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So, FOSDEM is over now and I finally have the time to have a look back.
As I already said I was there one day earlier, so I could do something else but promoting Amarok for one day: visiting the European Parliament. The EP was located about 30 minutes by foot from the hotel. I can really recommend not always using the metro or tram lines: with that you only see some spots of the city but are never able to connect them. Walking from one point to another really helps to get some orientation, so afterwards you are able to find your ways quite easily.
Anyway, I arrived at the EP a few minutes before 10 AM, to meet with Erik Josefsson, member of the EP for the Green party, at one of the (afaik) two accreditation centers. Some minutes later, after passing those airport like security checks, not Erik but Christian Engström showed up. As you might know he is the first Pirate ever in the EP after the election result of more than 7% in Sweden. So in his office we talked about the current state of netpolitics in Sweden, Germany and the EU. Things like data retention (very interesting for Sweden atm, as they were just successfully sued by the EU for not making that into national law), ACTA, or the SWIFT treaty with the US (that the EP will very likely reject no matter what Hillary Clinton says). So in general: all those things that are about to attack the base of our security: freedom. Also some election campain ideas were exchanged in our discussion.
Anyway, he still had to do some paperwork so he suggested to bring me into a "hearing" of the "Digital Rights Group". Well, I didn't seem to remember the name, but the agenda was very interesting: all kinds of netpolitics. So i agreed to go there, of course. Which would really not have been possible for me alone at all, as all the hallways in those buildings seem to look exactly the same. You can get lost there sooo easily.
On arrival Christian showed me Erik, who was sitting on the conference table of the meeting room. Also Amelia Andersdotter was there, the second Pirate in the EP (since the signing of the Lissabon treaty Sweden has two more seats) and afaik the youngest ever. As all visitor seats were taken I just sat down on the floor and listened to what they have to say. The discussion was really inspiring, it was about data retention at that moment. The people on the conference table, which I thought were members of the EP, were asing somebody from the European Commission (I knew the face but not the name...) many very, very critical questions. One thing hat came up to me during that: does something like "anonymized data" actually exist at all? I'm gonna write about the problems I see there later in another post.
I was surprised: the Council and Commission have not yet arrived in the Lissabon treaty times and still don't accept the EPs new powers, or at least they try to ignore it all the time. So i expected critical questions. But not THAT critical. After some time I got even more confused: one person with the same kind of name tag as me, so appearently another visitor, was allowed to ask a question directly to the representative of the Commission. So clearly I had the wrong impression of where I was.
Well, during lunch break Erik explained to me that this was a meeting of all kinds of netpolitics organizations. In fact this was part of a two days conference, for the first time ever those groups hat the chance to meet directly inside the EP buildings. So before FOSDEM I accidently took part in another conference. ;-)
The afternoon was very interesting then: as there was a free seat directly at the conference table I could go, from the introduction I learned that there were people from netzpolitik.org, La Quadrature Du Net, AK Zensur, Pirate International and others. Someone even came up to me saying: "Hey, I know you, you are with the German Pirates.". Completely right, but I'm only a normal member there, We both had no ideas where he could have seen me.
In the afternoon we made a list of current and upcoming topics that will influence digital rights massively. I will put then into a separate blog entry, as the list is not that short and I suppose not everyone reading the Amarok-Feed of my blog is deeply into politics.
So to come to an end to that political stuff: it was a very, very interesting day, thanks to Christian, Amelia and Erik for making that possible.
The FOSDEM beer event then took place again at the Delerium Café in the center of the city. New beers I tried this time: cactus and coconut. Well, if you are into those lemon bricks that can be put into the toilet to make it smell better cactus is the beer for you! It smells exactly this way and tastes... as you would expect it to taste! Everyone on the table agreed. But: it makes a good start for funny conversations. Coconut on the other hand is fine: smells and tastes like coconut, is kind of sweet and gets served in a bowl looking like half a coconut. Very nice. :)
FOSDEM itself (wasn't this blog entry planned to be about FOSDEM?) was really good as well: many visitors as always, many people were interested in Amarok and our shirts at the booth. My talk filled the dev room completely, so the "closed" signs had to be put on the doors to stop people from entering. This morning I saw a mail on the list saying:
Sven really kicked ass holding one of the most entertaining and informative talks
Thanks a lot!
I really like to keep my talks open for discussion, and that worked perfectly this time. So check the mailing list for the resulting ideas.