Centralisation and increasing control of traffic on the internet, including pervasive government surveillance of all that traffic has led to the emergence of a movement of do-it-yourself networking. Local connectivity is well within our technical means, says MAZI … but it needs to be organised, the know-how put together and made available.
There are several initiatives working on that, MAZI is one of them and it just got European funding for this important work …
What does MAZI stand for?
MAZI means “together” in Greek and the goal of MAZI is to provide technology and knowledge in order to
- empower those who are in physical proximity, to shape their hybrid urban space, together, according to the specificities of the respective local environment
- generate location-based collective awareness as a basis for fostering social cohesion, conviviality, participation in decision-making processes, self-organization, knowledge sharing, and sustainable living
- facilitate interdisciplinary interactions around the design of hybrid space and the role of ICTs in society.
What is new about MAZI?
MAZI wishes to invest in an alternative technology, what we call Do-It-Yourself networking, a combination of wireless technology, low-cost hardware, and free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) applications, for building local networks, mostly known today as community wireless networks. By making this technology better understood, easily deployed, and configured based on a rich set of customization options and interdisciplinary knowledge, compiled as a toolkit, MAZI will empower citizens to build their own local networks for facilitating hybrid, virtual and physical, interactions, in ways that are respectful to their rights to privacy, freedom of expression and self-determination.
How does the MAZI initiative plan to achieve its objectives?
MAZI will take into account different perspectives namely technological, scientific, political and social, and build a toolkit, which will include:
- Installation scripts and hardware options for covering a target area with a DIY network
- FLOSS web applications adapted to address the needs of location-based exchanges and interactions and to be easily customized according to the context
- Ideas and blueprints of the design of physical artefacts that could complement the deployed network
- A rich set of guidelines for the customization of the functionality offered by the different toolkit offerings.
To see the MAZI web site: http://mazizone.eu
Other relevant links on developments around local networking (courtesy Michel Bauwens)…
The London School of Economics – Media Policy Blog on Alternative Internet(s)
Institut des Sciences de la Communication at the Sorbonne in Paris –
The P2P Foundation’s Wiki on Do-It-Yourself Networking