Rita Barrachina and Chris Fanning are two of the members of the technology commission of the Entities Coordinator for Lleialtat Santsenca, a community management team for community, cooperative and cultural uses. We interviewed them to learn more about their commitment to technological sovereignty in a space with these characteristics.
- What is the LleialTEC and with what objectives is it born?
The Lleialtec is the technology commission of the Coordinator of Entities for Loyalty Santsenca (CELS), which today brings together some fifty entities and people, and was born with the aim of ensuring the digital empowerment of people, collectives and entities of the Sants neighborhood. From the commission, we propose and implement free and ethical technological tools to manage the equipment. In addition, we accompany the members of CELS in the adoption of technologies and document the work done so that it can be replicated in other projects. On the other hand, we also propose our own activities to disseminate and train in free technologies, advise other spaces in the city and participate in other initiatives to create a network and value technological sovereignty and digital ethics.
- Lleialtat Santsenca is one of the few facilities that includes a specific commission on technology, and especially on technological sovereignty. To what does this sensitivity respond?
Although more and more people use digital devices, and therefore, a lot of software-, there are still few people who reflect on who has done it and why. We detected that there is a lack of information and generalized digital empowerment that makes initiatives with values, such as schools, cooperatives or other equipment, promote technologies that profit by marketing with the data of the people who participate. In the last phase of claiming the Santsenca Loyalty, 2015, people from the neighborhood came into the project sensitized with technological sovereignty and digital ethics. Understanding free software as part of responsible consumption of equipment, we wanted to lead by example and create a model of good technological practices from Lleialtec.
- What kind of activities do you develop to do this dissemination task?
On the one hand, -and facing internal communication-, we implemented an agora of digital participation that has already awakened the interest of other spaces in the neighborhood and the city: the CELS members who want to learn to use it come on Mondays to the Lleialtec commission to be trained. On the other hand, -and facing the neighborhood and the city-, we propose activities such as technological snacks, installation parties for free operating systems or equipment meetings. In addition, we translate texts from other languages into Catalan; we create our own pedagogical content; we support other projects of the neighborhood, the city and the world; we participate in technological, cooperative and educational events; and we will promote a teatretec and a library to spread the opposite, through the performing arts and reading.
- Do you also promote free tools in the management and decision making of the equipment? What?
s free and neutral telecommunications, we use the binomial Guifi.net/eXO; internally, both the technical personnel of the equipment and the members of the CELS, have access to the agora (Discourse) and the cloud (Nextcloud), two fundamental tools that help organize information and encourage participation. The agora serves us as a permanent online assembly and, in addition to encouraging participation, through it we resolve more banal issues that do not require physical assemblies. The cloud, which is used to store and share files, also integrates other management tools, such as email, project manager and calendar: permissions in the cloud are determined based on participation in the commissions. And in a governance experiment, we created a digital currency!
- What kind of activities do you develop to do this dissemination task? Why do you think there are certain sovereignties, such as food sovereignty, that have been understood as a priority among the citizens while we do not care so much about technology?
We believe that everything is a matter of time and resources: although at the conceptual level, the bits of the malicious programs are easily comparable to agri-food pesticides, although it is not usual to make the connection between the values of the Social and Solidarity Economy and those of the free and ethical technologies. The software is intangible but we must think in terms of responsible consumption: the cloud does not exist, it is the computer of another ... And the great technologists concentrate and domesticate users in the use of concrete tools, and not in the understanding of the concepts that they take over That is why we find that initiatives with values are those that have made use of and promote free technologies, preaching by example and agreeing on the technological tools they use, in addition to training and becoming entangled in.
- What are your challenges for the future? How do you imagine the future of the equipment and how is its replicability working?
Our challenge for the future is to make sustainable projects of free and ethical technologies, such as associations, cooperatives or technology commissions. We think that, in each neighborhood or town, there should be technological coordinators that ensure the ethics of digital tools used in spaces of social transformation. Imagine a network of spaces and projects that, whether municipal or not, share infrastructures and free content with the aim of seizing their neighbors through the dissemination and specific training in ethical technologies. That is why, from Lleialtec, we want to set an example by accompanying the members of the CELS; advising other spaces in other neighborhoods; fostering training; and documenting the work done on the website https://tec.lleialtat.cat/