Interview: Meet CryptPad – Collaboration suite, end-to-end encrypted and open-source

CryptPad has a very clear vision: enable collaboration, while keeping data private. In order to allow this, all the documents are encrypted and decrypted by the browser. Find out more in this interview with David Benqué. Can you briefly introduce yourself? I'm David Benqué, the designer on the CryptPad development team. We make an end-to-end encrypted and open-source collaboration suite. I joined the other two team members in November 2019. My role includes UI/UX design, documentation, support, and many other things. For NGI DAPSI we proposed INTEROFFICE, a project focused on improving document conversions in CryptPad. What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? We're very conscious of the impact of usability and practicality on the adoption of privacy-preserving tools, and portability is a huge part of that. One of the first experiences people have when using a platform like ours is trying to import their existing documents, so that needs to go smoothly in order for them to benefit from the rest of our work. How did you hear about DAPSI and what drove you to apply? We do our best to follow NGI's new programs and see where they intend to lead the European Internet ecosystem next, but it can be hard to keep up! A friend pointed out the deadline of the open call since they knew it aligned closely with things that we've wanted to do for some time. It was very short notice but the effort writing the proposal was well worth it for the opportunity to improve interoperability in this space. Many of our users have requested conversion to and from common office formats over the years, along with the ability to edit them directly within our platform. We experimented with ideas and basic prototypes before, but this is a big job that we wouldn't have been able...

Interview: Meet postmarketOS – an alternative phone operating system based on Linux

postmarketOS is an alternative phone operating system based on Linux, which aims to give people back control of their existing smartphones. How? By focusing on privacy, security and sustainability! Find out more in this interview with Martijn Braam. Can you briefly introduce yourself? Hi, I'm Martijn, I'm a software developer from the Netherlands. I've been involved in the postmarketOS project since the very start in 2017. What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? I want to empower people to be in control of their own data, by default. How did you hear about DAPSI and what drove you to apply? We heard about DAPSI through the NLnet Foundation, and realized that there were some goals DAPSI and postmarketOS share with regards to data portability. The trainings, mentorship, visibility, and funding offered by DAPSI were also attractive. In simple words, what challenge does your project address? In current mainstream mobile phone operating systems, the user is very dependent on the manufacturer of the operating system. This becomes apparent when starting a newly bought phone for the first time, you are immediately urged to login or create an Apple or Google account. And once you have that, you get suggestions to synchronize your data into their cloud. You are not in control of what ultimately happens to this data. If you refuse to login, you cannot even install apps or important security updates. What solution are you developing? postmarketOS is an alternative mobile phone operating system, which takes data and service portability seriously. In our operating system, you do not need to use an account to receive updates, and you are not asked to upload data to a cloud provider. If you choose to do so, you can also use a self-hosted provider like your own Nextcloud instance, to be fully in control of your data. What...

Interview: Meet PDS migrator – Move/copy data between Solid pods and leave breadcrumbs

PDS migrator team embraces a double challenge: on one hand they want to help users move their data from one place to another. On the other hand, they want the systems to discover where the data went after being moved. Find out more in this interview with Yvo Brevoort! Can you briefly introduce yourself? The PDS interop team is currently composed of Auke van Slooten, Ben Peachey and Yvo Brevoort (myself). We are based in Enschede, and together we have been working on open-source web-based solutions and applications for over 20 years. We firmly believe in an open web architecture and open collaboration. In recent years we have been working to improve Solid ecosystem. bringing it to the Nextcloud and the PHP community. What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? Data portability is a concept that has an impact on all of us. We all work with data more and more, and nobody wants to be locked in with a single vendor. We believe that everyone needs to be able to control their own data. On the other hand, we also want to be able to experience the richness of applications that are available everywhere. Data portability is central to bringing both these concepts together. How did you hear about DAPSI and what drove you to apply? DAPSI aims to overcome challenges that we experience in our own work every day, so we are happy to contribute. Having funding from DAPSI allows us to do more contributions and to do more deep work on overcoming these challenges. In simple words, what challenge does your project address? The project aims to reduce the impact of a phenomenon called “link rot”. This is the problem where links on the world wide web stop working because the information was (re)moved, and the user is left with...

Interview: Meet Maemo Leste – A free and open-source mobile experience

Maemo Leste aims to provide a free and open-source experience on mobile phones and tablets. Find out more about the work that this team of innovators is developing with DAPSI’s support, in this interview with Ivan Jelincic. Can you briefly introduce yourself? Greetings! I’m Ivan Jelincic (nickname “parazyd”). I am a long-time free software developer. I’ve worked on P2P networks, cryptocurrencies, Devuan GNU/Linux, and most recently founded the Maemo Leste mobile OS. Throughout the years I have collaborated with and contributed to many free software projects, communities, and organizations, like Dyne.org, and Bitreich, to name a few. Currently, outside of Maemo, I’m working with Dark Renaissance Technologies on a new anonymous operating system paradigm, and unlocking the hidden potential of this untapped design space. My favourite programming languages are C, Python, Go, and Rust, and most recently my focus is zero-knowledge cryptography and multi-party computation. What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? The most important goal is to help people escape the clutches of surveillance and exposure. By developing interoperable tools, we can empower both developers and users to transition to far better and liberated technologies which will keep their data in their ownership, and their communication safe and private. It is also essential that these tools and technologies are free software, as otherwise things may become corrupt. How did you hear about DAPSI and what drove you to apply? We’ve heard about DAPSI through our friend Michiel, who is part of the Nlnet foundation. He told us about this opportunity, and not much more, but after doing research, we realized that we would be a great fit for the goals that DAPSI implies. Our main drive for applying is always sustainability. We want to be able to push our operating system forward, while keeping the transparent approach. This shows our community...

Interview: Meet DASI Breaker – A Semantic Open Interoperability Solution to Break Down Data Silos

The DASI Breaker project aims to break down data silos! It enables the development of data-driven, context-aware Web applications and services, even cross domain. Find out more about this project and the team behind it in this interview with team member Luca Roffia. Can you briefly introduce yourself? My name is Luca Roffia and I am CEO of VAIMEE, the University of Bologna spin-off I co-founded in 2020 together with Cristiano Aguzzi, Alessandro Fuligani and Marzio Minarelli, and Assistant Professor at the same University where in 2005 I got a PhD in Computer Science, Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, with a dissertation on "Context Related Information Sharing and Retrieval in Mobile Cultural Heritage Applications". I have been running courses on Logic Design, Computer Architecture, and Information Technologies for Arts Organizations. My research interests are focused on the design and implementation of software solutions to enable interoperability by means of Linked Data technologies. In particular, since 2016 I have been the principal investigator of SEPA (SPARQL Event Processing Architecture), an open source solution which provides a publish-subscribe mechanism over Linked Data, making the solution very suitable in all the scenarios characterized by dynamic, heterogeneous and not structured data, like for the example the Internet of Things. What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? I do believe in the importance of data, as well as in the role played by data to provide advanced data-driven context-aware services for the benefit of many stakeholders as citizens, private bodies, and public institutions. Ensuring the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles is essential, even more when it comes to the data portability. Hence, at VAIMEE we believe that SEPA and Web of Things technologies can play a significant role for the development of trustworthy applications and services, which preserve the privacy of machine understandable data,...

Interview: Meet IDISS – Improving Data Interoperability by bridging Standards using human-centric Semantics

IDISS team has a challenge to solve: enhance data portability of standards for any structured data (XML). How? Find out in this interview with the team member Svante Schubert! Can you briefly introduce yourself? My name is Svante Schubert, just turned 50, living with family in Berlin, where I work since 2011 as a freelancer. Earlier I had been 12 years employed as Software Engineer at Sun Microsystems in Hamburg working on StarOffice (later being called OpenOffice and LibreOffice). During that time, I learned to work on software standards (being the blueprint of software) and I am still involved in the ODF standard – ODF being the office file format supported by many office applications - as co-chair of the technical committee at OASIS. As part of the EU digitalization efforts, I have added 7 years ago the domain of e-procurement to my field of experience, where I am now a co-editor at CEN TC 434 on the EU e-invoice format (EN16931). What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? My motivation is to reduce the pain I am experiencing nearly every single day due to the lack of digitalization. For instance, one of my main pains is doing the tax (for procurement, I must type data into my procurement software and, some months later, I am typing the same data into my tax software – this drives me crazy!). So much redundant, time consuming, error-prone work with the lack of running statistics across all data! This must change, and the solution should be applicable to all domains! Therefore, I am working on high-level ideas & tools to break free from this vicious circle. How did you hear about DAPSI and what drove you to apply? A friend told me about the DAPSI project before the 2nd project’s deadline. Sure, it is...

Interview: Meet EPPD – Delta Chat E-mail Provider Portability Directory

Delta Chat started with a father trying to provide his 13-year-old daughter a secure communication tool. With DAPSI’s support, this team is now working towards the goal of helping users make informed choices about their messaging apps, email clients and providers. Henriette Signer, from project EPPD, tells us all about it in this interview. Can you briefly introduce yourself?I am Henriette Signer, 30 years old and technical coordinator of the merlinux team. I am responsible for international relations (English, French, Spanish, Russian), funding, event management and networking/ communication. I love music, botanics, outdoor sports and audiobooks. What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? With this project, we would like to help users making informed choices about their messaging apps, email clients and providers. The tight relation between email providers and the well-functioning of our app Delta Chat is crucial for the user experience. We therefore want to facilitate onboarding, inform about diversity, different conditions and performances of email providers so users can easily communicate in a secure and autonomous way. How did you hear about DAPSI and what drove you to apply? We got the tip to send our proposal from a former funder and co-worker with whom we already accomplished a successful funding project last year. In simple words, what challenge does your project address? Our project addresses the need for information and transparency when choosing an email provider and email client, or messaging app. What solution are you developing? In 2017 Delta Chat was developed by Bjoern Petersen who wanted to provide a secure communication tool for his 13-year-old daughter as an alternative to Whatsapp, Telegram etc. He therefore used the email ecosystem as base for an end to end encrypted, decentralized (no central server), independent and widely compatible email app looking like a messenger. Everyone who has an email address can...

Interview: Meet CoCEM – Confidential Computing Enclaves for the Masses

In a scenario where you need to share confidential data with someone else, how can you make sure this data won’t be used for other purposes, shared or even stolen? Nicolae Paladi from CoCEM project is here to tell you how! Can you briefly introduce yourself? My name is Nicolae Paladi, I am a computer security researcher based in Stockholm, Sweden. I am the co-founder of CanaryBit, a company that uses the latest advancements in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, cryptography, and confidential computing to build secure data analytics services. I am also a part-time researcher at Lund University. In my free time, I organize tech meet-ups and go for kayaking adventures wherever I find water and a kayak. What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? We are all increasingly aware of the immense importance and value of data – be it personal, business, production, or research data. The current technological and economic model helps a handful of giant technology companies aggregate and centralize data ownership. We provide an alternative, allowing data controllers to manage, process, and monetize their data without giving it away. How did you hear about DAPSI and what drove you to apply? A former colleague obtained an NGI (New Generation Internet) grant and advised me to apply to the NGI DAPSI program. The DAPSI call was very relevant to what we do so I applied to help realize this project idea. In simple words, what challenges does your project address? We are working on a solution that allows confidential data collaboration between data owners and business intelligence actors. Today, data owners that do not have the necessary data analysis capacity (for example software or expertise) often choose to transfer data to a third-party business intelligence actor for processing. This means giving data away in clear text, with no verifiable technical way...

Interview: Meet Myenergy.AI – Personal energy data service portability and innovation platform

Myenergy.AI project is focused on the energy data portability space! Learn in this interview how this team wants to help persons and companies make better decisions for reducing their carbon use. Can you briefly introduce yourself? Hi, I'm Dan Leighton, CTP at Advanced Infrastructure Ltd. We are a company specialising in energy data for decarbonisation. What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? We are motivated to work in data portability by the need to ensure that a company or person’s energy data can be utilised by them anywhere without restrictions, to allow them to make better decisions about how to reduce their carbon use. How did you hear about DAPSI and what drove you to apply? We heard about DAPSI via the NGI website. We applied as we believed we had a valid problem to solve in the energy data portability space. In simple words, what challenge does your project address? We make it possible for energy data to be easily moved out of closed data systems and used by the data owner. What solution are you developing? We are building a tool to allow corporation’s and individual’s energy data to be moved between suppliers seamlessly and to ensure that relevant energy data, such as travel footprints, can be easily moved out of data silos. What will be the next steps? The next steps are to build the software!  

Interview: Meet TDIP – Telematics Data Interoperability Platform

Electric cars, telematics and data portability: these are the keywords that drive project TDIP – Telematics Data Interoperability Platform. Curious? Team member Balázs Szabó explains us more in this interview. Can you briefly introduce yourself? I am Balazs, CEO and Co-founder of Konetik. Konetik helps businesses to integrate electric vehicles with a software that analyses real vehicle usage data and recommend the suitable electric vehicles and the optimal charging infrastructure. What is your motivation to work in the data portability field? While working with telematics companies we realised that there is a lot of value hidden in the second-life use of telematics data. However, data portability is an issue due to the different formats. How did you hear about DAPSI and what drove you to apply? We have seen this opportunity in a newsletter and immediately thought that the DAPSI program could be helpful to overcome our data portability challenge: makes it easier for us to integrate with partners and it can be also useful for other companies and the broader community. In simple words, what challenge does your project address? Telematics data is notoriously varied in their format. Despite the existence of standards, telematics data providers don't seem to be actually using them in practice.Instead of trying to convince data providers to stick to one single standard, our goal is to improve the interoperability of telematics data, so that users and data providers can share data more easily between services, irrelevant of the format they use. What solution are you developing? The solution is to learn to map different formats and translate data from one format to another seamlessly. This may seem like a very difficult task to automate. However, recent advances in machine learning, and in particular natural language processing, give us the tools to do so with confidence. We use pre-trained deep neural networks to perform...