point B.

Fire off an email or a tweet, broadcast a livestream or upload video to YouTube, and you're relying on vast networks of fiber optic cables deep underground and undersea, working with satellites high above, to move your data around the world, and to bring the world to your fingertips.

It's an infrastructure largely out of sight and mind. AT&T, Level 3, Hurricane Electric, Tata Indicom – to most these are simply invisible magicians performing the act of getting one online and kicking. To many open-source advocates, however, these are a few of the big, dirty names responsible for what they see as the Web's rapid consolidation.

The prospect of an irreparably centralized Internet, a physical Internet in the hands of a shrinking core of so-called Tier 1 transit networks, keeps Isaac Wilder up at night.

Wilder is the 21-year-old co-founder of the Free Network Foundation. Motherboard first caught up with Wilder at Zuccotti Park during the fledgling days of Occupy Wall Street.

Watch the full documentary now

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Ratings: 9.22/10 from 41 users.
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-van-den-Ham/100001676372652 Matt van den Ham

    I predict that in the next 20-50 years the internet will become so mainstream, ridden with ads/marketing, and the information will be so heavily filtered that a new open source internet will emerge. Open source is really the only way when it comes to software and technology on a global scale, the people need open information with out filters and limitations.

  • CapnCanard

    Open Source may be the best weapon to destroy the monetary system's hold on power. Like anything that is open, the capitalists will resist it and imprison, rape, or kill anyone who opposes their agenda. Welcome to the police state.

  • http://www.facebook.com/norm.mckinnon Norm McKinnon

    Just remember that the National Security Agency (NSA) is checking every electoronic communication (email, fax, Telcom, Celcom) for subversive topics such as BOMB, SECURITY, ATTACK, etc. All communications are electronically searched for key words, via their "Switch" on AT&T in San Francisco. So expect mother USA Govt to review your communications.

  • KooKookaChoo

    I have a vague idea of what open source is and while looking into it the analogy of sharing and changing recipes came up a lot -- but I still don't really understand it -- is every person's experience different?

    If you made a change to something, how would I know about it unless I searched for that particular thing? Would my internet be a piece of crap because the only experience I have with computers and code is from grade 11 html???? I can make the background blue or green, and change the font, but that would be the extent of my contribution!!

    Is open source for the computer-illiterate??

  • Artales

    I'd like to suggest that anyone interested in Open Source Technology look up Marcin Jakubowski, his talk on TED is called 'Open-sourced blueprints for civilization'.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000631933465 Fecioru Florin

    Even now as governments try to impose ridiculous laws and restriction to what should really be the zenith of free speech and free information, I can see the idea of "another internet" become more contoured and predisposed to happen.

  • ssiowi

    private networks run atop the global internet, right? tor. gibberbot. i2p. tribler. all of these efforts and innovations following from each put 'good' neighborhoods along a really crummy, and cluttered, and increasingly creepy highway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lorna.kennedy.984 Lorna Kennedy

    Take all the power from the system. I closed my three bank accounts a year ago. At least if everything goes bums up i can start the fire with it. Its not just the internet. Too few control too much.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jeremyshepherd.foreva Jeremy Shepherd

    With all the plastic they're putting into Canadian bills you won't even be able to start a fire.

  • KooKookaChoo

    I love TEDs! thanks for the link!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WMV6KOYWSBLRWSPXIQO33SJZCM Michael

    There is no network that can be entirely protected from a government. The wireless technology these guys are using can so easily be jammed, rendering their network useless. Best option would seem to follow a strategy of riding on top of a critical piece of infrastructure that cannot feasibly be shut down and heavily encrypting or encoding data.

    That said, I don't get why these guys are so paranoid about the US government knowing what they are up to. Porn sites are the most visited sites on the web. They don't need to be embarrassed about taking an occasional peek.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-van-den-Ham/100001676372652 Matt van den Ham

    ya sure, have you ever used the program vlc player or kmplayer? those are open source applications, so it means if you're a programmer interested in developing that particular app, they can download the source code and modify it. When you use Apple or Microsoft software you can't do that, they don't allow people to modify anything. It's also comparable to wikipedia, you can modify an article if you can prove the credibility of your information, the opposite of that would be an encyclopaedia. make sense?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZMK6YNWJACHQ5CRCJW5TNYFURI KsDevil

    I had often thought that if the government tured off the internet, then the old BBS sysops might drag out their software and provide encripted communications just like before the internet.
    But with the idea of this "freedom tower" and some additional software work, I could see a few liberal minded geeks building several of these.
    If I had a spare $2000, I might also. With Google high seed internet supposedly soon to hit Kansas City, this place could be a hidden underground anarchist dream come true.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZMK6YNWJACHQ5CRCJW5TNYFURI KsDevil

    Imagine, if you will, if every ferrdom tower communication was encripted using PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) software. Decripting messages from a disenfranchised populous would be difficult and any sucessful decription would still take months, by then the information would be mostly useless.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZMK6YNWJACHQ5CRCJW5TNYFURI KsDevil

    We may see linux computers/palmtops/cell phone computers built(or modified) to be mini freedom towers. P2P networking taken to the cell phone level.

  • TheDanishViking

    Great docu and always nice to see how people can get involved.
    I also hate how the web is becoming more and more dominated by a few players, such as for example facebook. However, in the docu It was hinted that a lot of the Occupy movement was really about people taking pictures of themselves in #revolutionary poses" to put up on facebook. Unfortunately that is also my impression...

  • http://profiles.google.com/elitescripts2000 Matt Kukowski

    Wow... about time friends. FSF and OS finally being mentioned. Oh, and take the money. Point is to network all things is the point, not the money.

    Goons smashing laptops??? WTF WTYFDSKJ!

    Are you kidding me? WOW you can smash a laptop... what kind of mindless baboon would do that? All geeks should be absolutely shocked (not joking).

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3CPTTK2EMUJQW7WIG4M7JNQEXU gonzo

    I wish the ISP's would become obsolete, those greedy bastards :)

  • KooKookaChoo

    yes it does, it makes a lot of sense actually. Thanks for the info!

  • wintermute2012

    Hi KooKookaChoo, in the spirit of sharing information that benefits us all, thought I could maybe offer a couple of examples that helped me understand open source better. The sharing recipes analogy is a good way of looking at it, but you have to put it in the context of software and technology development. It's the difference between some one writing a piece of software and copyrighting it so no one can copy it or use it, or modify it without some substantial monetary exchange. For example Windows, a patented and corporately owned piece of software is locked down, no one outside of the company can modify it to improve upon it. Now on the open source side an alternative operating system to run your computer is Linux which is open to any programmer around the world to add to and improve upon. This is why there are so many great distributions of the operating system that are totally free. In many places outside north america where people can barely afford computer hardware let alone the software to run things, Linux distributions like Ubuntu, which are the result of the contributions of many around the world make it possible for thousands of people to have access to a full featured computer platform.

    So thanks to open source sharing of programmers developments our computers have a choice to use a great operating system that doesn't have to break the budget and is not corporately owned. So the problem with the internet now is that the actual "wires" that let us connect to the computers that have the websites we want, and each other are owned by large corporations. That could have the potential of one day the public either being heavily censored or all together being locked out of the very "roads" that make up the internet that connects us.

    So an open source internet would refer mostly to creating hardware and software that would replace or at least provide an alternative to using the corporately owned network of wires that form the internet now. Imagine everyone of us having one of these freedom towers near by and being able to connect to each other without crazy fees or being at the mercy of corporate communication giants. What if each one of us made up a little part of the actual "roads" that make up the internet, it would truly belong to the people. Open source is for everyone, not just the tech savvy. The goal and spirit of open source movements is for those who are tech savvy to share their creations with the public for the betterment of humanity. So you don't have to necessarily be a programmer to contribute, an open source internet would still have people making websites, but also provide sites that others could contribute to by merely posting or blogging and sharing much the same way it is now but without the danger of one day being shut down on us because we spoke out against big business or our governments. I know this was long and awesome if you got this far! But I just firmly believe sharing knowledge is the best tool for taking humanity in a better direction. Hope this made it a little clearer.

  • Chris Rieth

    Independent virtual networks < Drone

    You can't escape physical reality, although I know you'd all love to.

  • KooKookaChoo

    Yes, it did make things clear. I'm ashamed to admit that I never knew about making the internet accessible to those who can't afford it through open-source, it always just seemed like something you pay for -- damn, I'm halfway to assimilation!!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write your response!! I really appreciate the information. I fully agree that sharing information and experiences is the only real way to learn and grow.
    Cheers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001199457281 Zachary Jesse Carley

    Googles new fiber crusade came to mind immediately after I read that they were moving headquarters to Kansas City.
    Do you know who had the idea to get to Kansas City first?
    Is google a response to freedom towers, or vice-versa? Or is there any relation at all?
    Google is a fairly large corporation and lately they have changed their privacy policies and such.
    Do you think Google may not have as much of a benevolent intention as they would like us to believe?
    I don't mean to go all conspiracy-nut, but this sure is strange.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JJSE2CWQJFJM4DPQ2T67LQWW3E Thomas

    People like Wilder, and the hackivists/anonymous are my last remaining hope for humanity. The way I see it, they're not the 99%, they're the 1% of the population who aren't pitiful ******* sheep who do what ever they're told, don't ask questions, wear social masks to fit in with the norms. **** the sheep, **** them all. I would not walk across the street to piss them out if they were on fire. They're no better than the 1% who control them.

    This is how it is, in my perspective anyway: 1% controls the 98%, and the remaining 1% is the resistance, my last beacon of hope.

  • Rocky Racoon

    And the thing is our tax dollars paid for this infrastructure-just in time to privatize it! Look at NASA and the Space Shuttle. Look what they did to Ghadaffi for giving Africa it's own satelite.

  • Maddermonk

    YES!!! This film IS a 9star...unless it's a 10.
    Rock on Isaac, my beautiful young friend whom I have yet to meet.
    You are DOING something huger than Fuccillo for us, which includes me.
    Thank you for your generous blessings.
    You are our heroic champion.
    Don't doubt yourself.
    REPRESENT, yo

  • Paul Schlacter

    Well but how to prove the credibility of a subject if your information is not provide by main stream media. I'm sorry but for me Wikipedia is not the truth. It's the truth that media wants you follow. :)