08.01.13

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Microsoft is Trying to Occupy South Africa’s Computing Infrastructure in Schools

Posted in Africa, Microsoft at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Summary: The next generation of people in the former British colony can end up colonised by Microsoft with its proprietary, NSA-ready software

Not too long ago Microsoft was seen interfering with GNU/Linux in Africa and now we see that again. Last month in Oxford I spent an hour talking to someone from South Africa and he explained to me what Microsoft was doing there. He was a Free software proponent, so he was passionate about this. He explained how gentle Microsoft bribes got Microsoft into schools in there, derailing Free software and ODF plans.

iophk told us that Microsoft is “afraid of FOSS in African schools” based on this new article which says:

Microsoft is expanding the push for so-called “white spaces” broadband to South Africa, where it will help to deploy the technology in a pilot project serving five primary and secondary schools.

The pilot project is aimed at getting schools in rural parts of the country’s northeastern Limpopo province connected to the Internet. If successful, it could give South Africa a tool that would help the country reach its goal of affordable broadband for 80% of the population by 2020.

[...]

In the South African project, Microsoft will work with the University of Limpopo, government agencies and a local network builder called Multisource. The project will set up a central white-spaces radio at the university and one at each of the five schools.

This is a backdoor plan to occupy the server and desktop side, too. Schools should be made aware that students will be spied on by the United States unless they choose freedom-respecting software. With memories of apartheid they should be able to grok freedom.

“Schools should be made aware that students will be spied on by the United States unless they choose freedom-respecting software. With memories of apartheid they should be able to grok freedom.”The problem is not just Microsoft but proprietary software, especially from the United States. The NSA must already know about a lot of back doors in US-made products because it’s eavesdropping on everyone’s E-mails — HP’s and IBM’s included — and then uses legal threats against companies until/unlesss they comply with US law and obey orders of excessive surveillance. It’s not just the PATRIOT Act.

We see a lot of it in NSA-Microsoft collusion and LeftHand back doors leave room for concern in hardware appliance (it's not just LeftHand). HP admits having back doors in storage servers by stating: “All HP StoreVirtual Storage systems are equipped with a mechanism that allows HP support to access the underlying operating system if permission and access is provided by the customer. This functionality cannot be disabled today.”

Here is more in this admission:

Hewlett-Packard has agreed that there is an undocumented administrative account in its StoreVirtual products, and is promising a patch by 17 July.

The issue, which seems to have existed since 2009, was brought to the attention of The Register by Technion, the blogger who earlier published an undocumented backdoor in the company’s StoreOnce products.

Proprietary software is malicious and dangerous. South Africa oughtn’t touch it, and especially not impose it on children. This software comes from a country that labelled Mandela “terrorists” until 2008 and provided information to aid his arrest decades ago.

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