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

03.29.11

Microsoft Helps Repressive Regimes, Whereas GNU/Linux Makes Those Regimes Powerless

Posted in EFF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Machine gun

Summary: Microsoft is gunning down dissidence (for oppressive tyrants only) by deliberately leaving people who use Microsoft software exposed to surveillance and other abuses

THE subject of Free software as a tool of autonomy goes many years back. For a computer user to be in control of the software rather than the servant of this software, there are characteristics which need to be present in the code. The FSF gives one good definition of these characteristics, although there may be others. Richard Poynder explains how “Citizenship and Software” relate to one another in an atmosphere where software is increasingly politicised:

Lawrence Lessig came to understand the power of software to construct and shape our world when he was (briefly) “special master” during the Microsoft antitrust case. As he later put it to me, “[Y]ou can code software however you want, to produce whatever kind of product you want. And that capability is unique with software: you can’t, for instance, say that an automobile will be something that is a transmission and a radio wrapped in one. But you can do exactly that with software, because software is so plastic.”

As such, he added, the Microsoft case was just “a particular example of a more general point about how you need to understand the way in which technology and policy interact.”

Yet, as more and more of our lives are organised and controlled by computers, and the role that software plays in society becomes increasingly central, most people still assume that the virtual world that opens up before them when they switch on the computer, and the choices they are offered onscreen, is how things are and ought to be — not a consequence of the way in which the underlying software has been coded.

People who use Microsoft software are completely controlled by the political inclinations of Microsoft and those governments which Microsoft collaborates with (basically just about any government, for the sake of profit). The recent stories from Russia [1, 2, 3] were a shocking reminder of it and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reports that “Microsoft Shuts off HTTPS in Hotmail for Over a Dozen Countries”. As André Rebentisch put it, “Hotmail does not offer https for authoritarian nations” and here are the nations in short:

According to an EFF deeplink Hotmail apparently disabled the https default option for its users who set their location to the following nations: Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Congo, Myanmar, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan,

Brad explains why “Political Activists Need Linux” — a subject we addressed here many times before.

Over and over again I have stressed the advice of computer security experts: if you must use Windows, do NOT use Internet Explorer. And I’ll go one step further: if you have any reason to believe you may be targeted for attack — either because of your political beliefs, or your business activities — then stop using Windows.

There is also an interpretation from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Here we have yet another example of Microsoft harming computer users. Won’t people learn from Egypt about how governments identify and arrest the opposition following surveillance?

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 21/10/2017: Purism Against ME, Pop!_OS Ready

    Links for the day



  2. US Patents Appeal Board Attacked by the Patent 'Industry', Defended by Federal Courts, and Dodged by Patent Trolls

    PTAB, the branch or the 'court' responsible for eliminating bad patents, is coming under attacks from those who rely on poor patent quality and receives praises from everyone else, as usual



  3. In the United States, the Patent 'Industry' is a Dying Breed and China Adopts This Destructive Force

    The decaying patent microcosm, or the pipeline of low-quality patents and frivolous lawsuits these entail, loses its grip on the US; China, much to the astonishment of people who actually create things, is attempting to attract that ruinous microcosm (which preys on real, producing companies)



  4. Microsoft and Nokia's Patent Trolls by Proxy: First Conversant, Now Provenance Asset Group Holdings LLC

    Microsoft's shell game with patents (passing Android-hostile patents to trolls) carries on and publishers funded by these trolls offer the details, albeit vaguely and with obvious spin



  5. Anonymous Professionals Speak of Benoît Battistelli's Destruction of the EPO, But Why Does the Media Turn a Blind Eye?

    Everyone in the circles of EPO staff and EPO stakeholders knows that dysfunction has become the norm; European media, however, remains suspiciously silent about what otherwise would be a major European scandal (bigger than FIFA or Dieselgate)



  6. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part III: More Details About Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Former Employer of Campinos

    The side of Campinos which he prefers to conceal, or rather his association with a rather notorious Portuguese bank



  7. UPC Looks Like More of a Distant Dream (or Nightmare) as Germany Adds Another Two Months' Delay

    The likelihood that the UPC will be altogether scuttled is growing as delays keep piling up and more complaints are being filed by public interest groups (as opposed to Team UPC, which hoped to shove the UPCA down everyone's throats behind closed doors)



  8. Patent Trolls Roundup: BlackBerry, Dominion Harbor, IPNav, IP Bridge

    A quick review of recent news regarding patent trolls or entities which resemble (and sometimes feed) these



  9. Battistelli's Destruction of the EPO is Bad for Everyone, Even Patent Attorneys

    The collapse of the European patent system, owing primarily to Battistelli's totalitarian style and deemphasis on patent quality, means that "the war is lost," as one professional puts it



  10. Links 19/10/2017: Mesa 17.2.3, New Ubuntu Release, Samsung Flirts With GNU/Linux Desktops

    Links for the day



  11. Some of the USPTO's Most Ridiculous Patents Are Scrutinised by “Above the Law” While Dennis Crouch Attempts to Tarnish Alice

    Controversies over patent scope and level of novelty required for a patent; as usual, public interest groups try to restrict patent scope, whereas those who make money out of abundance of patents attempt to remove every barrier



  12. Microsoft's Software Patents Aggression in Court (Corel Again)

    Microsoft's tendency to not only abuse the competition but also to destroy it with patent lawsuits as seen in Corel's case



  13. The Spanish Supreme Court Rejects the EPO's “Problem and Solution Approach” While Quality of European Patents Nosedives

    European Patents (EPs) aren't what they used to be and their credibility is being further eroded and even detected as such



  14. Europe is Being Robbed by Team Battistelli and the UPC/PPH Would Make Things Worse

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has put litigation at the forefront, having implicitly decided to no longer bother with proper patent examination and instead issue lots of patents for judges and lawyers to argue about (at great expense to the public)



  15. Team UPC Continues to Promote Illusion of UPC Progress Where There's None

    The core members of Team UPC in the UK spread obvious falsehoods in the media, probably in an effort to attract 'business' (consultation regarding something that does not exist)



  16. António Campinos: A True EPO Reformer or More of the Same?

    More unfortunate reminders that Campinos and Battistelli don't quite diverge on the big issues, they're just more than two decades apart in age (but the same nationality)



  17. Juve Has Confirmed That António Campinos is French

    The relationship between Campinos and Battistelli has a nationality aspect to it, not even taking into account the interpersonal connection which goes a long way back



  18. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part II: António Campinos at Banco Caixa Geral de Depósitos

    A look at the largely-hidden banking career of the next President of the EPO and the career of the person who competed with him for this position



  19. SUEPO to the Media, Regarding Campinos: “No Comment, It’s Too Dangerous”

    António Campinos, who is Benoît Battistelli's chosen successor at the EPO, as covered by German media earlier this month



  20. Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Willing to Work With Campinos But Foresees Difficulties

    New message from SUEPO regarding Battistelli's successor of choice (Campinos)



  21. Links 18/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, Microsoft Bug Doors Leaked

    Links for the day



  22. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part I: Introduction

    Some new details about Mr. Campinos, who is Battistelli’s successor at the EPO



  23. Confessions of EPO Insiders Reveal That European Patents (EPs) Have Lost Their Legitimacy/Value Due to Battistelli's Policies

    A much-discussed topic at the EPO is now the ever-declining quality of granted patents, which make or break patent offices because quality justifies high costs (searches, applications, renewals and so on)



  24. Patent Firms From the United States Try Hard to Push the Unitary Patent (UPC), Which Would Foment Litigation Wars in Europe

    The UPC push seems to be coming from firms which not only fail to represent public interests but are not even European



  25. In the Age of Alice and PTAB There is No Reason to Pursue Software Patents in the United States (Not Anymore)

    The appeal board in the US (PTAB) combined with a key decision of the Supreme Court may mean that even at a very low cost software patents can be invalidated upon demand (petition) and, failing that, the courts will invalidate these



  26. IAM is Wrong, the Narrative Isn't Changing, Except in the Battistelli-Funded (at EPO's Expense) Financial Times

    The desperate attempts to change the narrative in the press culminate in nothing more than yet another misleading article from Rana Foroohar and some rants from Watchtroll



  27. The Federal Circuit Continues Squashing Software Patents

    Under the leadership of Sharon Prost the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues its war on software patents, making it very hard to remember the last time it tolerated any



  28. SUEPO Representatives Like Elizabeth Hardon Vindicated as Battistelli's Detrimental Effect on Patent Quality is Widely Confirmed

    Feedback regarding the awful refusal to acknowledge patent quality crisis at the EPO as well as the appointment of a President so close to Battistelli (who most likely assures continuation of his policies)



  29. Links 17/10/2017: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Safe Browsing in Epiphany

    Links for the day



  30. Judge Bryson Rules Against Allergan After It Used Native American Tribes to Dodge Scrutiny of Patents (IPRs); Senator Hatch Does Not Understand IPRs

    Having attempted to dodge inter partes reviews (IPRs) by latching onto sovereign immunity, Allergan loses a key case and Senator Hatch is meanwhile attempting to water down IPRs albeit at the same time bemoaning patent trolls (which IPRs help neutralise)


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts