Talk about corporate social responsibility: Dutch internet provider XS4ALL has always been at the frontline when it comes to protecting the rights of internet users. And now I read in their newsletter that they’re sponsoring Syracuse University School of Information Studies professor Milton Mueller as the first “XS4ALL professor” at Delft University of Technology (press release in Dutch), for three years, focusing on security and privacy of internet users, especially mobile users.
Mueller has written about internet governance not even that long after XS4ALL’s precursor Hacktic opened the internet for Jay Citizen here in the Netherlands, and IT staff at my university tried to block access to them for a brief moment in history. Later they kind of made up for it by hosting Rop Gongrijp’s “Hackers at Large” conference. Rop was active in Hacktic and co-founded XS4ALL, and went on to remain a general PITA for authorities with his campaign against voting computers, and just this week was in the news again when the Mifare Hack demonstrated at CCC made it to the front page: it’s at the heart of the to-be-introduced chip card payment system for public transport throughout the Netherlands.
I really got to know XS4ALL when they sponsored a machine for our freeteam in the ’90s, where we hosted several early-on projects such as contrast.org (political asylum for banned content) and the Eurostop precursor to current independent media centres, during the EU summit in Amsterdam in 1997. They’ve also been fighting several legal battles: the EU data retention laws and their translation into Dutch law, and Karin Spaink’s battle with Scientology.
In the same newsletter I learnt that XS4ALL is now also offering unlimited wifi access to its subscribers through the KPN Hotspots, so I’m once more reinforced in my belief of being with the right provider 🙂