Software Freedom Conservancy

Conservancy's Executive Director Delivers Keynote Address at Swatantra '17

Karen Sandler, Chief Guest of Swatantra Conference in India, Lauded in the Press

December 22, 2017

This week, Karen Sandler keynoted at Swatantra '17, a conference in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala organized by the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), an autonomous organization set up by Kerala's government.

Karen told the large crowd about her own experience that led her to become a strong advocate for software freedom. Specifically, in 2006, Karen needed a heart defibrillator implanted. In a subsequent research project, Karen learned disturbing facts regarding the safety of the proprietary software in medical devices, which she presented in her keynote. Karen further spoke about her ongoing experiences as both a patient living with implanted proprietary software and an expert in this field, and also discussed the future of ethics in technology and its impact on society.

Other presenters echoed Karen's message later in the conference, including IT Secretary M. Sivasankar during his official remarks. The Times of India highlighted Karen's presentation in print and online editions, calling her a large-hearted queen of free software, and The Hindu featured her talk in two articles.

Later in the conference, Karen participated in a panel on learning from the past to improve future advocacy for software freedom. She also had the opportunity to discuss challenges related to diversity in technology at the event and with local govenment officials. Karen promoted Conservancy's Outreachy program and met with a number of attendees who were a part of a women's hacker group to brainstorm future solutions in this area.

Karen and Conservancy thank the organizers of this excellent event for the opportunity to meet and speak with the enthusiastic and dedicated software freedom advocates and contributors in Kerala.

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