EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.08.19

Openwashing Report: G.A.F.A.M. Surveillance and Military/Imperialism as ‘Open’ and ‘Sharing’

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 8:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let’s spread democracy

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: The (mis)use of the term “Open Source” to promote monopolies has become so profound that even corporate media such as Forbes takes note of it (but obviously defends the practice)

THOSE who’ve read the “Openwashing Report” series long enough very well know it’s not focused on Microsoft or on large companies. It calls out every openwashing culprit we stumble upon in our research irrespective of size/market share. And G.A.F.A.M. (the 'big five') just happen to be some of the biggest culprits, Microsoft typically being the worst. Microsoft is also a bit unique in several ways. As we explained on August 20th:

There’s a common and perhaps deliberate misconception. We’re supposed to think that GNU/Linux is under attack from many large companies, but in reality there’s one single company standing to gain the most from a destruction (or hijack) of Linux. That company isn’t SCO but the company that subsidises SCO’s lawsuits against Linux. It’s also the only company that’s blackmailing, using patents, ChromeOS (GNU/Linux) and Android (Linux) OEMs, even in 2019. Those who don’t understand that are either indoctrinated or dishonest. Google isn’t the company that assaults Linux in court. Apple isn’t the company that started the “Get the Facts” FUD campaign. Amazon’s AWS is predominantly GNU/Linux and has nothing to gain from Windows. As for Facebook? It’s deeply connected to Microsoft. It’s problematic for a lot of reasons. Apache’s Jim Jagielski used Facebook’s abuses as a pretext for excusing Microsoft’s.

As a general note, Techrights was primarily focused on Novell in the early days (when the site was small). Nowadays we’re very much hinged on the key principles (e.g. software freedom/Software Freedom and software patents) and don’t single out any particular company. It’s important not to cheer for ‘brands’ — Linux included — but to keep in mind underlying ideologies and values.

“It’s important not to cheer for ‘brands’ — Linux included — but to keep in mind underlying ideologies and values.”FOSS, as in Free software, is nowadays used everywhere, yet software freedom is to be found almost nowhere. Due to openwashing, in our humble assessment, proprietary software is often marketed as “open” and “awesome”, just because some code might be available. It’s like false marketing. Clown Computing, as a side note, tells us that outsourcing our data and computing is “awesome” and a business would be a “relic” or a “dinosaur” for owning and controlling its own systems. The surveillance industry likes it like that because centralisation makes spying a lot more trivial.

The sad truth is that FOSS dominates, but at the same time freedom does not. Software Freedom (we sometimes capitalise it like that) is almost nowhere to be seen and general freedom (e.g. from surveillance ) isn’t quite prevalent. Something needs to be done. Corporations do what they did to Hippies in the 70s. They tell FOSS people that they’re winning; but actually FOSS is being taken over by monopolies.

Last month we wrote about openwashing of surveillance datacentres. Doing it the Facebook and Microsoft way (Open Compute Project), Nexedi and Hydro66 have just issued this press release. Classic openwashing! This is the kind of thing we’ve long written about it. “Open Compute” is hardly ‘open’ and it is hardly free/Free, either…

“The sad truth is that FOSS dominates, but at the same time freedom does not.”Another nonsensical new buzzword of G.A.F.A.M. and the Linux Foundation is “Confidential”; pretty meaningless, right?

Calling mass surveillance “Confidential” (the very opposite!), as was done a few days ago in Computer Weekly, is an insult to the concept of confidentiality. “Companies committed to this work include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent,” it says. They call their surveillance networks “confidential computing…”

On Microsoft GitHub is where they put their code. Yes, GitHub! Which is in NSA PRISM…

But worry not; Microsoft tells us that GitHub will patch our software and code without intervention. Yes, always trust automatic patches (and patching) from the NSA and the company that puts back doors in everything for it.

“”Open Compute” is hardly ‘open’ and it is hardly free, either…”Remember that surveillance is “confidential” now. Orwell would have loved it. NSA back doors are “Security” (the S in the acronym!) and War is “Peace”…

Let’s dive a little deeper into new examples from the past week, starting with (perhaps) the biggest privacy violator, whose tentacles are all over Web pages and sometimes packet transmission as well.

Google

The “big G”, one of the ‘big five’ or G.A.F.A.M., was mentioned here last weekend. We explained how it had spun various surveillance projects as “open”. Media was happy to play along in a big way!

Not only is Google openwashing out of control. It seems to be in control of the media judging by the number of puff pieces to that effect (more than Microsoft even!). We can only guess that a Google News near-monopoly helps towards this goal.

“Not only is Google openwashing out of control. It seems to be in control of the media judging by the number of puff pieces to that effect (more than Microsoft even!).”Curiously enough, a year after Microsoft declared its intentions for GitHub Google still uses it, even for new projects. Back in the days Google had its own code repositories (Google Code), but apparently outsourcing even of Google’s own projects is seen as OK now. Well, if you actually value privacy there or elsewhere, Mr. Google, you will pursue a host that is privacy-oriented (but of course you don’t/won’t). Over the past week we found loads of articles like “Google open sources differential privacy dev library”; there’s a whole array of others [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] with the words “Open Source” and “privacy” in the headline. Does it not bother anyone that this is Google and GitHub, which is proprietary software and in NSA PRISM?

“Google today introduced Neural Structured Learning (NSL),” said another new article, “an open source framework that uses the Neural Graph Learning method for training neural networks with graphs and structured data.”

Google uses that for surveillance. We’re supposed to think surveillance becomes ethical when the abuser ‘makes up’ for it by uploading some code to proprietary software (the Microsoft censorship machine called GitHub).

“We’re supposed to think surveillance becomes ethical when the abuser ‘makes up’ for it by uploading some code to proprietary software (the Microsoft censorship machine called GitHub).”So Google surveillance is... open. Moreover it’s for disabled people, such as deaf and blind people (we wrote about this pattern as well a week ago). Here’s the latest example to that effect (“Google open-source software allows call and music streaming directly to hearing aids”). So if you oppose privacy-infringing activity, then you actually harm deaf people? That’s the sort of PR tactic which listening devices (“smart” “assistant”) companies gravitate towards.

Marketing genius. Google does loads of openwashing these days. Those who oppose? They must really hate people with disabilities! How dare they? Never mind the fact that “I put my code on proprietary software GitHub for “openness” or for Open Source” is a bit like “I gave you a braid of dead flowers because I love flowers” (not you).

Notice these patterns. They’re becoming more widespread over time. Now let’s look at Microsoft.

Microsoft

Each quarter that passes, each time journalists are back from holiday, there’s fewer and fewer of them. And they do less and less actual journalism. PR liars (think along the lines of “Microsoft loves Linux”) are happy to fill this vacuum. Microsoft exploits that too.

“Each quarter that passes, each time journalists are back from holiday, there’s fewer and fewer of them. And they do less and less actual journalism. PR liars (think along the line of “Microsoft loves Linux”) are happy to fill this vacuum. Microsoft exploits that too.”Over the years we’ve taken note of Fossbytes, seeing how it gradually becomes an anti-Linux site. Ignore the “FOSS” part; it’s a Microsoft promotion site, nowadays run by utterly clueless (or worse — dishonest) people…

“Microsoft loves Linux” is the kind of lie they push there every week. They’re also openwashing proprietary software of Microsoft quite routinely. They describe Microsoft as “FOSS”. But they should stop repeating this lie. Because pretty much every big project/product of Microsoft remains proprietary. Microsoft didn’t ‘open up’. It’s a paid-for PR campaign. Always fact-check and assess pertinent facts.

Just before the weekend we saw Adrian Bridgwater (Forbes) repeating these PR lies. He has long repeated Microsoft talking points about FOSS; when I pointed this out he threatened me. Once again he says “Microsoft loves Linux”. He can say that all he wants (that’s the price of free speech), but it doesn’t make this PR lie any more true, just more crap being flung at a wall.

A Techrights reader too noticed this article and quoted from it the Microsoft-connected WhiteSource: “VP of product for open source security and compliance company WhiteSource David Habusha suggests that this shift is materially impacting the entire open source community, since it is nearly impossible for hobbyist programmers and smaller special interest groups (SIGs) to compete with these huge corporations, who have the money needed to develop and maintain open source projects at a higher level.”

“Microsoft didn’t ‘open up’. It’s a paid-for PR campaign.”WhiteSource is part of this problem; WhiteSource works closely with Microsoft and badmouths FOSS every week. It glorifies and cherishes proprietary software monopolies with openwashing.

We’ve meanwhile also noticed that Microsoft is again openwashing the proprietary software HoloLens through GitHub (which is itself proprietary). It’s a paid press release… it’s cross-posted. Not too shockingly the Microsoft-connected propaganda networks (check ownership) were happy to participate in the openwashing of HoloLens. Microsoft, Open Source and HoloLens are all in the headline; never mind if Microsoft and HoloLens are both proprietary. As a reminder, Microsoft sacked all HoloLens staff when it bought the company; it then gave HoloLens to the US Army (to help kill people more efficiently). It is a relatively old controversy.

“As a reminder, Microsoft sacked all HoloLens staff when it bought the company; it then gave HoloLens to the US Army (to help kill people more efficiently).”If Microsoft buys your company, it’s time to move on or risk being an active (complicit) participant in crimes and other immoral acts, shows history… nowadays a lot of Microsoft’s business/operation is helping governments spy on and oppress people. This is an actual fact and articles around the world have covered this point reasonably well (not necessarily in English).

Yesterday we wrote about the way Microsoft is ‘Linuxwashing’ its surveillance devices that are plugged into Azure (much of that has been in the media lately); someone then told me, on that same day:

#Microsoft has also recently developed hardware platforms and SoCs where they are the only actor allowed to manage all the cryptography keys stored in HW.

This means that they will be able to sell licenses for cryptography as ‘IoT service’ and make sure system manufacturers and users will pay fees to use open standards and cryptography on their HW.

#Microsoft IoT plans are extremely obscure and well hidden behind their #openwashing campaign

Notice that the term openwashing — which we coined more than a decade ago — is spreading and gaining momentum. This is good because it helps communicate a particular issue in concise (one-word) terms.

Microsoft is, according to this, also openwashing PowerToys — software that you can only run on proprietary software with NSA back doors. How open is it really?

“Notice that the term openwashing — which we coined more than a decade ago — is spreading and gaining momentum. This is good because it helps communicate a particular issue in concise (one-word) terms.”This sort of ‘propaganda’ style of reporting is becoming far too commonplace. For technology (i.e. the whole site) ZDNet deserves treatment akin to that of Daily Fail (renamed ‘Mail Online’ in Britain to dodge hard bans; it’s a really bad tabloid; not reliable and occasionally lying, intentionally, for hits). The site is full of Microsoft insiders who call themselves ‘reporters’ and it is owner entirely by CBS, which is a notorious megaphone of the CIA (new example here in ‘Intelligence Matters’, hosted by a former CIA chief in their prime time news sites/channels).

For CBS, in the area of tech (e.g. ZDNet, Tech Republic, CNET), it’s also a megaphone of Microsoft (which helps commit crimes against humanity and participates in imperialism). Watch who they pick/recruit as staff writers; some are working concurrently at Microsoft, i.e. they’re salaried by Microsoft.

Speaking of imperialism, let’s look at Amazon.

Amazon

The openwashing of listening devices (surveillance which media calls “smart” “assistants”) by the Pentagon-connected Amazon is a subject we covered here several times last month. Here they go again openwashing Alexa: “Amazon has turned its proprietary Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI) into an open-source tool kit.”

So-called ‘tool kit’. Classic openwash.

“The openwashing of listening devices (surveillance which media calls “smart” “assistants”) by the Pentagon-connected Amazon is a subject we covered here several times last month.”Over at another CBS-owned tech site (Tech Republic), Mac Asay (now working for Amazon’s AWS) is promoting “open source” as in pure exploitation (just what the employer does). He became notorious for his Microsoft propaganda (where he had also pursued a job) and he has become a foe of Free software. His latest article, “The key to open source sustainability is good old-fashioned self-interest,” was mentioned to us by readers. Months ago he was defending Amazon’s abuse of Free software projects. Shortly afterwards Amazon gave him a job. Coincidence?

ZDNet

After much hesitation we’ve decided to demote ZDNet like we did Ars Technica. To be frank, Ars Technica is a defunct Web site. They don’t produce anything of value anymore. People other than us point this out too. Publicly!

Seems like their ‘in-house pedophile’ Microsoft Peter added fuel to the bonfire, harming credibility and morale. They pay the price for hiring and paying salaries to Microsoft ‘moles’ (who publish articles 'on behalf' of Microsoft's PR staff).

“They pay the price for hiring and paying salaries to Microsoft ‘moles’ (who publish articles ‘on behalf’ of Microsoft’s PR staff).”Something similar now happens in ZDNet, a prime proponent of openwashing, just like its parent company. Over time we find less (and fewer) reasons to ever link to ZDNet’s Microsoft brainwashing staff. It’s a rogue bunch and it it weren’t for some writers like SJVN, we’d probably just impose a mental block (like blacklist) of the domain. Funded by the likes of Microsoft to promote their agenda, i.e. corrupt ‘journalism’, the site has nothing to offer which favours FOSS. Almost nothing (except SJVN’s articles). News from ZDNet (from yesterday and the past week) is all wrong. Exim has an important bugfix, for example, but the CBS tabloid ZDNet went with: “Millions of Exim servers vulnerable” (in the headline).

As if to imply millions of businesses have just been compromised and the sky is falling. This what happens when CBS hires trolls and drama queens like Catalin Cimpanu from Bleeping Computer (misinformation site, anti-FOSS bias). Many other writers have publicly complained about misinformation from Cimpanu; the same is true for Dan Goodin from Ars Technica — to the point where Ars Technica actually got sued for defamation (over one of many defamatory articles from Goodin).

As we said at the start of this long article, journalism is rotting. People who care about truth say, “let’s create a Web site about facts and news…”

“Openwashing, for instance, is Big Business. There’s demand for it; rich people view that as a form of reputation laundering and this is how the Linux Foundation makes much of its money.”Liars and lying opportunists say, “let’s create a Web site that attracts funding from sponsors and advertisers to lie to the public…”

Guess where the money is. Openwashing, for instance, is Big Business. There’s demand for it; rich people view that as a form of reputation laundering and this is how the Linux Foundation makes much of its money. Sad, but true.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

What Else is New


  1. IBM Cannot Become a True Friend of Free Software Because of Its Current Patent Policy

    IBM needs to quit bullying people/companies with software patents; that would help towards appeasement of IBM critics and sceptics



  2. When Patent 'Professionals' Sound Like Children Who Learned to Parrot Some Intentionally-Misleading Buzzwords, Myths and Lies

    With buzzwords like "AI" and misleading terms like "IP" the litigation zealots are trying to convince themselves (and the public) that software is a physical thing and a "property" which needs "protecting" from "theft"; it doesn't seem to bother these people that copyright law already covers software<



  3. The European Parliament Needs to Become More Outspoken About EPO Abuses

    There are few encouraging signs in Europe right now because the EPO's disregard for patent law (striving to just grant as many patents as possible) earned it much-needed backlash from the European Parliament



  4. Links 19/9/2019: German Federal Ministry of the Interior Wants FOSS, Top Snaps Named

    Links for the day



  5. Buying the Voices of 'Linux' People to Repeat Microsoft's Talking Points While Removing Our Icons and Leaders (Calling Them Sexist)

    The dirty games leveraged by several companies including Microsoft target charismatic people who are essential for morale and leadership; these tactics aren't particularly novel



  6. When the EPO Sees Itself as Above European Law, Grants Patents in Defiance of the EPC (Its Founding Document) and Violates Staff's Labour Rights/Protections (International Law)

    The absurd state of affairs at the EPO has reached the point where laws at every level are being violated and even judges are being threatened or vainly ignored; the EU is belatedly trying to tackle these issues, which have actually cost its credibility a great deal and threaten the perception of Rule of Law at multiple levels



  7. Links 19/9/2019: Samba 4.11.0 and Kubernetes 1.16

    Links for the day



  8. Update on Koch v EPO: Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) Composition Still Likely Illegal

    An important EPO case, concerning a dismissed staff representative, shows what ILO-AT and the EPO's Internal Appeals Committee boil down to



  9. Links 18/9/2019: Fedora Linux 31 Beta, PCLinuxOS 2019.09 Update

    Links for the day



  10. Links 17/9/2019: CentOS 7.7 and Funtoo Linux 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  11. EPO is Not European

    Internationalists and patent trolls are those who stand to benefit from the 'globalisation' of low-quality and law-breaking patents such as patents on algorithms, nature and life itself; the EPO isn't equipped to serve its original goals anymore



  12. The EPO's Central Staff Committee and SUEPO (Staff Union) Respond to “Fascist Bills” Supported by EPO President António Campinos

    Raw material pertaining to the latest Campinos "scandal"; what Campinos said, what the Central Staff Committee (CSC) said, and what SUEPO said



  13. Storm Brewing in the European Patent Office After a Hot Summer

    Things aren't rosy in EPOnia (to say the least); in fact, things have been getting a lot worse lately, but the public wouldn't know judging by what media tells the public (almost nothing)



  14. Why I Once Called for Richard Stallman to Step Down

    Guest post from the developer who recently authored "Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong"



  15. As Richard Stallman Resigns Let's Consider Why GNU/Linux Without Stallman and Torvalds Would be a Victory to Microsoft

    Stallman has been ejected after a lot of intentionally misleading press coverage; this is a dark day for Software Freedom



  16. Links 16/9/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.3, GNU World Order 13×38, Vista 10 Breaks Itself Again

    Links for the day



  17. Links 16/9/2019: Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D; BlackWeb 1.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  18. Richard Stallman's Controversial Views Are Nothing New and They Distract From Bill Gates' Vastly Worse Role

    It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



  19. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

    Links for the day



  20. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

    Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



  21. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  22. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  23. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software



  24. EPO President Along With Bristows, Managing IP and Other Team UPC Boosters Are Lobbying for Software Patents in Clear and Direct Violation of the EPC

    A calm interpretation of the latest wave of lobbying from litigation professionals, i.e. people who profit when there are lots of patent disputes and even expensive lawsuits which may be totally frivolous (for example, based upon fake patents that aren't EPC-compliant)



  25. Links 15/9/2019: Radeon ROCm 2.7.2, KDE Frameworks 5.62.0, PineTime and Bison 3.4.2

    Links for the day



  26. Illegal/Invalid Patents (IPs) Have Become the 'Norm' in Europe

    Normalisation of invalid patents (granted by the EPO in defiance of the EPC) is a serious problem, but patent law firms continue to exploit that while this whole 'patent bubble' lasts (apparently the number of applications will continue to decrease because the perceived value of European Patents diminishes)



  27. Patent Maximalists, Orbiting the European Patent Office, Work to 'Globalise' a System of Monopolies on Everything

    Monopolies on just about everything are being granted in defiance of the EPC and there are those looking to make this violation ‘unitary’, even worldwide if not just EU-wide



  28. Unitary Patent (UPC) Promotion by Team Battistelli 'Metastasising' in Private Law Firms

    The EPO's Albert Keyack (Team Battistelli) is now in Team UPC as Vice President of Kilburn & Strode LLP; he already fills the media with lies about the UPC, as one can expect



  29. Microsoft Targets GNU/Linux Advocates With Phony Charm Offensives and Fake 'Love'

    The ways Microsoft depresses GNU/Linux advocacy and discourages enthusiasm for Software Freedom is not hard to see; it's worth considering and understanding some of these tactics (mostly assimilation-centric and love-themed), which can otherwise go unnoticed



  30. Proprietary Software Giants Tell Open Source 'Communities' That Proprietary Software Giants Are 'Friends'

    The openwashing services of the so-called 'Linux' Foundation are working; companies that are inherently against Open Source are being called "Open" and some people are willing to swallow this bait (so-called 'compromise' which is actually surrender to proprietary software regimes)


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