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


Latest Leaks Show That Nobody Can Rely on Government/Authority for Privacy, Free Software the Real Remedy

Posted in America, Europe at 3:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Revealing one’s true face (former KGB Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Putin with Merkel)

Vladimir Putin and Merkel
Photo from the Presidential Press and Information Office

Summary: Europe is compromising the privacy of citizens (in secret, using cross-national loopholes), Canada does the same, and why we are left dependent on ourselves and on Free software is we pursue privacy

YESTERDAY’S main newspapers (here in the UK) dared to scrutinise what they called “US spying”, showing their hypocrisy as the UK is the right-man hand in all this. The UK has several NSA bases/offshoots (at least one in Yorkshire and one in Gloucestershire) which help the US spy on Europe and also spy on Americans (bypassing US law).

In Canada, Canadian citizens are suing their government [1] for colluding with the NSA or for spying on Canadian citizens (the collusion enables ECHELON-type loophole exploitation). Here in Europe, Merkel finds herself in a major scandal for selling out 80 million or so Germans [2]. Glenn Greenwald has more leaks coming [3] while the White House and US State Department turn out to have gotten involved in national security leaks [4]. There is a lot of dirty business there and it’s about big money [5].

“The UK has several NSA bases/offshoots (at least one in Yorkshire and one in Gloucestershire) which help the US spy on Europe and also spy on Americans (bypassing US law).”According to French watchdog La Quadrature du Net [6-9], Europe only pretends to care for citizens’ privacy, so it seems like we can depend on no government in the world. Governments loathe citizens’ privacy because without surveillance it is harder for a government to defend itself from citizens, who are clearly perceived as an enemy rather than a kind of client.

What we end up having to do is rely on privacy-preserving software, which is mostly Free software like Mozilla Firefox [10] and underlying platforms such as Linux [11]. Never believe that the government will protect your privacy. The only entity that can protect your privacy is yourself, and having Free software that you and others can control in true transparency is essential for guaranteeing privacy.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Canadians sue their own government over domestic spying

    American privacy advocates aren’t the only ones taking their own government to court over domestic spying programs. On Tuesday, Canadian activists announced they were suing Canada’s equivalent of the National Security Agency.

    A coalition of Internet and privacy groups represented by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Union filed suit Tuesday against the Communications Security Establishment Canada.

  2. Merkel spying claim: with allies like these, who needs enemies?

    Is the negotiating edge that secret eavesdropping gives the US worth the immense reputational damage it is now suffering?

  3. Glenn Greenwald and the Future of Leaks

    Glenn Greenwald, the lawyer-turned-journalist-turned-global headline for his reporting on leaked NSA documents, says there is about to be a revolution that will radically change how news organizations cover governments and other big institutions.

    The change, he insists, is inevitable because of the pervasiveness of digital content, which has already remade the global economy by allowing instant access to vast troves of information. “Government and businesses cannot function without enormous amounts of data, and many people have to have access to that data,” Greenwald says, adding that it only takes one person with access and an assaulted conscience to leak, no matter what controls are in place.

    Information that governments, companies, and associations would rather keep private, especially when it contradicts what they tell the public, can be quickly downloaded and spirited away, as shown by the Edward Snowden National Security Agency files and the diplomatic and military files leaked by Army Private Chelsea Manning.

  4. Emails: White House, State Department coordinated with journalist on national security leaks

    White House and State Department officials cooperated extensively on background with a New York Times journalist during the period that he broke confidential national security information in a series of leaks that prompted outrage from lawmakers, according to unearthed 2011 and 2012 emails.

  5. Who Buys the Spies? The Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State

    Democratic leaders are full-fledged players in the national surveillance state, right along with Republicans.

  6. Reclaim Control Over Your Data!

    Few days before a crucial vote on the protection of our privacy, citizens supported by La Quadrature du Net start a campaign and information website: reclaimyourdata.eu. This site clearly shows the issues of this Regulation and proposes solutions to allow citizens to reclaim control over their personal data.

  7. The European Parliament Must Protect Our Right to Privacy
  8. Data Protection Regulation: La Quadrature’s Voting Recommendations to LIBE
  9. Major Loopholes in Privacy Regulation – EU Parliament Must Stand For Citizens

    The “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) Committee has just voted its report on Data Protection, led by Jan Philipp Albrecht. Despite some improvements, major loopholes – especially on “legitimate interest” and “pseudonymous” data – and the adoption of the secrete tripartite negotiation mandate (trilogue) could make the final text totally ineffective at protecting citizens. During these forthcoming negotiations, representatives of the Parliament should secure strong safeguards for citizens fundamental right to privacy.

  10. Mozilla’s Lightbeam tool will expose who is looking over your shoulder on the web
  11. Firefox OS: What it is – and what it means for you and your union

    Back in 1993 I was asked to look into how unions were using computer networks and email.

    The result was my 1996 book on the labour movement and the internet — and after that, LabourStart.

    Twenty years on and I’ve been looking into how we in the trade union movement use the new communications tools — smartphones and tablets — and the result is a new book I’ve just co-authored with Jeremy Green, “Firefox OS for Activists“.

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


  1. salparadise said,

    October 26, 2013 at 8:43 am


    I’m a little confused.
    You publish articles like this, yet in other places advertise the release of various distros that compromise User security.
    The “newbie friendly” distros (we installed loads of proprietary muck in your OS without asking or explaining the ramifications to you) are muddying the waters, even though they appear to be helping by spreading Linux.
    On your site you recommend Blag Linux (all but defunct), yet don’t mention Trisquel, or default Debian.

    None of this is a criticism, I think the site’s great and it’s good to see someone tackling the Corporate/security agency net that we’re increasingly ensnared in.

    I was just wondering…

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I wonder about this too sometimes. Last week I redesigned the opening section of the site (using Drupal) and put the following under distributions:


    “Techrights takes the position that if a distribution contains proprietary software, then it cannot be trusted. It can contain back doors (voluntary or involuntary). Therefore, the FSF’s list of Free/libre GNU/Linux distributions is worth a look. We do not endorse any particular distribution.”

What Else is New

  1. With Software Patents in Europe (and Pushes for the Same Thing in Australia and India) Patent Trolls Now Come to Europe, Attack Android/Linux

    Worst-case scenarios are becoming a reality as Android backers officially attacked by patent trolls using standard-essential patents in London, England

  2. New Information on Limbo in the Enlarged Board, Courtesy of Illegal Actions by the EPO's Benoît Battistelli

    Battistelli's bullying of people whom he is not even allowed to bully turns out to have gone on for a lot longer than promised, and there is no sign of light at the end of this tunnel

  3. Microsoft Customers Complain About 'Inevitable' Vista 10 Because Microsoft Nearly Forces Botched 'Upgrades'

    In a desperate effort to spread Vista 10, sometimes even against people's will, Microsoft really upsets loyal customers, who are eventually eager to explore alternatives

  4. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna Explains Why the UPC (“Unitary Patent“ System) is an Undemocratic Sham Whilst UPC Silently Advanced by Patent Lawyers and Politicians

    European patent laws are being covertly overridden so as to allow broader scope of litigation, higher financial damages, speedy injunctions, and even software patents; the European public is intentionally kept in the dark about it, hence kept unable to express scepticism or issue truly effective objections

  5. IRC Proceedings: September 13th, 2015 – October 3rd, 2015

    Many IRC logs

  6. Article Explains Why SUEPO Went Silent Well Over a Week Ago: Nobody is Allowed to Talk to Journalists Without Permission From Battistelli

    More threats from Benoît Battistelli (threats of termination and legal actions on top of it) help hide the abuses of Battistelli and his fellow thugs at the EPO

  7. A Linux World: After Billions of Dollars in Losses Microsoft Changes How It Reports Financial Results

    The abusive monopolist is trying very hard to hide its growing difficulties, especially in an effort to bamboozle non-technical shareholders who cannot understand how Linux has essentially taken over

  8. Microsoft Continues to Extort Linux and Android OEMs Using Software Patents, This Time ASUS (Forced to Pre-Install Microsoft Spyware With OOXML)

    A roundup of news illustrating that Microsoft is still very much in a total war against Android, (mis)using federal regulators and even software patents to get its way

  9. Links 4/10/2015: Linux 4.2.3 , 4.1.10; MPlayer 1.2 released

    Links for the day

  10. Links 2/10/2015: Qubes 3.0, Linux.Wifatch

    Links for the day

  11. Microsoft-Connected Firm Net Applications Used to Mislead About Vista 10 Share and Mock GNU/Linux

    People who are connected to Microsoft (some being former staff) link to a firm that is connected to Microsoft in order to create the illusion that Vista 10 market share grew to 6.63%

  12. Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) and EPO Vice-President of DG3 Suspiciously on Unlimited Sick Leave After Benoît Battistelli's Unprecedented Attacks on Other EBoA Staff

    Rumours suggest that Benoît Battistelli's affairs at the EPO may have something to do with Wim Van der Eijk's longterm absence

  13. Microsoft's Secret Special Relationship With EPO Illustrates Serious Corruption at Microsoft and the EPO

    A big story about the EPO and Microsoft working in a sort of collusion-type setup so as to serve Microsoft's patent agenda, which involves aggression, even against European software that is Free (as in freedom)

  14. Links 1/10/2015: LFS 7.8, Calculate Linux 15 Released

    Links for the day

  15. The 'Microsoft Loves Linux' Baloney is Still Being Floated in the Media While Microsoft Attacks Linux With Patents, New Lawsuits Reported

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on Linux and on Android (using software patents, which it still discreetly lobbies for), some figures in the media are perpetually peddling the Microsoft-serving lie that 'Microsoft loves Linux'

  16. The Microsoft Botnet Goes Bonkers and ATMs Running Windows Spew Out Cash

    The terrible security (by design) of Microsoft Windows is causing all sorts of very serious and collectively expensive issues

  17. Black Duck Continues to Pile FUD on Free/Libre Software

    Having spent nearly a decade promoting the fear of Free software licensing, Black Duck now does the same regarding Free software security

  18. Links 30/9/2015: New Kernels, Nexus Devices

    Links for the day

  19. Links 28/9/2015: Last News Catchup Before Resumption

    Links for the day

  20. Links 25/9/2015: GNU/Linux in Indian Government, NeoKylin in China

    Links for the day

  21. Süddeutsche Zeitung Explains Imminent Federal Scrutiny Against Battistelli's EPO in Germany

    The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reveals that actions by the German government may be imminent against the EPO's cliquish management, including its ringleader Benoît Battistelli

  22. EPO Managers, Patent Lawyers, Commissioners and Other Non-Technical Personnel Tackle Democracy, Alter Laws in Bulk and in Secret

    The reckless assault on European democracies and long-established laws across Europe are now lucidly demonstrated when it comes to patents

  23. Europe's Acceptance of and Resistance to Software Patents, Courtesy of Corporate Front Groups and Courtrooms Respectively

    A snapshot of recent developments and upcoming developments in Europe, regarding software patents in particular

  24. German Press Explains EPO Investigation Unit (I.U.), Struggles to Openly Speak to the Secretive EPO

    The secretive Investigation/Investigative Unit (I.U.) of the European Patent Office (EPO) is further studied/explored by a recent article from junge Welt, an old and well-established German newspaper (since 1947)

  25. Links 24/9/2015: GNOME 3.18, Fedora 23 Beta, New Firefox

    Links for the day

  26. Translation Needed of Article About EPO Threats Against SUEPO's Elizabeth Hardon

    A call for translation of an important article that may help shed light on the modus operandi of the Investigation/Investigative Unit of the EPO, which works with Control Risks Group (CRG), the 'British Blackwater'

  27. Media Filled With Spin and Lies Amid Microsoft's Admission of Internal Usage (and Modification) of GNU/Linux

    Further analysis of Microsoft's admission that it uses Linux internally and the media's poorly-researched response to that

  28. EPO Management Justifies Censorship (Even of Journalists) Using Its Vice-President Željko Topić

    The Topić connection to EPO-imposed and universally-induced censorship not just of news sites but also sites which speak about the censorship itself, or dare question the integrity of the EPO's management

  29. Changes at Techrights

    A few short notes on how we are going to re-align the site with disruptive trends, notably patents-related

  30. EPO President Benoît Battistelli Compared to Famous Criminals on European Television

    The Belgian TV network featured a show which was making fun of Battistelli earlier this month


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


Recent Posts