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

07.26.12

TechBytes Episode 71: Richard Stallman on Surveillance, the NSA, and Mobile Phones

Posted in TechBytes at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techbytes 2012

Direct download as Ogg (8:51, 3.5 MB)

Summary: The third part of our interviews series with Richard Stallman covers privacy in communication

In this third part we turn our attention to more political issues. I spoke to Richard Stallman about matters of privacy as he has in-depth knowledge of the facts. Here is the transcript.


Dr. Roy Schestowitz: My next question is more about surveillance because I don’t want it to be strictly about software because I know you do have the digital freedom in general and I want you to ask you about advice for trying to avert surveillance in this age where, based on the whistleblowers, we know the NSA is in fact recording vast amounts of information and data about people and also recording all the E-mails. What is your suggestion to people who try to avoid all of that?

Richard StallmanDr. Richard Stallman: Well, I think it’s our duty to avoid that. It’s every citizen’s duty to stick a finger in Big Brother’s eye. Now, the NSA would like us to believe that it’s doing the surveillance to protect us Americans from the terrorism, but the US regularly accuses dissidents of being terrorists. So whenever a government says it’s fighting “terrorists” read “dissidents”. And when you look at where the danger around the world comes from, to a large extent it comes from the US. The US was behind — or carried out — a war of aggression in Iraq, a war of conquest and then an occupation; as a result hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed. The usual figure is definitely an underestimate.

“…you gotta ask, who does the world need protecting from?”And so, really you gotta ask, who does the world need protecting from? And this is not — not to count — countries which are dictatorships that are propped up by the US, which carry out the worst kinds of atrocities but they are useful allies to the US, so the US protects them, such as Ethiopia and now Honduras. Honduras had a military coup which might have been organised by the US, but in any case it has certainly been given full support by the US since.

“…I think that it’s perfectly appropriate to do things like using Tor — and using encryption — to interfere with the NSA’a ability find out what you’re doing.”So, I just don’t think of that argument as valid at all. I don’t think that the NSA is on the side of the good people in the world. And so I think that it’s perfectly appropriate to do things like using Tor — and using encryption — to interfere with the NSA’a ability find out what you’re doing.

And I want to also ask you, what’s your advice about the use of mobile phones especially now that we know, at least based on Sprint, that the carriers, at least in the United States and we know here in the UK as well, are in fact collecting data on location of people, the people they phone, perhaps the address books as well. What would you say to people?

I don’t have mobile phone.

I know.

“This has been used to remotely convert phones into listening devices, and when that is done the phone picks up and transmits all the conversations in the vicinity whether you’re making a call or not and transmits it to someone and just pushing the button to switch it off does not necessarily really do that.”And why… it’s because mobile phones are Stalin’s dream. They are surveillance and tracking devices. They are always sending the location frequently (I think even if you don’t make a call), so your whole life is being tracked and of course if you do make a call, the system knows who you call. And not only that, most mobile phones have a universal back door, meaning that the phone company — or someone else — can forcibly install software changes without asking your permission. This has been used to remotely convert phones into listening devices, and when that is done the phone picks up and transmits all the conversations in the vicinity whether you’re making a call or not and transmits it to someone and just pushing the button to switch it off does not necessarily really do that. So I consider this outrageous and I won’t have one. If I’m travelling around somewhere and I need to make a call I ask somebody nearby to let me make a call. That way, Big Brother doesn’t get information about me.


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: NSA privacy fsf gnu spying

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
Episode 70: Roy and Richard Stallman TechBytes Episode 70: Richard Stallman on How Browsers and Social Networking Sites Facilitate 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. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  2. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  3. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  4. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  5. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  6. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  7. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  8. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  9. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  10. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  11. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  12. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  13. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  14. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  15. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  16. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  17. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  18. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  19. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  20. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  21. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  22. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  23. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  24. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  25. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  26. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers



  27. PATENT Act No Longer in the News... and That's Just Fine

    Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents



  28. The Latest Lies From Microsoft's PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

    Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)



  29. Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft's Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software 'Trolls'

    Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him



  30. The Council of Europe Slams the EPO as Political Pressure Grows for EPO Management to Obey the Law

    Battistelli et al. come under yet more fire as politicians -- many of whom from Battistelli's home country -- become better informed of the EPO's management fiasco, abuses, and scandals


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