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09.27.14

Microsoft Fakes ‘Charity’ and Uses Religious Groups to Acquire Lock-in in the Public Sector

Posted in Microsoft at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s motto unchanged

Love tag

Summary: Microsoft’s involvements with NGOs and with governments lead to more distrust, more surveillance, less freedom, and ultimately systemic corruption

THE CORRUPT TECHNOLOGY giant known as Microsoft won’t be too shy to distort the meaning of “charity”. Like Bill Gates, who spins business as 'charity' (for tax exemptions and PR), Microsoft presents ‘free’ back doors (and lock-in) as though it’s “goodwill” and some gullible ‘journalists’ do Microsoft’s heavy lifting, deceiving the Australia public whose children may be forced to have surveillance and ‘free’ Microsoft samples (like drug dealers and drug users). “Funny money, not dollars. Lock-in, not opportunity,” calls it the reader who sent us the link. Here is a quote:

Microsoft and World Vision Australia have teamed up against global poverty, announcing a $4 million software donation described as World Vision’s largest corporate partnership.

Pro-lock-in mixed together with “global poverty”. No wonder Microsoft and Bill Gates use some of the very same PR agencies (we named these before). They are lying through their teeth. They don’t care; all they care about is money.

Why is World Vision Australia foolish (or corrupt) enough to do this for Microsoft? It’s clear what Microsoft will gain from this and unless some money changes hands (incentive/bribe/favours), it is not clear what World Vision Australia has to gain here. As we showed in the previous post, atheist Gates exploits the Christian community right now in order for it to lobby for Gates and Microsoft profit (Common Core). Based on Wikipedia, World Vision Australia too is a Christian organisation, so Microsoft is exploiting religion for profit yet again. How clever.

Secrecy and corruption in government and NGOs, as in the above case, have long been a vector of Microsoft influence. Well, Microsoft is their friend only when they can help Microsoft gain more money. Those who are wilfully blind do a disservice to the public, especially if they produce puff pieces like the above.

Watch this new article from the British press, “Microsoft gets flack over ‘rubbish’ UK data” is the title and it speaks about how Microsoft helps secrecy among the corrupt. “It said people should contact their Microsoft supplier if they had any issues,” says the article, but as our reader put it, “They should contact Red Hat or Canonical or local FOSS users/consultants.”

Here are some relevant parts of the report:

UK spending data was “horrendous”, Jeni Tennison, technical director of Berners Lee’s Open Data Institute, told Computer Weekly.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said.

Even when computer experts tried to link this data they had to jump though such hoops that it was “shocking”, said Tennison, who got an OBE for her work last year and sits on the Cabinet Office Open Standards Board and Open Data Panel.

“It isn’t like we are in a state where the data is basically okay and it just takes a bit of effort to put it together. We are talking about a state where it’s basically rubbish,” she said.

Companies that set themselves up to do innovative things with UK spending data had to spend 80 per cent of their time simply tidying it up so they could even start to work with it.

UK spending data rubbish was rubbish because it had incompatible encoding. Staff were largely powerless to do anything about it. Because their software was at fault.

Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet has got most of the blame for this.

The problem, according to Tennison and other experts, and just about any forum that addresses the subject online, was Microsoft’s atrocious handling of UTF-8, the character encoding widely favoured as the lingua franca of open data.

UTF-8 became encoding-of-choice for the UK government as well as the world wide web. But most of government was using Microsoft software. Microsoft’s UTF-8 incompatibilities have long been condemned by experts. The problem was inherent to both Microsoft Windows and its applications, most notably Excel. Users could circumvent them by following complicated instructions. But the workarounds were arduous. This was problematic for government, where most staff use Microsoft software but were apparently not shown how to get to work with UTF-8. More recent versions of Microsoft software employed codecs related to UTF-8 but not compatible with it.

In more positive news, which comes from the European Commission’s Web site: “The government of the United Kingdom is seeking comments on its plans to transpose the new EU Procurement Directive into the country’s laws and regulations. On 19 September, it opened a consultation on implementing the 2014 EU Procurement Directives in the UK.”

Perhaps rather than rely on a corrupt company like Microsoft (with its bribes to government officials), there will be opportunities given to local businesses that deploy, maintain and support Free software. It is bizarre — not just counter-intuitive — that some non-profits make use of proprietary software.

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