09.05.19

Openwashing Report: Mass Surveillance is Now… Open!

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 3:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: Mass surveillance by proprietary software (either at the user’s end or the server side, where Free software can be made secret, proprietary, impossible for the user to modify) is being framed as ‘championing’ Open Source; it doesn’t seem to matter, not to the mainstream media at least, how this code gets used in practice and what for

THE public is expected to celebrate the code that is harming the public every second of the day. Openwashing tactics have become the go-to PR strategy.

“That redefines if not distorts what we typically mean by Open as in Open Source.”Sometimes not even code is being made available; last week we saw “open source APIs” (the old lie) being leveraged as a classic openwashing pattern. Things that latch onto surveillance monsters are now open? Well, maybe they’re open to abuse or open to receiving MOAR more data. That redefines if not distorts what we typically mean by Open as in Open Source.

Take the term “Smart City” (above) or “Smart Car” for example. That just means a city or a car with surveillance in it. And now they’re openwashing this whole abomination, with articles such as “Will Open Source Platforms Bridge The Gap Across Smart Car Solutions?”

“Take the term “Smart City” (above) or “Smart Car” for example. That just means a city or a car with surveillance in it.”That was published only days ago.

How about OpenADx? It isn’t open. It’s a front group for proprietary software companies including Microsoft. “Originally launched by Bosch and Microsoft,” says this press release, “[t]he working group launches with original members AVL, Bosch, Eteration, IBM, itemis, JC Information Management, Red Hat, and Siemens.”

It’s about spying inside cars. Hardly surprising to see Microsoft as a founding member. We’ll come again to Microsoft in a moment.

Facebook

Now, how about Facebook?

Facebook apparently has an “Open Source Community”; That’s what this news headline from Vice tells us. But it’s a proprietary software surveillance operation with some openwashing on the side; watch how they demonise people: “Facebook’s Open Source Community Is Reckoning With Toxicity and Harassment”

It says that “[l]ike other open-source communities, ReactJS is now reckoning with how it treats traditionally underrepresented groups in tech.”

“It’s about spying inside cars. Hardly surprising to see Microsoft as a founding member.”Corporate means for kicking out people under the guise of "manners". Here’s another new headline: “React, a popular open source project that started at Facebook, is adopting a new code of conduct after several people on Twitter called out racism in the community”

So-called “open source project”; there have been scandals associated with the licence they choose, the patents, and Facebook’s control of it. This is a surveillance tool.

As for the ethical aspects these reports allude to, spare me the tears. As I wrote about in length yesterday, the Linux Foundation‘s liars called me the “F” word three times so far this week. The Foundation’s staffers want us to adopt a Code of Conduct they themselves violate. They’re not pleasant people and when you put people who want to be TV stars in charge of a group that’s supposed to steer a project of geeks you end up with abuse. They can be a lot worse than geeks. We’ll have more to say about that in a separate (and later) post.

Google and GitHub (Microsoft)

Speaking of the Foundation, which is happy to let Microsoft tell Linux what to do (adopt our OWN APIs/file systems or else!), we couldn’t help but notice yesterday’s news pick by the Linux Foundation’s Linux.com. I immediately joked about it, claiming that they plug in some Google stuff instead of GNU/Linux stuff (there were three news picks that day, one for proprietary software of Microsoft and this one). Are we supposed to think that anything Google is the same as “Linux”? Is Google’s surveillance OK because it’s… open? Watch how the media frames this. This is openwashing of surveillance capitalism on proprietary GitHub (yes, they too gave the code to Microsoft!). “The source code for the AI is now available on GitHub,” it says, “which you can check out from here. You may also download arm64 APK here, and a version with 3D mode here.”

“This is a surveillance tool.”Here’s another new report: “Google open sources real-time hand and finger tracking tech”

Give a finger to it. That’s just Google’s openwashing of surveillance capitalism and it’s putting all the code in imperialistic GitHub. “Google has made its hand detection and tracking tech open-source,” it says, “giving developers the opportunity to poke around…”

Poke around…

More openwashing by Google.

It’s surveillance you can ‘tinker’ with…

“That’s just Google’s openwashing of surveillance capitalism and it’s putting all the code in imperialistic GitHub.”Yay. Let’s dance.

Speaking of GitHub as the medium (it’s in NSA PRISM now), mind this new article from JAXenter where GitHub is presumed ‘synonymous’ with FOSS (never mind if GitHub itself is proprietary and owned by the foremost enemy of FOSS).

If Microsoft does not own and control a FOSS project, does it not exist and won’t count? JAXenter reinforces monopoly and coercion by proprietary software (which is what GitHub is). They leave out every project that isn’t controlled by Microsoft.

We’ll return to Microsoft later.

AMDOCS et al.

A buzzword-hyped surveillance “revolution” is apparently “fueled” by “open source” (or openwashing of malicious proprietary software from monopolies connected to spy agencies). That’s what this new article about “hey hi” (AI) tells us. There’s also openwashing of mass surveillance by companies such as AMDOCS, which process a lot of data and leave copies to states.

But worry not; according to this, “open source as a driver of innovation will be the focus” (of surveillance) by the likes of Amdocs and Adtrans, which also got this puff piece. Yet more openwashing of proprietary 5G — a typical feature from Light Reading: “Sessions, presented by Amdocs and Adtrans, to be presented at tail end of SCTE/ISBE event in New Orleans on October 3.”

That’s next month. “Post-Cable-Tec Expo Sessions to Focus on 5G, Open Source” is the headline.

“A buzzword-hyped surveillance “revolution” is apparently “fueled” by “open source” (or openwashing of malicious proprietary software from monopolies connected to spy agencies).”One looks for articles about “Open Source” and ends up finding these surveillance-centric events. Classic openwashing by iconectiv here (ONAP); their message, between the lines: We made some code changes, hence our network is now “open”…

Over at Telecompaper this press release got expanded with fluff.

It’s not “bad” per se; but the underlying stuff will be closed with some “open bits” to tinker with (or “see”). We’re supposed to think that all networks and telecoms are now “open” even when they’re not (and to make matters worse, they’re used for pervasive surveillance at every level, even intra-packet, e.g. DPI).

Microsoft

Perhaps we should expect this ‘champion’ of so-called ‘open’ to be the worst culprit. Indeed, Microsoft never disappoints. How about openwashing of listening devices, or military-grade surveillance by Microsoft?

“How about openwashing of listening devices, or military-grade surveillance by Microsoft?”This was put at the very top of Linux.com earlier this week (this is what Swapnil does almost every week). Remember that the Linux Foundation boils down to its Board, and seats on the Board are for sale basically.

These articles are all about Microsoft’s listening devices, a.k.a. “conversational HEY HI!” (AI).

Beware the openwashing of such listening devices. All sorts of surveillance are nowadays being spun as “open” or “helping the blind” (or disabled people). Swapnil did a whole series of interviews to that effect last month; They exploit and abuse the disabled (hijacking social causes) to push evil agenda of surveillance.

Are you against listening devices?

“They exploit and abuse the disabled (hijacking social causes) to push evil agenda of surveillance.”Then you’re against disabled people!

“WHY DO YOU HATE BLIND PEOPLE?”

Microsoft used these tricks to demonise OpenDocument Format (ODF) as well.

So nowadays surveillance is being disguised as a ‘social cause’.

It hardly surprised us that mostly Microsoft sites and Microsoft boosters promoted this latest openwashing offensive from Microsoft, e.g. here, here, and here. It’s all because “open” makes spying “ethical”, right?

“Openwashing works great for surveillance capitalism.”To quote one puff piece, “Microsoft announced that it is releasing a new open-source toolkit that allows researchers and developers to create chatbots with different personas called the Intelligent Conversation Engine: Code and Pre-trained Systems (ICECAPS).”

That’s just openwashing of listening devices by Microsoft, the NSA’s foremost partner. Other shallow pieces can be found outside Microsoft’s ‘fan media’, e.g. CBR and Analytics India Magazine, but most of the coverage we saw comes from Microsoft boosters. Maybe they even lie to themselves about how wonderful it is that devices designed to listen to all tenants in entire homes, cars and offices (and relay the audio to governments) are now “open”. Because of an “open-source toolkit” (see what we wrote about “open-source APIs” at the start).

Openwashing works great for surveillance capitalism.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2019/09/05/open-surveillance/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Time to Move to Gemini, Wherever/Whenever Possible, as the World Wide Web is a Burden on Everybody

    A 30-minute rant about what the Web has become and the promise of gemini:// (designed to simplify everything, enable self-hosting, preserve privacy, and empower communities rather than military-connected monopolies)



  2. The Number of Signatures in the Anti-FSF Petition is Decreasing, Not Increasing

    A reader has notified Techrights that belatedly, perhaps where people’s job is at risk (we’ve heard of stories and situations wherein the employer’s view and a worker’s view diverge), the GNOME Foundation/OSI did in fact remove some people from the hate letter they had set up for their monopolistic sponsors. We do, however, still see some names in there of people who asked to be removed, so it must be a very selective process. They don’t want to lose face, so they must have made it very difficult to revoke one’s name. Exceptional circumstances? We have checked to confirm, based on the available archives, and indeed that number decreased since 10 days ago, whereas 6,415 people have thus far signed the support letter (it's still growing), so we’ve just re-plotted the chart.



  3. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, April 18, 2021



  4. How Many People Developed GNU (Maybe Hundreds) in the 1980s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains how code was managed and contributed in the early days of GNU



  5. Links 19/4/2021: Linux 5.12 RC8, GNU Poke 1.2, EndeavourOS 2021.04

    Links for the day



  6. Proprietary Software (BT Hub) Has Ruined My Whole Day

    While we did have some plans to publish long articles, those plans were curtailed or at least delayed due to the fact our sole device at home not to be controlled by us (a so-called 'Smart' Hub from BT) decided to break itself and by doing so bring productivity to a standstill (that firmware update, silently installed without notice or any form of consent, managed to screw with the local network)



  7. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 17, 2021



  8. Tolerating the Intolerant and Lacking Tolerance for Opposing Views

    The person who shouted...



  9. Letter of Support for Richard Stallman - Doing Better in Community

    "How do you support someone you’ve known for years who is unfairly attacked and publicly maligned?"



  10. Richard Stallman on Rejecting Workplace Bureaucracy in the 1970s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains what inspired him to get involved in non-software matters



  11. Renata Avila: Trying to Understand the Lynching of Stallman

    Reproduced from the original



  12. Breaking News: EDPS Admits That It is Powerless to Investigate Claims of GDPR Non-compliance at the EPO

    Nobody is truly in charge at the EDPS (and in Europe at large); they say EPO is "company" and all one can do is kindly ask the EPO itself to obey the law and stop outsourcing European data to American military contractors



  13. Links 17/4/2021: Linux 5.13 in Sight, Holland Warming up to Free Software

    Links for the day



  14. Richard Stallman Vilified by Those Who Don't Know Him, Says Sylvia Paull

    Republished "In Support of Richard Stallman"



  15. [Meme] Linux Foundation Can't Use Linux

    Two examples from yesterday, highlighting what a bunch of hypocrites run the marketing operation now disguised as ‘research’; Jason Perlow from Microsoft signed/published this newsletter highlight from the failing “Linux” Foundation — a foundation that calls itself “Linux” while its newsletter is still hosted by Microsoft Windows+proprietary IIS and this latest report is made with proprietary software on a Mac



  16. [Meme] Haters Gonna Hate, Don't Apologise to a Libelling Mob

    As was already pointed out before, you cannot appease a mob by talking back to it, certainly not by issuing an apology (putting oneself in a position of weakness)



  17. What the EPO Has 'Normalised' in Europe...

    Under the cover of 'new normal', Europe's second-largest institution crushes the law and crushes its own staff



  18. Lots of Information in Sight, But Minimal Distraction

    How I keep focused on reading and writing whilst at the same time keeping an eye on important incidents, such as DDOS attacks and urgent messages coming in



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 16, 2021



  20. Hate Letter Against FSF (Concern Trolls): 1415 Committers, Letter in Support of FSF (With Its Founder Back): 5116

    Taking into account people who asked for their names to be removed from the defamatory hate letter (inciting people, based on falsehoods), it's not impossible that the support letter really triples or quadruples it in terms of number of signatures



  21. Richard Stallman: Sharing is Good... We Need to Legalise It

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains his take on copyright and the artificial restriction being used against sharing



  22. Nadine Strossen and Hannah Wolfman-Jones Rebut Accusations Against Stallman and Choose Him as Coauthor

    "Here are her thoughts and the response she received from Nadine, extracted verbatim with their permission from the original article"



  23. Links 17/4/2021: GNOME 40 in Tumbleweed, Devuan 4.0 Alpha, Kate Editor Makes a Leap

    Links for the day



  24. EPO Staff Union Takes the EPO 'to Court' (the ILO's Tribunal, as the EPO Cannot be Taken to a Proper Court)

    The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Committees are preparing a legal battle over unlawful and unjust measures taken collectively against hard-working (overworked during pandemic) members of staff; the European public should support them



  25. The Latest Anti-RMS Coup Attempt Targets the GNU Project (Because the FSF Coup Has Clearly Failed) by Infringing and Disregarding Trademark Conventions

    A fake "GNU" (not the original GNU, just riding the coattails of the name "GNU") is trying to find/gain traction and we must oppose it because it's an extension of the very same coup attempt (same plotters) that manufactured a whole bunch of libel to incite people and blackmail the Free Software Foundation (FSF)



  26. Links 16/4/2021: Mozilla Dumping FTP, Corporations Still Concern-Trolling FSF

    Links for the day



  27. The EFF Attacks Software Freedom and Promotes Fake Privacy Linked to Microsoft

    Only weeks after attacking Software Freedom (the ad hominem way, which is easier) the EFF endorses a Microsoft-linked privacy abuse, misframing it as some sort of privacy champion



  28. Richard Stallman on How Corporate Media Limits What People Are Allowed to Think and Say (Updated)

    What the founder of the FSF told yours truly a number of years ago about the behaviour of corporate (funded and controlled by corporations) media



  29. Exposing Hard Truths is the First Step or the Path Towards Justice

    A reflection and a moment taken to set aside tribalism (shallow differences based on allegiances of personal comfort), for we need look back at actual facts — however inconvenient at times — and consider the reality of the situation



  30. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 15, 2021


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts