[isf-wifidog] vancouver article mentioning wifidog and IleSansFil

Michael Lenczner mlenczner at gmail.com
Sam 16 Sep 21:38:20 EDT 2006

Thanks for mentioning us, Matthew + Joe!


"BCWNS programmers are working on a modified version of WifiDog, an
open-source program created by Montreal's Ile sans Fil, a non-profit
group dedicated to providing free wireless access in that city.

WifiDog is a relatively simple application to prevent hotspot misuse
and diagnose problems.

To use a hotspot equipped with WifiDog, users log in with a central
server run by BCWNS. According to Asham, a central server would be
more secure and private than leaving security to the venue or a
corporate wireless provider.

"As a registered incorporation, we are bound by law. We have privacy
laws that protect the users. I'm not going to give my username, my
password, my home address and my phone number to Joe
Random-Coffee-Shop-Owner," he says.

"I think a non-profit tends to be more trustworthy as a matter of
public perception than a government [agency], which has different
privacy rules, or a corporation, which tends to sell information. We
have no desire, no need, no ambition to go out and sell people's
private data."

Technical support to businesses would be provided by BCWNS volunteers,
which Asham admits could not compare in terms of the speed, guaranteed
service and technical support provided by a commercial wireless
provider like Telus or Bell. But it will also keep free wireless from
directly competing with commercial providers.

"I don't see it being as good as a commercial provider," says Joe
Bowser, BCWNS's hotspot coordinator and a Linux consultant. "There
will be some services that a community network still won't be able to
provide, like speed guarantees.... in comparison to a commercial
provider. You get what you pay for."

BCWNS also wants hotspots to encourage community involvement.

Users who log on through WifiDog will see a page with something like,
"Welcome to Ed's Coffee House. Here are our lunch specials."

It could also provide links to gallery shows, poetry readings, block
parties and other neighborhood events and news.

Deborah Moffat, BCWNS's volunteer coordinator, sees this
community-building as "a small attempt at taking a step back in your
own backyard."

"Remember the days when you lived in a neighbourhood, and all the
mothers knew who you were? And they'd all know whether you were
supposed to be home or not, and you couldn't get away with anything,
because everyone knew you and it was wonderful and everyone was
looking out for you all the time? That's gone. And it's gone because
nobody feels a part of a small community anymore." "

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