NSA thanks you for installing the blob
Summary: Criticism of promotion of Skype for GNU/Linux, which basically compromises the whole platform and plants a bug (as in listening device with a camera) inside people’s Free/libre systems
FOR A number of days now we have been systematically ignoring (not overlooking) several reports about a nasty piece of software. Many FOSS sites cover Skype because another malicious blob has been just made available for GNU/Linux, requiring
root to install and offering no source code at all. It is bad idea to install this blob because we already know that Skype is used extensively for surveillance (this fact is well established), more now than ever before as it was snatched by the NSA’s PRISM #1 company, Microsoft. Yes, here we have the company which famously reads people’s E-mails and uses people’s personal data against them, putting some in prison and deporting them. Why would anyone wish to take the risk of using Skype when good software such as Linphone and Jitsi exists and is freely available for GNU/Linux, Android, among many other free/libre platforms, sporting real encryption (Skype has no end-to-end encryption, based on revelations from last year)?
Microsoft is a huge liar when it comes to privacy and ITWire is one among several publications that we saw recently giving Microsoft’s lies a platform. Microsoft claims it will not use your personal data against you (it does not say “won’t spy”) but we already know this to be a lie, based on the Kibkalo case.
Microsoft is not the only company which lies about privacy. VMware too spouts out nonsense (many Microsoft executives moved there, so the lies travel), hoping that people forget about RSA-NSA collusion (VMware is RSA’s sister because both are owned by EMC). There is a back door there, just as there is a back door in Hyper-V hosts (it only runs on Windows, hence there’s a back door that leads downwards to guest VMs).
Generally speaking, any piece of proprietary software is quite likely a back door, if not by accident then by design (unlike Free software one would struggle to prove either, but leaks wre help). People who brag about using a Free/libre and secure platform completely compromise it when they install the blob called “Skype”. Convenience may be tempting, but it’s a trap. British intelligence agencies alone have grabbed footage from many people’s webcam, harvesting videos and photographs (many of which sexual) from millions of people while the NSA used harvested photos to covertly construct biometric models of law-abiding Americans. Just because you do nothing illegal doesn’t mean you are not under surveillance. Espionage champions like to collect potential ‘dirt’ against everyone (they derive power through blackmail) and British intelligence, for example, already intercepted and saved footage of hundreds of thousands of people masturbating. █