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09.01.19

Openwashing Report: Monopoly is Open

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Google, IBM, Microsoft at 1:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: We’re supposed to be feeling joyous and victorious because — good news, everybody! — even all the technology giants are nowadays claiming to have ‘opened up’

THE plague of openwashing has spread to every corner of the proprietary software world. Just about every proprietary software company, provided it’s large enough, has invested in creating a false image of it being “open”. It’s about perception, as they know that this is all that matters. They can get a bunch of puff pieces published for them, hitting the right keywords to construct a fictional version of reality. There are other slants similar to it, including diversity, greenwashing, social responsibility and so on. But here in Techrights we shall focus on openwashing and name some of the worst offenders every weekend. We might even start doing it on a daily basis, depending on volume of material, urgency, and time available.

When we started researching this past week’s news we wrongly assumed that one concise article would be sufficient or that one single installment would contain everything. But one article isn’t enough; it would be absolutely huge, so we’ve decided make that at least 6 upcoming parts of the Openwashing Report. In fact, we might soon render it a daily feature, not weekly. We wish such a series wasn’t necessary or even possible, but too many incidents/instances are found and it’s very clearly a fast-growing problem. It’s a pandemic/epidemic. It’s 2019 and we can’t believe we’re sketching actual, well-supported (slam-dunk evidence) articles about how truly malicious proprietary software is being framed (and advertised) as “Open Source”. This oughtn’t be happening, but virtually nobody enforces labels such as “Open Source”; so who’s or what’s to stop abuse/misuse of it? Nothing.

“We wish such a series wasn’t necessary or even possible, but too many incidents/instances are found and it’s very clearly a fast-growing problem.”The noise is everywhere, outweighing the signal by nearly a whole order of magnitude. You search the Web for “Open Source” news and you get stuff like “Which Open Source Software is Better for You,” (published days ago) which on the surface (headline) sounds promising. This is not “Open Source” however (at all). It’s nothing but a ramp for malicious proprietary software that follows you around (location surveillance). This isn’t the exception. So Microsoft and Google blobs on one’s phones are “Open Source”? Seriously?

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that Platform9 is not "Linux" or "Open Source" as shallow ‘news’ sites like to claim. Here comes another one of those puff pieces about fund-raising. Check what this company offers. It’s clearly misfiled. It’s one of those “cloud” things (spying).

“So Microsoft and Google blobs on one’s phones are “Open Source”? Seriously?”Over at Toolbox the other day we saw this article about an “Open-Source Partnership”. What is it exactly? Ten tech giants that do mass surveillance for the US government and China’s CCP gang up for openwashing and painting of their spying as “security” and “confidential”. Thanks, Linux Foundation, for this practical joke. Here they go again…

Over a week later media in South Africa is still producing puff pieces about it (“Ten tech giants join forces to beef up data security”).

We’re very sorry for being cynical, but…

Companies that spy on people the most (or build the spies’ infrastructure) use the PR services of the Foundation to paint themselves “Confidential”, “Consortium” and other marketing nonsense (even “Open-Source” and “Security”). How about Channel Futures with many of these buzzwords in one single headline?

How about this one from the Foundation-connected SDxCentral? IBM does lots of surveillance — some exceptionally notorious (see their work for NYPD) — but the media connected to the IBM-funded Foundation frames it as “quantum-safe” and “crypto” and “confidential” etc. (like the NSA calls itself “security”; it’s in the acronym!) and we hardly find that amusing. Even the term “open source” is used. “IBM will begin offering quantum-safe cryptography services on its public cloud beginning next year in a move toward bolstering the security of data and privacy from fault-tolerant quantum computers,” it said.

“Companies that spy on people the most (or build the spies’ infrastructure) use the PR services of the Foundation to paint themselves “Confidential”, “Consortium” and other marketing nonsense (even “Open-Source” and “Security”).”So surveillance is privacy.

“Cloud” is open.

And “cryptography” means “only IBM will read it” (or so one hopes; IBM has partners in the public and private sector).

Analytics India Magazine went ahead with this hilarious report entitled “How Tech Giants Are Advocating Open Source Software As Vehicle Of Change” (Obama also promised “Change”).

Well…

“Open Source isn’t exactly true to history and its “champions” exercise lots of openwashing — nothing like whatever the Free software movement originally envisioned.”“Tech Giants Are Advocating” people producing code for them, free of charge, for these “Tech Giants” to then ‘borrow’ this code for openwashing purposes, calling imperialistic spying companies “community”.

The article isn’t better than its headline. It starts with: “Open-sourced projects branched out from the free-software movement which began in the late 80s.”

It’s incredible revisionism to state that “the free-software movement [...] began in the late 80s.” This is false. If it didn’t start in the early 80s, then it started decades beforehand when sharing of code was commonplace; it was the default. But OK, we get it. Open Source isn't exactly true to history and its “champions” exercise lots of openwashing — nothing like whatever the Free software movement originally envisioned.

Later this week we’ll show more examples to that effect — surveillance in particular — implicating Facebook, VMware, IBM, Microsoft, Google and the rest of our ‘favourite’ Open Source ‘champions’ (“Open source champion Microsoft” is what Brian Fagioli’s headline said about Microsoft a few days ago).

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A Single Comment

  1. arm said,

    September 3, 2019 at 12:46 am

    Gravatar

    Sadly Roy, we are witnessing yet another iteration of ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’. Only this time it is not punk rock that is the cause of said decline, it is the inanity of the general populace.

    Bullshit has become the norm, and those that will not accept the bullshit are few and far between.

    While I applaud you for standing up and trying to educate the unwashed masses about all of this, alas I think you are trying to push shit up a very big hill.

    Rupert Murdock and his ilk are sitting on their piles of cash and smiling like Cheshire Cats. Their agenda has achieved its goal and we are living in a world of mindless sheep that will feast upon whatever the mainsteam media feeds them.

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