Two years with Cozy

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It’s been two years already, and it’s still a blast: 2 years ago, in March 2015, I have left Mozilla where I had spent 17 years to join Cozy Cloud. What about summarizing what we’ve done over these 2 years?

The Cozy mission is more inspiring than ever

The fact that I left my job at Mozilla may have suprised a few people, but it made a lot of sense. Mozilla’s initial goal was to “promote choice and innovation on the browser market” and it was reached a few years back. In 1998, things were quite worrying on the client side of the Web (browsers) but now it has vastly improved. On the other hand, there is huge issue on the server side now that most people use SaaS aka Cloud services. It’s what drew me to the Cozy project, combined with Cozy’s way to approach things:

  1. relying on Open Source / Free Software, which I have been supporting for 19 years now, when mozilla.org launched back in 1998;
  2. protecting personal data and privacy;
  3. empowering users when it comes to their digital life.

Many nice milestones

Over the past two years, a lot has been achieved. Here are a few milestones:

  • growing the team to 30 talented and committed people (many of them being super smart Free Software / Open source developers). We’ll introduce them soon on this blog;
  • a new organization that makes Cozy firing on all of its cylinders, from product design to product owners to developers. This deserve a full blog post, coming soon!
  • the publishing of two books of which I’m very proud (in French only, sorry!), one being my own surveillance://, published in October 2016, followed by Numérique : reprendre le contrôle (if you read French, go download it for free!);
  • Cozy’s participation to many events in France and in Europe, around Free and Open source software, privacy, Self Data, etc.
  • Cozy Meetups in several places, with highly committed community members;
  • the upcoming release of Cozy version 3 Alpha, result of a very significant technical investment. This is the moment when we switch from a piece of software that shows where we’re going to an actual product that is scalable and can be deployed in order to reach the masses;
  • the partnerships we’ve built with organizations that are outside the digital realm, such as our investor MAIF, an atypical French insurance company. It’s a strong sign that our ideas, our values, start influencing other parts of society.

Our commitment matters

It’s not enough to know that we’ve achieved a lot. It’s even better knowing that we’re heading in the right direction. Several recent articles published show how important is what we’re working on.

The Father of the Web is worried: “We’ve lost control of our personal data”

As the world wide web is celebrating its 28th birthday; its inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, shares what is worrying him the most. His first worry is strikingly close to what we, at Cozy Cloud, have been working on for the past 4 years:

1) We’ve lost control of our personal data

The current business model for many websites offers free content in exchange for personal data. Many of us agree to this – albeit often by accepting long and confusing terms and conditions documents – but fundamentally we do not mind some information being collected in exchange for free services. But, we’re missing a trick. As our data is then held in proprietary silos, out of sight to us, we lose out on the benefits we could realise if we had direct control over this data, and chose when and with whom to share it.

The European Commission and Mozilla polls confirm this

The European Commission has published its final report for the Next Generation Internet Consultation on March 6th. The top three values that are listed there are:

  1. Internet should ensure citizens’ sovereignty over their own data and protect privacy;
  2. Internet should ensure diversity, pluralism and a right to choose;
  3. Internet should avoid the concentration of data in a few proprietary platforms.

What do we do now?

It’s amazing to see that Cozy’s mission is so well aligned with what matters the most to European citizens, ranging from the most humble Internet user to the inventor of the Web! It’s really encouraging to know that we’re hard at work on such a central issue. It reinforces my conviction that we are at the right place to help build a better society, through Internet decentralization, Open source and Free software and personal Clouds, so that everyone can have more control over his personal data!