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 2/9/2014: GNU/Linux in BBC, Calls Against systemd

    Links for the day



  2. Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  3. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)



  4. Korean Press Slams Microsoft Over Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android as New Abuses Resurface

    Harsh words from the national press of South Korea as Nokia's role in Microsoft's anti-Linux tactics becomes more apparent



  5. More Good News About Patents and Their Demise in the United States

    A roundup of news about software patents and patent trolls in the land where these thrive



  6. Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  7. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  8. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  9. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  10. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  11. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  12. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  13. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  14. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  15. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  16. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  17. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  19. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  20. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  21. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  22. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  23. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  24. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  25. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  26. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  27. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  28. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  29. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  30. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus


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