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11.03.13

The Free Software World Helps People Acquire/Regain Privacy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 2:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DarkMail Alliance

Summary: The “DarkMail Alliance” is announced and other options emerge as freedom- and privacy-respecting means of electronic communication

WITH the exception of some projects like Ubuntu, Free software tends to respect users’ privacy and if it doesn’t, then those users can modify the software to remove privacy-violating code (as some Ubuntu derivatives typically do). The NSA scandal received some special coverage in LinuxCon Europe [1] because it is very relevant to GNU/Linux users. There were attempts to put back doors in Linux.

The founder of the FSFE, who moved on to Kolab some years ago, is now using Switzerland’s unique privacy policies to offer users privacy-respecting and freedom-respecting E-mail [2]. He is not alone. There are several companies, including one of the PGP founder (original developer), which now use the demand for privacy-respecting E-mail to create secure alternatives [3,4] (“DarkMail Alliance”). A month from now in Manchester we’ll also have a CryptoParty with the FSFE, helping people configure their machines for improved privacy. My wife and I will be there for help.

The bottom line is, in this age of Microsoft collusion with the NSA we have some very strong arguments with which to persuade people to embrace Free/libre software. It is about human dignity, not just the ability to modify source code, dodge abusive monopolies, and of course save money. My wife, for example, happily uses KDE and Android, knowing that GNU/Linux is now only technically superior to the alternatives but also more respectful towards her human rights. Techrights was recently designed with emphasis on privacy and the next few posts will deal with privacy alone.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. “The Code Warrior” Confirmed to Discuss NSA and PRISM at LinuxCon Europe

    Today he is Chief Research Officer at F-Secure in Finland and a just-confirmed keynote speaker for LinuxCon/CloudOpen Europe taking place October 21-23, 2013 in Edinburgh. Hypponen will be talking about the biggest computer security story of the year, that of the NSA and PRISM, in a talk titled “Living in a Surveillance State.” He is also expected to talk about the role the Linux community can play in ensuring the security and privacy of the Internet and mobile devices.

  2. Kolab creates a privacy refugee camp in Switzerland
  3. Silent Circle and Lavabit launch “DarkMail Alliance” to thwart e-mail spying

    Silent Circle CTO: “What we’re getting rid of is SMTP.”

  4. Silent Circle, Lavabit unite for ‘Dark Mail’ encrypted email project

    Dark Mail will provide end-to-end encryption, including email metadata

  5. Manchester CryptoParty with FSFE

    Edward Snowden revelations of mass spying programmes such as PRISM and Tempora show that something needs to be done to protect our private online activities from the prying eyes of GCHQ and the NSA. There’s currently a great deal of interest surrounding these issues and as a result people are seeking to find tools which will help them protect and secure their email, instant messages and web browsing.

    This can be done, to an extent, through the use of encryption technology, so on 7th December, we’ll be teaming up with Free Software Foundation Europe to organise a Cryptoparty in Manchester.

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