GNU Free Call is a new project to develop and deploy secure self-organized communication services worldwide for private use and for public administration. GNU Free Call use the open standard SIP protocol and GNU SIP Witch to create secured peer-to-peer mesh calling networks. Free as in freedom, and free as in no cost, too!
Most popular Internet phone system these days is Skype. Lots of people like it, but the way in which the Skype software is designed and distributed has also raised “mounting privacy and security concerns”. For these and other reasons, an international group of programmers recently started working on a replacement for Skype: Gnu Free Call.
Three main reasons telecommunications fail. The first is physical destruction of parts of the network, like cell phone towers. The second is failure in supporting services, like electricity, water cooling and fuel transportation to backup generators, and the third is overload in the remaining network, because people need to talk in a crisis.
GNU Free Call believe a few years from now most people will have cell phones with WI-FI capability or similar, and this they believe will make it possible for people to call through other people’s phones. Imagine someone stuck under a collapsed building, cell phone towers unavailable. Hopefully, using GNU Free Call, they will have the freedom to call out when they really need to, through the phones of people nearby, because Gnu Free Call does not require any centralized service.
GNU Free Call could be valuable for “many ordinary public service uses, such as the delivery of eHealth services, as well as medical, and legal communication, where it is essential to treat all with equal human dignity by maintaining privacy regardless of race, religion or political affiliation,” the project notes. “Equally important is the continuation of emergency medical services even when existing infrastructure is no longer available or has been deliberately disabled.”
The project invites anyone interested to help through its GNU Telephony wiki site. There’s also a SIP Witch mailing list and a privacy-focused list for discussing core architecture, privacy issues and social consequences.