Technology has never been neutral. The ownership structure of technology companies and their endeavour for profit ensures that usage of their services for work and communication will never be free.
At the same time, only a fraction of the everyday Internet users have knowledge and resources enough to create free alternatives on their own. The question is also: What can reasonably be expected from an average user in terms of engagement in their privacy and freedom?
For any one individual, the goal of user freedom may be unattainable. Together, we can move mountains.
We are proud to present the Association for Free Email, Fripost. Fripost has since late 2010 delivered a free and reliable email service, with a distributed network of servers.
We are happy do declare that the membership fee has been decreased. Since the yearly meeting in Mars 2012 we lowered the entrance fee from 300 to 200 SEK. Fripost consists of all members together, and the only way to strengthen our strives is to become more. A lowered fee has been one of the wishes of Fripost’s members, and a lowered fee also lowers the threshold for to free your mailing.
You become a member by sending 200 SEK to the association
200 SEK - A small price for freedom
Paying the membership fee corresponds to the smallest effort members commit to in the association, but we expect members to take larger part in the work of Fripost. That means, for example, to sometime show up at the association’s activities, or take part in the mailing lists or at Fripost’s wiki.
Donations are also appreciated. Fripost suggests that one can join and at the same time contribute with 300 SEK. To do so, pay 500 SEK to one of the bank accounts or use the special PayPal button.
For international bank transfer details write to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also possible to use cash payment in contact with someone in the association.
Fripost cares about its members integrity, and encourages vigilance against giving out personal information. In that spirit Fripost offers anonymous memberships, for which the only information needed is
However, in order to make it possible for Fripost to reach to you with important information, you may want to provide:
After payed membership fee, write to email@example.com, provide the above information, requests for domains and aliases, together with some reference to the bank transfer. Alternatively you can wait for Fripost to take contact.
A membership means:
To contact us, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Internally, we use the mailing lists to communicate. If you are a member but not yet on the list, contact us so we can add you.
The member mailing list is the main channel for information within the association. Members are not added by default, so you have to explicitly state that you what to be added to the list. The members list is open for all members and participation is strictly voluntary.
Free your mailing!
The Internet is the most important communication medium in the majority of the industrialised world. For those who take user freedom seriously it is saddening to see how the Internet has changed from being a highly distributed network to the increasingly privatised web we encounter today. A few strong parties control major segments of important infrastructure that millions of users depend on every day.
A concept introduced in the spirit of centralisation is Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS means that users perform their computer work on or through a network server on the Internet or a local network. Examples of SaaS are Amazon Cloud and Google Docs. One of the main problems with SaaS is that the users has no control over their data.
With large clientele comes a lot of power. Large transnational operators, such as Google, are profiting from efficient use of privacy invading schemes. Together with e.g. Google’s email service one also gets things that was probably not asked for: advertisement, semantic analysis of email contents, and spying. One part of Google’s marketing strategy is to sell the collected information to third party.
Fripost was founded in order to take back a small, but important, part of our Internet life, namely the email communication infrastructure. We gather around several servers that receive and stores the members’ email. The reliability of the service is of course of great importance.
Apart from reliability, also integrity preserving, democratic participation and transparency are the watchwords of Fripost. The association will never be interested in the content of its members’ emails or other dealings. The association never supplies information regarding members activities to third party. Fripost keeps logs, and that is a part of all responsible service. But these logs are only for reliable maintenance, and will never be used for other purposes.
All work within the association is voluntary. The association is administrated by a democratically elected board, and the server administrators are chosen on democratic grounds.
With mail services on today’s market, users have no power over their mailing, and must follow suit the provider’s all whims. In that sense, those services can never be regarded as free, as in freedom. However, the email service provided through Fripost is free! This because of the co-ownership of the association’s means and the democratic structure of non-profit organisations. No private for-profit corporation can offer that, at whatever price.
Through collective organisation, Fripost render it possible for individuals to bring yet another part of their computer usage under their own control.
User freedom is possible!
The membership fee, 200 SEK, is a small price for freedom.
Fripost is based on voluntary work. There are always things to do for those who want to get involved. As said before, paying the membership fee corresponds to the smallest effort members take in the association, but we expect members to take larger part in the work of Fripost: sometime show up at the association’s activities, or be active on the association’s wiki, email lists, and chat channel #fripost at OFTC.
Many of Fripost’s members also participate by just configuring their email clients and free their mailing.
Members are as active in the association as they like, and all members have the same possibilities to take part in the association’s democratic process.
Fripost’s official language is Swedish. however, many members, also in the administrators team, are non Swedish speakers. Therefore by-laws and similar documents are written in Swedish, but documentation and such is all in English. Documentation is in English also because of that one of the main ideas with Fripost is to encourage others to follow Fripost’s initiative. Fripost’s documentation is a good way to get started.
More sources of information:
For further questions see contact page for how to get in contact with Fripost.
Fripost started as a project within Göteborg Fellowship of FSFE, but is now an independent association.
A version of this text is available as a leaflet, which you can print and use to spread the word.
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