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07.13.14

Cronyism at Play: European Hostility Towards Free/Libre Software Despite Espionage and Moles

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 8:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Europe continues to be held hostage with back doors, lock-in, and massive payments to foreign powers, despite evidence that these powers are destructive and hostile

EUROPE has an odd relationship with foreign powers in north America or with corporations that are based there and subsidise the politicians. Rather than seek autonomy, there seems to be a collusion which, among some things, leads to back doors in computer systems in France, Britain, and Ireland (to name just a few examples from western Europe). These back doors are controlled by and made accessible to the United States. This is an absurd situation which we wrote about several times in past years. There is no real sovereignty, not in the digital sense anyway. Only Free software with local companies to maintain and support it can ever guarantee self determination, which is why Europe should really have moved to Free software (entirely) a long time ago.

According to this article, the proprietary software lobby is trying to pressure Cabinet Office to get off its current course, which includes promotion of standards such as ODF. Cabinet Office has been the target of lobbying, usually behind the scenes. Here is Maude’s response to this lobby:

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has hit back at claims that Cabinet Office policy was responsible for recent IT problems at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) and Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

Now watch what Maxwell says: “Government CTO Liam Maxwell agreed that poor procurement practices were at the root of the problems in BIS and DECC.

“Speaking to ComputerworldUK, Maxwell said: “The procurement was not done properly.”

Misplaced accusations are being used to discredit Cabinet Office, insinuating bad conduct. Shame tactics are turning technical considerations into politics.

Dr. Moody, who is still waiting for Cabinet Office to obey his FOIA request about the lobbying, argued the other day that the EU has an “Anti-Open Source Approach to Procurement”. This might actually go further up (higher level). The FSFE says that “The European Commission has recently renewed its commitment to a proprietary desktop and secret file formats. The Commission is refusing to get serious about breaking free from vendor lock-in, and is ignoring all available alternatives. In doing so, the EU’s civil service fails to practice what it preaches.”

Or as Moody put it:

In recent posts, I’ve looked at the increasing use of open source software by governments in countries as diverse as China, Russia, India and Germany. Here I want to contrast those moves with the continuing failure of the European Commission to embrace free software – with huge costs for European citizens as a result, to say nothing of lost sovereignty.

Now that Germany finds moles inside its government departments [1-47] (some sources say there might be a dozen) it is probably time for Europe to actually foster an industry based around Free software. China is close to banning Apple (not just Microsoft) products [48-62] and is now blocking parts of Facebook [63] as part of its extensive censorship policy [64], citing national security-related reasons.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. US agent arrest reveals gap between Obama and secret service

    The arrest of at least one American agent infiltrated the secret services in Germany, one of the closest allies of the United States, hinders the relationship between the two countries and reveals ignorance, by President Barack Obama, the actions of their own spies.

  2. CIA Officer Expelled From Germany Is Not The First
  3. U.S. Out of Germany
  4. Alleged CIA Spy in German May Have Worked for Russia All Along
  5. The Moscow Times: Alleged CIA spy in German may have worked for Russia all along
  6. Germany kicks out top US spy over espionage claims
  7. Obama and the CIA—who runs Washington?
  8. Opinion: Wake up, Washington
  9. ‘The Americans have humiliated us again’

    Germany’s expulsion of the CIA station chief in Berlin in a spy row with the United States has found widespread support in the country.

  10. Germany Calls For ‘Honest Foundation’ In Relations With U.S.
  11. NSA Spying on Germany
  12. Op-Ed: U.S. German spy scandal — less obvious problems for NSA
  13. What’s a Little Espionage Among ‘Friends’?
  14. Germany Confronts US On Spying, Demands Answers
  15. Obama Fails to Reach Out to Merkel Over CIA Expulsion
  16. US committed ‘grave political error’ with spying
  17. When the CIA keeps the president in the dark

    When President Obama spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about Ukraine last week, there could have been an awkward moment prompted by the arrest the day before of a double agent allegedly working secretly for the CIA within German intelligence. At least there likely would have been, had Obama known about the arrest or the undercover spy to begin with.

  18. Germany’s Merkel reiterates U.S. spying unacceptable

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that Germany and the U.S. had different ideas on intelligence and that Germany will be “persistent” in delivering the message that U.S. espionage against a close ally is unacceptable. Her comments, in an interview with public broadcaster ZDF to be aired Sunday, came two days after Germany told the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country amid a German investigation of two government employees suspected of spying for the U.S.

  19. We are not in Cold War any more, says Merkel as spy row grows
  20. US double standards exposed in Berlin spy row

    A few years before he died in 2006, the former East German spy chief Markus Wolf, known as “the man without a face”, told me about the qualities he looked for in the agents his spies recruited in the West. Status was a poor indicator of effectiveness, he said, and secretaries and doormen were among the most valuable recruits. Political ideology was the best reason for passing secrets to another country but money and vengeance were good motivators too.

  21. Germany may have to tolerate NSA spying, says key Merkel aide
  22. John Kerry Lands in Vienna to Iron Out ‘Deep Differences’ in Iran Nuclear Talks

    On the sidelines of the talks, Kerry will also meet his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier to discuss recent spying allegations.

    Berlin has recently asked the CIA station chief to leave the country over snooping charges.

  23. Kerry arrives in Vienna for Iran nuclear talks
  24. Germany checking for more CIA moles in its intelligence agency
  25. More than a dozen US spies infiltrate German ministries, says Bild

    The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has recruited more than a dozen spies in several German government ministries, according to the Bild am Sonntag tabloid paper.

  26. Expulsion of top spy a ‘wake-up call’ for US
  27. German spies clamor for counter-espionage funding

    The discovery of US spies in Germany’s intelligence service and Defense Ministry has sparked outrage. Now German spies are calling for a boost in funds and staff directed toward counterintelligence.

  28. Merkel angrily blasts U.S. over new spying allegations

    Angela Merkel made her feelings toward Washington clear in an interview on German broadcaster ZDF today, reports Reuters.

    “We are not living in the Cold War anymore,” Merkel said. “We should concentrate on what is essential.”

    Germany’s government told Berlin’s CIA station chief to leave the country on Thursday, in the wake of new allegations of U.S. spying in the country. Of two suspected spies discovered by German officials, one reportedly worked for German foreign intelligence, while the other operated within the country’s defense ministry.

  29. Expulsion of US spy chief was inevitable
  30. Germany says expulsion of US spy chief was inevitable
  31. German spy agency searches for more moles after US breach

    BND president orders analysis of agency’s communications for irregularities, and foreign minister to meet John Kerry

  32. Serving two spymasters
  33. Germany plans to overhaul partnership with US
  34. Germany eyes overhauled US partnership in talks on spy row
  35. NSA Spying On Germany – OpEd
  36. What’s A Little Espionage Among ‘Friends’? – OpEd

    Germany, after all, has a powerful economy — one that, driven as it is by a strong manufacturing sector and a solid trade surplus, including with the US, in many ways is much stronger than the US economy. Germany has no need to worry about any risk of US trade sanctions, the way most countries do that consider trying to stand up to the US. Nor does Germany need to rely on the US military for protection. The country faces no threat from any direction. (As anti-war activist David Swanson puts it in his column US out of Germany, “Protection from Russia? If the Russian government weren’t demonstrating a level of restraint that dwarfs even that of the Brazilian soccer team’s defense there would be full-scale war in Ukraine right now. Russia is no more threatening Germany than Iran is preparing to nuke Washington or the U.N. is confiscating guns in Montana.”)

  37. Germany tells top U.S. spy official to leave the country
  38. Germany: Expulsion of U.S. spy was necessary
  39. Germany should offer political asylum to Snowden
  40. Spy scandal jeopardizes negotiations on free trade area between EU and US

    The spy scandal that has burst out in Germany jeopardizes negotiations on creating a free trade area between the EU and the USA, Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection of Germany Heiko Maas believes.

  41. German FM, press applaud expulsion of CIA chief
  42. German Chancellor Expels CIA Station Chief

    In an unprecedented move between allies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ordered the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country or be forced out, reports the Washington Post.

  43. Germany calls on US to stop spying after expulsion order

    German politicians on Friday called on the United States to stop all spying activities against Germany and to work together to revive bilateral ties on the basis of honesty.

    This latest German plea follows Thursday’s expulsion of the U.S. intelligence chief in Berlin.

  44. Germany Said to Review ‘No-Spy’ Buying Rules Amid U.S. Row
  45. Report: Germany turned down US spy deal
  46. Suspected German spy was in contact with friend at State Dept – US officials
  47. German suspect was in contact with State Dept not US spies: officials

    German defense official under investigation for alleged spying was in contact with a US State Department officer rather than American intelligence agencies, raising questions about whether any espionage occurred, US officials familiar with the case told Reuters yesterday.

  48. China Calls iPhone National Security Threat
  49. China Calls iPhone A National Security Risk
  50. Chinese TV says iPhones are a threat to national security
  51. Chinese state media calls iPhone a security threat
  52. China calls the iPhone and iOS 7 threats to national security
  53. Apple’s iPhone poses national security threat, China says
  54. Chinese state-run media say Apple’s iPhone is a threat to federal security because it can track and time-stamp the locations of its users
  55. iPhone’s location tracking is a security threat, says China state media>
  56. China Says iPhone Location Tracker Could Expose State Secrets
  57. Apple iPhone Labeled “National Security Concern” in China>
  58. Apple’s iPhone branded a ‘national security concern’
  59. China Labels iPhone a Security Threat
  60. Chinese state broadcaster flags iPhone as security threat
  61. Chinese Media Terms Apple’s Location Tracking as Security Threat

    Mainstream Chinese Media has termed Apple’s iPhone as a national security threat. The state owned CCTV has reported that the location tracking feature in iPhone could collect data about location of the users.

  62. Now Chinese state TV says iPhones are a threat to national security
  63. Instagram becomes latest victim of Chinese censorship

    After blocking Google and its services in China in June, China’s internet censors blocked the popular networking app Line and Yahoo’s photo-sharing platform Flickr on July 1, the day of massive democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong on the 17th anniversary of the territory’s return to China. Instagram, the online photo and video sharing platform owned by Facebook, has now undergone a similar fate, reports Duowei, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.

  64. Are Hong Kong’s pan-democrats censoring opposing views by public figures while they blast censorship themselves?
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