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

06.19.13

British and German Governments Under Siege by Lobbyists of Microsoft and Its Local Partners, Free Software Policy Dumped in Favour of Backdoors-Enabled Binaries

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Merkel and Cameron
Photo from AFP

Summary: Following lobbying and perhaps intimidation or bribery, Microsoft binaries with privileged access to them (ripe for cracking by the malpractising NSA/CIA) are being put ahead of Free/libre software, despite the latter being recently mandated

Brits are unknowingly passing taxpayers’ money to Microsoft as part of lucrative deals where ~$10,000 get spent per Windows desktop per year. This has got to stop. It is part of the systemic corruption which might also involve bribery, just as we predicted in light of revelations in China. Microsoft hits the jackpot when it manages to grab taxpayers’ money, signing agreements to which the signer has no personal responsibilities or incentives to save (it is public money, not private). It is likely that Microsoft bribes the UK like it does in China, but soft bribery is harder to identify and prove. Microsoft is being taken to court over it, more recently in Portgual but not in the UK (the OOXML corruptions, including bribery, did lead to British court action, though it didn’t get very far due to lack of funds).

I may as well add a disclosure and say that my employer has some clients in the British government, so I know a little more than I can publicly say. A lot of it is down to politics rather than technical arguments,

In any event, the news from the UK says that, as we expected, Microsoft lobbying managed to kill logical policy:

The government has quietly backtracked from its publicly declared preference for using open source over proprietary software.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) published its Service Design Manual in March, laying down mandatory standards for developing all new digital public services. The document stated: “Use open source software in preference to proprietary or closed source alternatives, in particular for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages.”

[...]

Open source supporters blame the lobbying influence of the big proprietary software companies for the changes.

Mark Taylor, CEO of open source supplier Sirius, said: “It’s gone beyond lobbying and has moved into threatening.”

[...]

“What you are seeing here is proprietary vendors playing with this issue to attempt to retain dominance and control over an extremely financially lucrative market,” said Taylor.

They now use a meaningless term instead of “open source” (which itself is not good as it does not emphasise autonomy and freedom). To quote again:

The UK Government has muted a preference for open source in the UK’s “Government Service Design Manual”, published in March 2013. The changes were quietly made to the manual and removed a statement that open source was a preferential choice for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages, replacing it with a new section: “Level playing field”.

Assuming that self-hosted FOSS (server-client) is better than proprietary, here is another route they fail to follow:

The Government Digital Service (GDS), the new home of G-Cloud, claims it contributed £500m worth of government savings in the past year.

The Efficiency and Reform Group – the part of the Cabinet Office which includes the GDS – claims to have saved £10bn between 2012 and 2013 thanks to a range of measures including the sale of empty buildings and Civil Service reform.

Of that figure, which the government claims is equal to three million primary school places and 260,000 nurses, half a billion pounds (five per cent) came from the GDS.

This is similar to what happens in Berlin, Germany. As one writer put it, FOSS proposals get “binned” for no good reason.

A proposal by the Greens in the parliament of the German State of Berlin, to switch to using open source for the senate’s IT systems, was rejected this Monday. The state government coalition parties, the Social Democratic Party and Christian Democratic Union, instead accepted guidelines to base the senate desktop systems on open standards.

Mr. Pogson says “FUD Delays Migration To FLOSS in German State of Berlin” and this coincides with this important news which should serve as an alarm;

In an op-ed in Spiegel Online German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger characterised PRISM as “dangerous”.

NSA is made aware of Windows back doors that can be exploited in Germany for industrial or political espionage and Dr. Glyn Moody stresses that nobody should ever trust Microsoft again because “the first things that Microsoft does is to send information about those vulnerabilities to “multiple agencies” – presumably that includes the NSA and CIA. Moreover, we also know that “this type of early alert allowed the U.S. to exploit vulnerabilities in software sold to foreign governments”.” The FSFE’s coordinator in Germany called this analysis “Must Read” some minutes ago. He is right. Last week Dr. Moody wrote an article in TechDirt about how PRISM/ECHELON got used for espionage, alluding specifically to Germany.

All citizens outside the US should urge their government to abandon Microsoft in the name off national security. As a German citizen residing in the UK, I found the above news rather disturbing, especially because it comes in the midst of so much worldwide controversy over foreign surveillance, back doors, and so on. There is a lot more at stake than convenience or those infamous vendors-officials relationships. Since the words “treason” and “traitor” get thrown around far too much these days, perhaps it’s time to label “treason” or “traitor” those who are ushering in Microsoft into governments’ IT systems.

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. When Battistelli's Defender, Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten, Attacked Europeans' Right to Demonstrate

    The now disgraced (having just resigned) Ivo Opstelten played a role in helping Benoît Battistelli crush his staff



  2. Microsoft is Growing Desperate Trying to Destroy Linux While Not Publicly Appearing Anti-Linux

    Microsoft continues to be a destructive company whose goal is to derail Linux and Android by means of infiltration and subversion, shrewdly disguised as being "nice"



  3. Links 1/4/2015: $149 Chromebook, Cinnamon 2.4.7

    Links for the day



  4. Links 31/3/2015: New BlackArch Linux, Mozilla Firefox 37.0

    Links for the day



  5. Links 30/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC6, OpenELEC 5.0.7

    Links for the day



  6. Techrights Cited by European Politicians in Support of EPO Staff's Causes

    Benoît Battistelli's right-hand man is characterised as suspected of corruption in European Parliament questions



  7. When the EPO Came Under Fire From the Netherlands and Before Systemic Corruption Was Revealed

    Questions that targeted the Dutch Minister of Justice amidst EPO abuses against staff and a shameful failure to enforce a court's decision



  8. Links 29/3/2015: Red Hat's Stock Soars, Kodi 14.2 Released

    Links for the day



  9. Speculations That Microsoft is About to Buy Cyanogen (or at Least Officially Partner) to Attack Google's Android/Linux, Replacing Everything With Microsoft

    Articles in the corporate media and some analysis from smaller media sites serve to highlight the role which Microsoft plays in Cyanogen



  10. Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB FOSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft Keeps Pretending to be 'Open Source', Despite Relentless Assaults on Open Source

    Microsoft's charm offensives against Free/libre software are proving to be rather effective, despite them involving a gross distortion of facts and exploitation of corruptible elements in the corporate media



  12. Željko Topić and Ivan Šimonović, Two Residues of Ivo Sanader's Corrupt Regime, Seen as Indirectly Connected

    Further exploration of the remnants of Sanader's highly notorious record and those whom he had brought to power before he landed in jail



  13. Links 27/3/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 Second Beta, Dart 1.9

    Links for the day



  14. The EPO's Dutch Scandal Leaves Battistelli and His Cronies on the Run

    EPO management is making concessions and issues statements which admit defeat, allowing the staff union to continue its activities



  15. Microsoft Won't Let People Wipe (Off) Windows But Happily Wipes Android, Wipes Android Apps Through Cyanogen and Blackmailed 'Partners'

    Microsoft's obscene double-standards leave Android and Linux between a rock and a hard place



  16. Links 26/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  17. Links 25/3/2015: India Moving to Free Software

    Links for the day



  18. Another Reason to Boycott UEFI: Back Doors or Crackers

    UEFI makes computers more prone to infections, according to some security experts



  19. The EPO's Administrative Council is Under Increased Pressure to Rein in and to Finally Stop Benoît Battistelli

    The EPO's Administrative Council (AC) is about to have a meeting, so the Member States' delegations are urged to call for action



  20. IRC Proceedings: February 22nd - March 21st, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  21. The Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

    Microsoft is still hiding behind the façade of 'love' whilst actively attacking GNU/Linux and Free software from many directions



  22. Attempts to Disrupt Android by Pushing Microsoft Software Into It (Using Patent Blackmail and Cyanogen)

    Microsoft's Android coup d'état is succeeding owing to public apathy and poor comprehension of what Microsoft really is up to, partly due to media misdirection



  23. Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

    Links for the day



  24. Concerns Over Željko Topić's Alleged Powerful Links in Croatian Diplomacy

    Rikard Frgačić explains the powerful connections acquired though Ivan Šimonović, who is himself connected to EPO Vice-President Željko Topić



  25. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Fire From Prominent Figures Who Are Key EPO Stakeholders, Expect Battistelli to Resign 'in the Longer Term'

    The ‘reign of terror’ which is primarily attributed to Battistelli and his cronies may be about to end; the Luxembourg parliament approves the Unified Patent Court



  26. Benoît Battistelli's EPO is Under Attack From French Politicians Yet Again

    More EPO interventions -- this time from France -- target Benoît Battistelli over his abuses and take it up to Eurocrats for political actions



  27. Bribes and Extortion Help Turn Android (Linux-powered) Into 'Microsoft Android'

    A strategy involving harassment and bribes drives large Android players into Microsoft's arms (PRISM and lock-in), much to Google's (and users') detriment and beyond regulators' range of visibility



  28. Microsoft-connected Black Duck Software Created by Microsoft Marketing Man as an Anti-GPL Operation, Admits the Management

    Black Duck "was founded [on] the idea ... to keep GPL-licensed code out of corporate codebases entirely," according to a new report



  29. Links 23/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC5, Kubuntu Celebrates Ten Years

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft Admits Lying (or Deceiving) About the Cost of Vista 10

    After much hype in the press about Windows being 'free' it turns out that Microsoft just lied yet again, leaving that lingering perception that Windows is as inexpensive as GNU/Linux


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