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

07.24.12

TechBytes Episode 70: Richard Stallman on How Browsers and Social Networking Sites Facilitate Surveillance

Posted in TechBytes at 1:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techbytes 2012

Direct download as Ogg (0:10:19, 4.2 MB)

Summary: The second part of our interview with Richard Stallman covers social networks and Web browsers

FURTHER to this interview with Richard Stallman (about UEFI) I spoke to him about another area of technology which is less to do with software and more to do with civil rights. Here is the transcript.


Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Obviously, quite famously, the FSF has made a statement about Facebook and my question was, what is your take on Google Plus? I know you’ve stated that in your Web site very briefly. And also, are there any centralised platforms that you actually deem benign?

Richard StallmanDr. Richard Stallman: Well, the first question is, well, the FSF doesn’t talk about Facebook too much. It’s a different issue from the Free software issue. So, I’m concerned with other issues of freedom besides that of Free versus proprietary software. So, I disapprove of Facebook because it collects a lot of personal information and I don’t think it’s good for anything to do that.

“I urge you not to use such communication systems which demand to know who you really are.”When I give a speech, at the beginning I ask people, “please don’t put a photos of me in Facebook.” And now I explain why. When you put a photo with people in it in Facebook, Facebooks asks people — asks users — to enter the names of those people. In other words, that photo gives Facebook an opportunity to do ad surveillance of those people. Those [can't make out the word] the victim of having a photo put in Facebook. So, I would suggest that if you are friends with somebody that you treat that someone well by not putting photos of that person in Faceebook. And and in any case, I ask people not to put photos of me in Facebook. Now, there are many other bad things Facebook does. See stallman.org/facebook.html for a list of quite a few.

But what about Google Plus? Well, from what I know, which is not everything, Google Plus does some of these bad things but not all. One bad thing that they both do is require people to give their real names. Now, Google Plus says that in some cases we’re wiling to publish a pseudonym but they demand to know the person’s real name. Well, I think that’s enough reason not to use it. I urge you not to use such communication systems which demand to know who you really are. Because if they do that, they’re basically one more eye of Big Brother.

[...]

I don’t go around trying to keep track of these things. Twitter might be okay. You got to be careful how you use it. First of all, it is possible to use Twitter without running non-Free software. It wasn’t easy to make an account, but apparently it could be done through their mobile version of the site. The problem was, the regular Twitter site tries to make you run non-Free JavaScript programs. And you will notice that if you have installed the LibreJS extension of Firefox, that’s a GNU package whose purpose is to enable you to avoid running non-Free JavaScript programs and also to make it easy to complain to the Webmasters about the non-Free JavaScript programs. But it is possible to work around that, as actually sending and viewing tweets, it’s not so hard to avoid using non-Free software. So, and Twitter doesn’t require people to give their real names and if you make an effort you can avoid sending in your geographical location or anything like that, which of course is a really dumb thing to do as certain protesters, dissidents in the US have discovered. So, maybe that’s enough to make it okay. Now, Twitter the company, is doing something else that’s bad — something that Facebook (and I think Twitter is doing this, I know Facebook and Google do it) and this is the “Like” button. In Facebook’s case it’s called the “Like” button. And you find this in lots of pages, where if you visit one of those pages that means Facebook is getting information about your browsing even if you’re not a Facebook user. And Google has “1+” button and they do the same thing. And I think Twitter also has such kind of button that you would find in various pages. We are going to release a browser modified to block all those.

I think in practice one of the issues is many of the browsers these days have actually got some surveillance built in and one of the usual excuses these days is security, so they try to prevent phishing scams and things like such that are absolute; I think since Internet Explorer version 7 and Google Chrome and other browsers by default they will track the users and leave a trail, or at least provide the corporate maker of the browser, with a list with pages you visit, so the other releases…

“…Google can forcibly impose software changes and the user can’t say no.”Those are non-Free programs. Internet Explorer is non-Free and Google Chrome is non-Free. Not only that, Google Chrome has a universal back door, which is another way of saying auto-update; basically it means that Google can forcibly impose software changes and the user can’t say no. This is the same thing that Microsoft has in Windows, so Microsoft can also impose software changes. Any malicious feature that’s not in the program today could be remotely installed tomorrow. So, once a program has a universal back door, you must consider it not merely malware but universal malware.


More insights from Stallman are to be published in the coming days.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):

Keywords: Facebook Google MSIE Chrome GNU FSF

Download:

Ogg Theora

Past shows in this series:

Show overview Show title
Episode 66: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 66: First of the Second Series
Episode 67: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 67: Nokia Down, Android Up
Episode 68: Roy TechBytes Episode 68: Solo With Patents, Apple Bans, and Android World Domination
Episode 69: Roy and Richard Stallman TechBytes Episode 69: Richard Stallman on Restricted Boot (UEFI), Coreboot, GRUB, and Boot Freedom
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 31/7/2014: Zorin OS Educational 9, Android Nearing 90% Share

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft-Linked Codenomicon and Bluebox in the Business of Smearing FOSS/Linux/Android

    odenomicon and Bluebox, two companies with strong Microsoft links, fill the media with negative articles about Android



  3. Is Microsoft Being Raided Not Just for Anti-Competitive Reasons but for Bribes and Back Doors?

    News about raids in Microsoft China mostly lacking when it comes to background, context, and information about Microsoft's crimes in China



  4. Former Microsoft Engineer Working on Windows BitLocker Confirms Government Asks Microsoft for Back Doors

    Recalling the times when even Microsoft staff spoke about secret government collaborations and back doors



  5. Ruling Against 'Abstract' Software Patents is Already Derailing Patent Attacks on Linux and Free Software

    Patent litigation against Android/Linux impeded by the introduction of arguments that cite the Supreme Court



  6. Links 30/7/2014: Chris Beard as CEO of Mozilla

    Links for the day



  7. New Optimism in the Age of Doubt Over Software Patents

    As the tide turns against software patents, even in their country of origin, their opponents come out of the woodwork to celebrate



  8. Links 28/7/2014: New Linux RC, Plasma 5 Live in Kubuntu

    Links for the day



  9. Links 27/7/2014: KDE 4.14 Beta 3, KDE 4.14 Beta 3 Released

    Links for the day



  10. Apple and Microsoft Are Proprietary Software Companies and the Media Should Stop Openwashing Them

    New examples where proprietary software giants are characterised as FOSS-embracing and FOSS-friendly by gullible or dishonest 'journalists'



  11. Bloomberg's Microsoft Propaganda

    Bloomberg delivers 'damage control' and PR ahead of the layoffs announcement; Microsoft uses Nokia to hide it and Bloomberg helps Microsoft by radically modifying headlines



  12. Frequency of Browser Back Doors in Microsoft Windows is Doubling

    The vulnerabilities which Microsoft tells the NSA about (before these are patched) are significantly growing in terms of their numbers



  13. FUD Entities Entering the FOSS World

    Symantec enters the AllSeen Alliance and Sonatype is once again trying to claim great insecurity in FOSS due to software licensing



  14. Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?

    Renewed activity in FOSS-leaning legal site Groklaw amid numerous victories for FOSS



  15. Links 26/7/2014: New Wine, Chromebooks Strong Sales

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/7/2014: GOG With GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day



  17. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  18. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  19. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  20. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  21. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  22. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  23. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  24. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  25. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  26. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  27. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  28. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  30. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert


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