Today, large parts of our lives pass through the Internet: we send emails, share photos, documents, calendars, do research, online shopping… Services from large private companies make life easier and more comfortable for users. But the fact that they are free, is only appearance.
These companies collect huge amounts of personal data that they use for targeted advertising to resale to data brokers. The products around which their businessess revolve are not the services they provide, but the data they collect.
This happens behind the scenes, without really informing their users, and often without their explicit consent. This also happens without any public scrutiny, and without concern for its impact on society.
In the mean time…
- The general public has become increasingly sensitized to the issue of privacy and date extraction. Scandals related to misuse of personal data and violation of privacy are multiplying and companies have not provided convincing answers. Awareness is growing and these issues are increasingly present in public discourse.
- Free and open technical solutions exist and are becoming more accessible, secure and reliable. The software architecture of the Internet is fundamentally open and accessible to all. Finally, Europe is the first producer of free software, putting a range of tools at our disposal.
- Economic models consistent with our values are possible, and some are being implemented everywhere. There is a large number of companies of digital services that do not base their business model on the resale of the data or on advertising.
Nubo wants to empower its users to take control of their personal data and to bring their digital lives together into a local, tangible and human structure, a cooperative in which they can participate and over which they maintain control.
Over the past fifteen years, many associations in Belgium and elsewhere have worked to promote free software and a neutral, open and inclusive Internet, as well as to provide independent online services. From this experience, they drew the following conclusions:
- current technical alternatives are mostly used by people who are already aware of them. They sometimes require technical skills that not everyone has.
- the Internet is changing rapidly, and while there are positive developments, some of its major evolutions are of concern;
- alternatives are possible, but volunteer initiatives will not be sufficient to ensure long-term viability.
Several Belgian associations have therefore joined forces to propose you Nubo: a citizen cooperative offering ethical and privacy-friendly digital services, all within an economically sustainable framework.
- Nubo respects and protects privacy.
By taking shares, cooperators become co-owners of their infrastructure. We know where data is kept and how they are treated. They cannot be accessed or used without our knowledge.
- Nubo is a cooperative pursuing a social goal.
By making important decisions together, we make sure that the cooperative will always operate in the interest of its users. The cooperative structure guarantees transparency and governance in a way that everyone has a say.
- Nubo is a network on a human scale.
Thanks to our implantation within a local structure, we promote local employment and economy. The cooperative encourages meetings between people, exchanges and mutual aid. We do not entrust our data to machines, we entrust them to people!