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08.27.11

US State Department Attacks Free Software on Microsoft’s Behalf (Updated)

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Secretary of State

Summary: In Thailand as well as other parts of Asia, the American politicians help Microsoft battle against the adoption of Free/libre software that offers benefits to Asian nations

SEVERAL months ago we showed that the US State Department was helping Microsoft attack GNU/Linux and Free software adoption in Vietnam. This is part of Microsoft’s influence in Asia through diplomatic affairs. It’s a corruption of the system. Previously we wrote about what Microsoft had done in Thailand under the following posts:

As a quick reminder, Bill Gates is very close to the Clintons. He even absorbs some of their staff (e.g. to write his speeches) and according to this leaked cable from the Wikileaks Web site, “State Dept brings US IT companies to Thailand to criticize OpenSource…”

Quoting the relevant parts:

——————————————— ————–
IPR: Concern Over Open Source Software and Data Protection
——————————————— ————–

¶9. (SBU) Microsoft-Thailand’s Corporate Affairs Director identified software copyrights as a big issue. On the one hand, he praised the Thai government (RTG) for strengthening its IPR enforcement and education efforts, and said Microsoft was “very pleased” that Thailand’s software piracy rate has decreased by two percent a year since 2006. On the other hand, he expressed concern over the RTG’s Creative Economy policy of promoting the “open source” software model over the “commercial source” model as a means to curb piracy. (Note: this is an issue for IT

CHIANG MAI 00000018 003.2 OF 003

companies worldwide, and not unique to Thailand).

¶10. (SBU) The Business Software Alliance (BSA) Director for Software Policy-Asia also urged the RTG not to favor open source over commercial source. He argued that (1) the open source model has been shown to have an insignificant impact on reducing software piracy; and (2) by focusing on an open source policy, the RTG signals the market to stunt the development of commercial source software, which in turn undermines Thailand’s ability to fully service market needs.

¶11. (SBU) The BSA rep also emphasized the importance of having a strong data protection regime that is aligned with the international regime. He said Thailand’s current low global ranking in legal/regulatory environment is a disincentive to foreign investors. Passage of a date protection law would improve the country’s standing. While recent efforts to introduce such a bill in Parliament are encouraging, the current draft needs improvement. The BSA rep recommended the RTG participate in APEC’s data privacy working group in order to learn more about international best practices and develop its draft legislation accordingly – a path the Philippines recently followed with good results.

We also uncovered what they had done in the Philippines (in the links above), but more recently we saw even worse things [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Update: After writing this post we looked for some more examples based on leaks from the past week. There’s a whole load of them. To quote some dents I made:

[12:27] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Klyuchnikov briefed on Microsoft’s and BSA’s ongoing IPR outreach campaign in the regions” http://ur1.ca/4z3pa #bsa #ukraine #lobbying

[12:29] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] In #spain – Microsoft’s own propaganda (own ‘studies’) cited to exaggerate the ‘threat’ of ‘piracy’ http://ur1.ca/4z3pe politicians misled.

[12:29] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] In #egypt too – #Microsoft coopts the government for protection http://ur1.ca/4z3pk

[12:31] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Microsoft estimated that the GOE conducts 150 raids a month against software pirates.” http://ur1.ca/4z3pm attacking own users in #egypt

[12:31] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Microsoft Egypt described its relations with Egyptian enforcement authorities as “fruitful and long-term”” http://ur1.ca/4z3px

[12:36] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Microsoft was hoping to reengage with the government soon.” http://ur1.ca/4z3qd #ukraine

[12:37] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Microsoft has noted improved cooperation with the GOT” (Government of #tunis ) http://ur1.ca/4z3r2

[12:41] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “representatives form the U.S. Embassy, Microsoft.. organized Trainings of Trainers on Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential” http://ur1.ca/4z3r6

[12:42] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] Who needs marketers and lobbyists when taxpayers fund them? #microsoft #statedept

[12:44] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] It’s great, isn’t it? US taxpayers are forced to give portion of their wage to people who go around the world lobbying for Microsoft profit.

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