EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.12.10

Microsoft Would Have Helped Stalin, Too

Posted in Asia, Fraud, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Commonality found in intolerance or hatred of opposing views, competition

Medvedev and Windows
Credit: kremlin.ru, modified with permission.

Summary: Microsoft is “enabling tyranny” in Russia (to borrow words from the US Senate) by crushing political dissent and other humanitarian movements in the great country

DR. GLYN MOODY has just found a rather shocking new article from The New York Times, which is unlikely to sensationalise or exaggerate because it’s subjected to a lot of scrutiny. Moody labels Microsoft “Enemy of Human Rights in Russia” because of this article.

As a little bit of background, consider the relationship between Microsoft and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian spy fiasco which we mentioned many times in July [1, 2], Microsoft’s handing out of Windows source code to the KGB equivalent, and the fact that Microsoft is attacking GNU/Linux adoption in Russian schools [1, 2] (more links at the bottom of this post show the nefarious means used).

For quite a few years now there have been known stories of Russian authorities selecting politically-active victims (usually journalists) and using Microsoft to crack down on them, eventually locking them up in some prison. Microsoft also did this in Kyrgyzstan [1, 2], as reported earlier this year.

Watch what Microsoft is doing in Russia:

Instead, the group fell victim to one of the authorities’ newest tactics for quelling dissent: confiscating computers under the pretext of searching for pirated Microsoft software.

Across Russia, the security services have carried out dozens of similar raids against outspoken advocacy groups or opposition newspapers in recent years. Security officials say the inquiries reflect their concern about software piracy, which is rampant in Russia. Yet they rarely if ever carry out raids against advocacy groups or news organizations that back the government.

As the ploy grows common, the authorities are receiving key assistance from an unexpected partner: Microsoft itself. In politically tinged inquiries across Russia, lawyers retained by Microsoft have staunchly backed the police.

[...]

Given the suspicions that these investigations are politically motivated, the police and prosecutors have turned to Microsoft to lend weight to their cases. In southwestern Russia, the Interior Ministry declared in an official document that its investigation of a human rights advocate for software piracy was begun “based on an application” from a lawyer for Microsoft.

In another city, Samara, the police seized computers from two opposition newspapers, with the support of a different Microsoft lawyer. “Without the participation of Microsoft, these criminal cases against human rights defenders and journalists would simply not be able to occur,” said the editor of the newspapers, Sergey Kurt-Adzhiyev.

They are even framing them if they do everything in the most prudent of ways. They use Microsoft as a weapon of criminalisation regardless of reality and Microsoft is by all means an active collaborator:

They said they told the officers that they were mistaken, pulling out receipts and original Microsoft packaging to prove that the software was not pirated. The police did not appear to take that into consideration. A supervising officer issued a report on the spot saying that illegal software had been uncovered.

Before the raid, the environmentalists said their computers were affixed with Microsoft’s “Certificate of Authenticity” stickers that attested to the software’s legality. But as the computers were being hauled away, they noticed something odd: the stickers were gone.

In all, 12 computers were confiscated. The group’s Web site was disabled, its finances left in disarray, its plans disclosed to the authorities.

As Moody stresses, this helps show that Free software is crucial to one’s national freedom, not just individual freedom:

Of course, there’s a simple solution to all this: use free software. With that, no stickers are needed, and so there’s no way the authorities can frame you for using it. Indeed, given free software’s greater security, I can’t really understand why human rights groups aren’t routinely installing it anyway. Let’s hope they learn from these awful experiences and switch soon – not least for Lake Baikal’s sake.

Microsoft was recently accused in the US senate of “enabling tyranny” in China [1, 2]. Add Russia and Kyrgyzstan to this list.

Related posts:

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

4 Comments

  1. satipera said,

    September 13, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Gravatar

    I dislike Microsoft as much as many free software supporters. However they are doing nothing more than companies have always done whether national or international.

    The real story here is that countless companies are doing business in parts of the world where they are observing local laws and dealing with politicians in ways which would not be acceptable in their own and many other countries. Sometimes with the secret support of their own governments.

    Companies do not care a jot if the country they are making money in is run by a devil. They only start caring if it is damaging business elsewhere more than it is contributing to profits. It is an undeniable truth that capitalism is amoral. Why anyone would be surprised that companies behave in this way amazes me.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    How would you explain Google’s decision to exit China?

    satipera Reply:

    They looked at their market share and income in China and what was expected of them by the Chinese government, this along with there being a home grown very government friendly incumbent led to a decision that staying in China would hurt their company. Are you totally sure that Google have given up on China?

    Google is obviously a large company with an area of expertise that is of great interest to nosy governments (most if not all of them). I would not be surprised if Google was involved in projects with governments all over the world that the average search engine user will never hear about.

    I am sure that there are some companies that put their morals above profits, but not many want to or can afford to. The vast majority of companies will just say they are obeying the local laws and carry on until it is not worth their while to do so, whatever that reason is.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I think it’s a question worth exploring. What companies say and actually mean may vary.

What Else is New


  1. Links 9/8/2020: Popcorn Computers Pocket PC and New Interview With Richard Stallman

    Links for the day



  2. Education and Free Software

    "If students learn how to code, they'll be able to figure out the applications."



  3. Features Considered Harmful (Revised)

    "But the benefits of Free software, free candy and new features are all meaningless, if the user isn't in control."



  4. If We Weren't Silencing Founders, Critics and People We Just Don't Like

    In the long run, history is rarely very kind to tyrants, especially the ones who did little more than lie to people and demand things that served no real purpose."



  5. I Would Have Supported the Coup (Under Very Different Circumstances)

    Richard Stallman's (rms) ordeals are showing us how not to deal with a founder; this is how power transition could be done instead, according to figosdev



  6. It Looks Like Red Hat's (IBM) Fedora Project May be 'Outsourced' to Amazon's Datacentres

    In "seeking a more modern and cost effective location" for Fedora Infrastructure it seems to have been decided, privately, that Amazon (AWS) would be the new home of this project; but there's sufficient obfuscation surrounding the matter and many people seem to be totally unaware



  7. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, August 08, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, August 08, 2020



  8. Fearmongering Was Originally an IBM Thing, Not a Microsoft Thing

    Microsoft made FUD famous, but it was actually IBM’s practice that made it commonplace in the first place (the term or acronym was coined before Microsoft even mattered and on the same year Microsoft was founded)



  9. [Meme] People Get Fired for Being Bought by IBM (With a Crummy Severance Package)

    IBM used to proudly provide job security and one could have a job there for decades (career ladders and worker benefits of all sorts are what some people assess this when looking for an employer, e.g. whether they can progress, get promoted, stay onboard); by today’s standards only a month’s salary is exceptionally bad, especially when one gets fired without warning, but this is what IBM did to some Red Hat employees



  10. New FSF Video Makes the Case Against Microsoft GitHub (and Similar), So Why is the FSF's Board Being Filled Up With Active GitHub Users?

    The FSF makes a good point about “important values like autonomy, sharing, social responsibility, and collaboration” — the very things that are under attack by Microsoft’s GitHub, which is all about coercion and monopolistic control over developers



  11. Techrights is Not Against Microsoft

    It may be a suitable time to explain why Microsoft is mentioned so much and why it's not a fixation but a reactionary priority



  12. The THRIVE Guidelines

    "Nobody is perfect, and it's obvious that people already hold some to a more unreasonable interpretation of their standards than others."



  13. Links 8/8/2020: Mageia 8 Hits Beta and FSF Has New Video

    Links for the day



  14. [Meme/History] OpenPOWER or Just White POWER?

    Antiwar and anti-nukes activists cannot support those causes and support IBM at the same time, as the founder’s son (father received a medal from the Nazi Party) flew “an American heavy bomber” and enjoyed a track record of nepotism, propelling him to the top both in the military and at IBM



  15. Rebuilding Communities

    "First, we should talk about how our communities have regressed."



  16. [Meme] Microsoft in 2020: Liaising With Criminals to Make Crime the New Normal

    As the TikTok situation serves to show, Microsoft is little but a criminal cult that relies on other criminals to do Microsoft's biddings



  17. The Computer Anybody Can Edit

    "Without rebuilding and recompiling all of the packages on a large distribution, it is possible to "remaster" an ISO and get a different system -- even before you install it."



  18. Former Microsoft Employee on So-called 'Journalists' Being Blackmailed by Microsoft

    Mitchel Lewis, a former Microsoft employee, remarks on Mary Jo Foley being 'punished' by Microsoft for not mindlessly publishing Microsoft propaganda (we remarked on this before as she had spoken to me about this over a decade ago)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, August 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, August 07, 2020



  20. For the Want of a Pixel

    "It is still possible to win, but the FSF has practically left the field."



  21. Ubuntu and Fedora Project Serving Microsoft

    The Ubuntu 'community' as well as the 'community' component of Red Hat (IBM) don't view Microsoft as a rival; over a decade ago Mark Shuttleworth accused Microsoft of "extortion" and "racketeering" (his words), but now he's paid to change his tune



  22. (Don't Let's) Throw Caution to the Wind

    "As it will become crucial to explain, the effect of all this dancing around truth and reality was to transform a volunteer force primed to bring freedom to users into cheap labour for an industry that exploits everyone in it -- all the way to the very top of Open Source itself."



  23. Links 7/8/2020: Mesa 20.2 RC, Radeon Software for Linux 20.30

    Links for the day



  24. Computing Fundamentals

    "A graphical interface is better, for some things -- sometimes. But it will also put a lot more on our plates."



  25. IBM and the Bomb: Series Index (on 75th Anniversary of Atomic Bombs Being Dropped on Civilians)

    Today seems an apt time to remind readers that IBM participated in the creation of the only bombs ever to be dropped in a war (not tests) and this tradition carries on because IBM is still profiting from it, to this very day (countless billions made by IBM during the Cold War too)



  26. Freedom is Personal

    "Before I say anything else, note that there are literally hundreds of GNU/Linux distros, and I put in a lot of work to rate which were the least encumbered by corporate politics — directly or indirectly."



  27. Links 7/8/2020: Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS and GNU C Library 2.32 Released

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, August 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, August 06, 2020



  29. Our Collective Privacy is Under Unprecedented Attacks and Privacy is Now Conflated With Bad Hygiene, Not Just Criminality

    At warp speed the "War on cash" or "War on anonymous transactions" is moving ahead; now that COVID-19 infects a lot of people we're led to assume that mass surveillance saves lives not because of counter-terrorism but because of contact-tracing or whatever (in practice it's hardly effective, but it's conditioning people to give up any remnants of their privacy)



  30. The Psychology of Developers

    "It turns out, there are ways around a free license -- you can make software "less free" or more imposing, without changing the license at all."


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts