Idealist.org has posted a podcast interview of me (Dana Spiegel) and Laura Forlano talking about NYCwireless and the work that we do. Check it out!
Most of us probably think of using the internet as a solitary, indoor activity. NYCwireless thinks differently.
In the latest Community Podcast, we look at how NYCwireless is working to bring the internet to everyone in New York City, both in and outside of their apartments. By “lighting up” public parks with free wi-fi access, the organization is helping New Yorkers to connect outdoors–and encouraging a new community of users while they’re at it.
We talk with Dana Spiegel and Laura Forlano from NYCwireless to hear more about their mission and projects. We also explore the challenges they face as they strive to make internet access an accepted public service.
Idealist.org NYCwireless Podcast
Today I received an email from an NYCwireless supporter about sharing out their organization’s Wi-Fi network. I thought it was a general enough request for information that I’d share our viewpoint and suggestions with other NYCwireless readers:
Should we share our password-protected network with a neighbor???
Hi. Thanks for your advocacy.
We recently password-protected our Verizon wireless network. (We were having intermittency issues and this was one of the remedial measures we chose to take.) And we just got a call from someone who’ll be staying in the neighborhood for a few months, asking to share our network for a nominal fee. We are community-minded and inclined to oblige such a request, but we are concerned about security breaches, given that we are a professional organization and have sensitive data on our network to protect, etc.
Can you advise as to the potential consequences?
I can recommend that you use common sense here. If you have private/sensitive data on your network, then common sense says you shouldn’t allow people onto the network unless you trust them or you have proper safeguards in place to protect the data even if someone gets access to your network. Such safeguards–disk encryption, strong passwords, moving the data to a computer that isn’t network accessible, segmenting the network so that only wired computers can get access to data on a server–are all good ideas regardless of whether you operate a public wi-fi network or not.
Further, I doubt that your intermittency issues have any relation to whether your network is password protected or not. Far more likely are sources of interference, which can sometimes be addressed by either (a) moving your access point, or (b) changing the wireless channel of your access point. Putting a password on a network will do nothing to address connectivity issues.
If you are community minded, and part of how you want to provide a service to the community is to provide a free wi-fi network to nearby people, I would recommend you put a proper hotspot online. We can help you out with that, and your neighbors will be able to access your hotspot free and clear of any passwords. Unfortunately, providing a password to a single community member isn’t providing a service to your community, it’s providing a service to a single person.
Laura Forlano, Joe Plotkin, and I went to the International Summit for Community Wireless Networks in Washington, D.C. last week, and (as usual) it was a great experience. We saw FCC Commissioner Adelstein speak, and had lots of great conversations (many over beer) with a number of other CWN folks that came to the conference.
Of particular note was the significant forward progress that is being made to create a simple, unified mesh router (built on OpenWRT, OLSR, and Wifidog). We’ve got a bunch of test units and will be trying it out soon.
Steven Mansour has posted a great slideshow of the conference, and there are plenty of Flickr photos and Twitter posts.
Gramstand, one of our favorite NYCwireless hotspots, is in the final running for the Ideablob Competition. Go vote for this great coffeeshop and friend of NYCwireless!
Gramstand Friends and Family,
Thanks to your lovely support, we are now in the finals of the Ideablob Competition… so WE NEED YOUR VOTE, ONE LAST TIME. If we win the $10,000 prize we’re putting the money toward cafe renovations like:
- opening the front windows for the summer
- getting better air conditioning
- testing new menu options
- a liquor license (citrus berry champagne??? yum!)
- a fax machine
- and basement adjustments
- …things that will make the space fun for working or gathering!
To vote for us, you need to go to the link below and set-up an account. It only takes a minute or two:
Thanks for supporting the Gramstand — it really means a lot to me and the staff. Feel free to pass this email along to other supporters!
Richard & the gStand
Cédric Calvignac, a French PhD student, is conducting a study of Community Wireless Networks around the world. If you’d like to participate, please read below.
I’m a French PhD student in sociology. My research focuses on “innovations made by and for users”. I have decided to particularly focus on “Wireless Community Networks” which are illustrative of a new type of approach more autonomous, alternative and civic. For the last two years, I have been interviewing French members of “Wifi Community Networks”; I talked with them about their commitment and about the life of their project. Now, I carry on with my research and I propose you to answer to my questionnaire. This questionnaire will enable me to gather data on a wider population: members of European and North American “Wireless Communities”.
I invite you to follow this link: http://www.sharing-data.com/client/calvignac-c-dric/en/etudereseauwifi.html
Answer the questionnaire should not take you more than a few minutes. Personal informations will be kept anonymous. Survey results will be communicated and freely accessible.
I would be very grateful to you if you could circulate my questionnaire among your contacts (in your own wifi community). Thanks for your answer and for message diffusion.
I am at your disposal for any questions or commentary.
PhD Student – Sociology
CERTOP – Toulouse University II
P.S.: If possible, can you please indicate at the end of the questionnaire where do you come from (city) and the name of your wifi network.