Free express: Signal, Pl@ntNet, coding competition

Image: “Keep calm and use open source” (MedithIT/CC by)

Signal details its budget: in 2025, $50 million per year

Launched in 2013, reports, the Signal app is, according to the Signal Foundation, “the most widely used truly private messaging app in the world, and our cryptographic technologies provide additional levels of privacy beyond Signal app itself. Since its launch in 2013, the Signal Protocol, our end-to-end encryption technology, has become the de facto standard for private communications, protecting the content of billions of conversations in WhatsApp, Google Messages and more. Signal also continues to invest in research and development to expand communications privacy. (…)

This desire to preserve the ability to communicate privately is one of the reasons we work openly, documenting our thinking and making our code open source and open for review, so you don’t have to take our word for it.

Signal is also a nonprofit, unlike almost every other consumer tech company. This is an essential structural safeguard that allows us to remain true to our privacy mission. To put it bluntly, as a nonprofit, we don’t have profit-driven investors or board members knocking on our door during tough times, urging us to “sacrifice a little privacy” in the name of growth and monetary goals. (…)

“Instead of monetizing surveillance, we are supported by donations, including a generous initial loan from Brian Acton [un des fondateurs, déçu, de WhatsApp]. Our goal is to get as close as possible to full funding from small donors, relying on a large number of modest contributions from people who care about Signal. We believe this is the safest form of funding in terms of sustainability: it allows us to remain accountable to Signal users, avoid any single point of funding failure, and reject the widespread practice of the monetization of surveillance.”

In the rest of this post (VO here), signed by Meredith Whittaker, president of the Signal foundation (and ex-Google), and the developer Joshua Lund (designer of the self-hosted VPN Streisand), Signal gives the details of its main infrastructure costs (recording fees, servers, bandwidth, storage, etc.), currently at 14 million dollars per year, and which the foundation estimates that by 2050, they will increase to 50 million per year, “this which is very little compared to other popular messaging apps that do not respect your privacy.

Citizen science: Pl@ntNet in donation campaign

Who hasn’t already wondered about the name and nature of this or that plant? Pl@ntNet, the Shazam of plants, is a non-commercial app (on iOS and Android, and web version) that is particularly useful, both for botany enthusiasts and for advancing science. It works by image recognition. This participatory science platform, without advertising or resale of data underlines its site, has now processed more than 722 million plant identifications worldwide, covering 45,000 different plant species. Its managers claim more than 20 million users.

In 2022, Pl@ntNet collected 250,000 euros in donations, which allowed it to add “support for all flora in the world, updating our species data and introducing a new model identification based on the latest artificial intelligence technologies. Its 2023 donation campaign is underway, and now exceeds 71% of its target of 400,000 euros, “which will allow us to finance the material and human costs of the IT infrastructure as well as new developments”.

The governance of Pl@ntNet is ensured by a consortium, made up of four research organizations (CIRAD, Inria, INRAE ​​and IRD) and the Agropolis foundation.

Coding Competition: Youth Hacking 4 Freedoom

Registrations are open for the 2024 edition of Youth Hacking 4 Freedom, the FSFE (Free Software Foundation Europe) coding competition aimed at young Europeans. They can play alone or as a team and win up to 4,096 euros (2,048 euros for second place and 1,024 for third – we will appreciate the geek wink with these powers of 2 – plus prizes for the following).

“The aim of this competition is to bring together young people from all over Europe interested in coding, regardless of their current level in the subject. For six months, participants – who must be aged 14 to 18 at the time of registration – will have the opportunity to work on their own free software project, alone or in a team. (…)

During these six months, participants will also have the opportunity to meet other young Europeans who share their interests and, most likely, their coding challenges. Optional monthly online meetings will be held to guide participants through the coding period and teach them how to successfully complete an open source software project, learn from the experiences of previous participants, and get advice from experienced members of our jury.

In July and August 2024, an international jury of technical experts will review the projects and the winners will be notified in September 2024 and officially announced during the awards ceremony weekend in Brussels in October 2024.”

Read also

Crowdfunding for Cause Commune radio – November 27, 2023

ZD Tech: Signal recruits ex-Google to try to make money – June 17, 2022

Signal: The refuge of the disappointed of WhatsApp – January 11, 2021

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