12.20.21

The Car Drives You — Part I — You Own Nothing

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Car after crash
Steered by the car, which does not accept instructions from its driver and owner

Summary: With all the media hype about things getting “smart” (and various buzzwords to accompany this hype so as to sell useless gimmicks and gadgets that spy/manipulate) it’s important to understand what gradually happens to automobiles that are nowadays being sold

THE question may seem pointless and banal. Who truly owns today’s cars? It’s a perfectly legitimate question? Who drives it? Who can bypass or override the driver? Again, nowadays the question isn’t so simple to answer.

We already published (this past evening) a timely new video about cars becoming increasingly hostile towards their owner/driver, assuming that the owner is the person who paid for it (not the manufacturer) and driving is about more the pressing down a pedal. When we wrote about privacy issues and safety issues we pointed out that today’s mechanical/physical pedals are connected to a computer, not the engine/throttling parts.

“…today’s mechanical/physical pedals are connected to a computer, not the engine/throttling parts.”Where is this going? Where do governments steer us? Why is media debate so scarce?

In last night’s Daily Links we included this new link, cautioning about creeping oppression. To quote:

When a government decides to take a look at your particular field of experimentation, it’s never necessarily a cause for rejoicing, as British motor vehicle enthusiasts are finding out through a UK Government consultation. Titled “Future of transport regulatory review: modernising vehicle standards“, the document explains that it is part of the process of re-adopting under UK law areas which have previously been governed by the European Union. Of particular interest is the section “Tackling tampering”, which promises a new set of offences for “tampering with a system, part or component of a vehicle intended or adapted to be used on a road“.

They go into detail as to the nature of the offences, which seem to relate to the production of devices designed to negate the safety or environmental features of the car. They’re at pains to say that they have no wish to target the legitimate car modification world, for example in motorsport or restoration, but it’s easy to see how a car hacker might inadvertently fall foul of any new rules. It’s worried the enthusiasts enough that a petition has been launched on the UK parliamentary petition site, making the point that the existing yearly MOT roadworthiness test should fulfill the function of taking any illegal vehicles off the road.

It’s probably too late to weigh in; this official page says: “The consultation period began on 28 September 2021 and will run until 11:45pm on 22 November 2021. Ensure that your response reaches us before the closing date.”

There’s also this EU page for those outside the UK.

“With all those cars nowadays, at least the newly-sold ones, there’s not just a computer onboard but several computers and they not only contain software; it’s no longer immutable, it’s network-connected, and sometimes remote updates modify the behaviour of the car.”This runs parallel to the war on general-purpose computing, including software. This whole subject is closely connected to software freedom.

“Well, Apple and Microsoft are chumming the waters with Right to Repair,” an associate told us yesterday.

“They’re focusing on hardware only, which is an improvement,” Ryan noted. “But without knowing how the software works or how to replace their operating system, you still don’t control the device. They want to be in control of when the last software update goes out.”

Our associate said that “Apple, Microsoft, and the others are trying to saturate the news on that topic, diffuse and unfocus the work, and confuse the public and, especially, the politicians. This has to be slammed through as legislation or else Apple will continue on the path it has been going down since Steve Jobs got sick, and where most other vendors are deciding to follow. Nothing other than a legal smackdon will suffice, the PR efforts to the contrary are no more than PR efforts to stall and weaken the effort. and take away the existing rights. There has always been the right to repair stuff one owns. However, Apple and the others are trying to spin that into not applying to computers. Apple is even looking like it is aiming to ban general-purpose computing. Notice that the trade press and other lapdogs are now grovelling about “sideloading” and insinuating how it is bad, rather than pointing out that the real name is “installation” and it is a normal activity on device and tools one own and controls. Microsoft, Apple, and the car and farm equipment companies see that it could go either way. Right now the US is leaning towards keeping the rights that are in place, but with enough lobbyist money the vendors could tip it the other way. Here is an FTC position statement on the topic [1, 2].” [PDF]

“Microsoft is trying to retcon “installing software on Windows” as sideloading if you don’t get one of the five apps that’s not fake from their store,” Ryan said. The associate responded: “A key aspect is that Microsoft cultists have trained the public and the politicians to be completely docile when “computers” are mentioned and to roll over when “software” is mentioned. In the latter, they have help from the copyright cartel.”

With all those cars nowadays, at least the newly-sold ones, there’s not just a computer onboard but several computers and they not only contain software; it’s no longer immutable, it’s network-connected, and sometimes remote updates modify the behaviour of the car. Unlike some phone or PC, cars put you in life-threatening situations, so it certainly does matter.

“We’ve been hearing similar stories lately; smart people reject the “new” and “smart” cars.”“I wish they’d just go back to what cars in the 1980s came with,” Ryan said. “If you can find a 1985 Honda or GMC pickup or anything really and the body is in good shape… You’d be financially better off to wheel it down to a good mechanic and dump $10,000 or more into having him fix everything that needs attention than you would buying a new car. And you can find some cars that old that never rusted, that look like they came straight out of the 80s. If they were in California or Nevada or even Florida. Obviously, for safety you should take it down and have it inspected and repaired as needed. Expect to replace all of the brake lines, belts, and rubber hoses. They dry rot. But once you get out ahead of that, the car might be perfectly usable for many years.”

We’ve been hearing similar stories lately; smart people reject the “new” and “smart” cars. “I hope to get at least a few more years out of the Impala,” Ryan said, “but I won’t be replacing it with anything very new. I’ll probably go looking for about a 2010 Crown Victoria or something that was fleet owned. They just don’t break down nearly as often as newer cars do. They were pretty much designed in the 70s-90s and then tweaked along the way. Ford never invested anything in a total redesign after that. The mentality, right, was different then. Back then, people were smarter and they knew, hey, this is a major purchase and it should last a while. Now it’s “If my brand new $50,000 Toyota can’t ping a web server to verify I paid my $8 a month remote starter fee, they start disabling my shit!”. “Wow, so amazing! $850 a month car payments for 7 years, you say? Oh boy!”. “Plus the $8 a month for the remote starter of course!” Like, when did Toyota get so greedy that they have to tack on $8 a month to an $850 a month car? Remember Henry Ford? His philosophy was that mass production should make cars so cheap and so easy to repair that anyone could own one? Henry Ford was obviously a shrewd Capitalist, and these modern car companies could not be more diametrically opposed to his viewpoint. They want to tack on surprise fees that you won’t even consider, to a car that’s got you bleeding out like a deer that’s been hung on a rack. They control the government safety agencies. They ask for all of these new “safety” features to be mandatory. That way their competitors can’t produce an affordable car either. When you wreck it, it’s totaled because it costs $1,000 for the body damage and $10,000 to realign some sensors. When those idiots ran into my Impala, you know what I did? I pulled off the bumper cover and put on an aftermarket one that was on ebay for $150. It’s held on by standard bolts that you can just unscrew and screw back in. It took out my fog lamps, but the plastic was so yellowed anyway that I just unplugged them and tossed them in the dumpster.”

In the next part we shall revisit the issue from another angle. Stay tuned.

11.05.21

Linux Isn’t Loved by Microsoft, It is Being Googlebombed by Microsoft

Posted in Apple, Deception, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft at 7:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum a2f1255b07abc18ef12c95556ba9e58a

Summary: Journalism on the Web is dying and is being replaced by SEO/affiliate links/spam farms; the vacuum is moreover being exploited by PR operatives who boost brands of Microsoft by piggybacking opposing brands, such as “Linux”

THE ATTACK on the brand or the name (or brand name) “Linux” carries on. It’s moreover being ‘hijacked’ by the very same people and companies that are looking to undermine GNU/Linux. They know exactly what they’re doing and the media helps them. It’s intentional.

“It has been getting harder to find actual GNU/Linux news, partly because the media isn’t functioning anymore and a lot of self-described journalists are just PR spammers.”Earlier this year we stated that Phoronix should be careful of Microsoft after Phoronix had received ‘freebies’ from Microsoft. This is how sites self-nuke and drive away their audience. Looking at the front page of Phoronix, as I did in the above video, you find Phoronix doing Microsoft articles more than once per day. Some people point this out in the comments; they’re not happy.

As a side note, we still see Visual Studio Code being wrongly described as “open source” and WSL being painted (sometimes even in Microsoft/Windows sites) as “Linux” even though it’s just Windows. ChromeOS with Crostini is “Linux” because ChromeOS is at least GNU/Linux-based (Gentoo to be more specific).

It has been getting harder to find actual GNU/Linux news, partly because the media isn’t functioning anymore and a lot of self-described journalists are just PR spammers. We wrote some things about this last year. Over the past few weeks we saw UbuntuPIT, a site that used to cover GNU/Linux/Ubuntu, becoming an Amazon spam farm (affiliate links, garbage disguised as recommendations) and over the past year that site promoted lots of Windows things, sometimes iOS and Android. They ought to drop “Ubuntu” from that site’s name.

10.12.21

Developer of the “Better” App, Which Provides a Content Blocker for Safari, Considers Quitting Due to Apple’s Plans to Invade Users’ Privacy With “CSAM” Scanner.

Posted in Apple at 6:33 am by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Summary: The developer of the Better app may quit and remove the app from the Apple store due to Apple’s privacy violations.

In a bug report regarding potentially switching to Better’s content blocker for GNOME Web, the maintainer of Better says that he and the co-maintainer, his wife, are considering getting out of the Apple app development business entirely.

He blames Apple’s plans to invade the device with “client side scanning”, which Apple claims will detect child pornography stored on iPhones, Macs, and iPad tablets.

While Apple claims that is what it will do, it will really enable massive government surveillance and will lead to regimes like the Communist Party of China and various Islamic theocracies rounding up and murdering people for everything ranging from being a hated minority (gay, Uyghurs, etc.) to wanting democratic government.

Apple already goes to lengths _beyond_ what is legally required in order to do business in China now. For example, you can’t have your Apple merchandise engraved with numbers that correspond to the date of the Tienanmen Square Massacre, even though there’s no legal requirement to prevent them from etching those numbers onto a product.

It was also just two years ago that Apple also proactively removed a song about the massacre from the Apple Music disservice. The sources I read say it didn’t happen in Hong Kong SAR, but it probably has by now. There’s hardly a difference since the so-called “National Security Law” was foisted on them and people began disappearing.

The Communist Party of China tramples over individual rights and freedoms. It’s what they do. Apple assists them. If you think anything good will come out of “client side device scanning”, I’ll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge for two dollars.

And they realize that while the United States conducts “freedom of navigation” exercises in the South China Sea, they can conquer us without firing a shot by putting us in horrible debt to them and buying up American property and companies, and using their money to corrupt universities.

In fact, in Lake County, Illinois, I stopped calling the community college the Colleges of Lake County and started calling them the Communists of Lake County. There is so much Chinese propaganda going on in there, you wouldn’t believe me if I laid out the full extent of it for you.

They paint a very rosy picture of China when what’s actually going on in there is quite horrible and sad, and people are choking on pollution and disappeared by secret police (murdered?), and are too afraid to even speak about it. In the mean time, CLC is pitching an international study program like it was a trip to paradise!

“Usually with Apple’s tracking and advertising libraries, but often with Google’s as well, and of course Google pays to be the default search engine on iPhones, and hardly anyone changes that.”While I applaud Aral Balkan for seeing through the Apple privacy bullshit and leaning towards removing his apps to cease paying them 30% of his app revenues to inflict this abuse on their customers, many developers frankly don’t give a damn and would never inconvenience themselves in such a manner.

In fact, most Apple apps spy on the user to the same extent that most Android apps out of the Play Store do. The author knows this because they’re the ones who put the tracking libraries inside the app!

Usually with Apple’s tracking and advertising libraries, but often with Google’s as well, and of course Google pays to be the default search engine on iPhones, and hardly anyone changes that.

The marketing of “privacy” to users with later versions of iOS serves mainly to try to make it less convenient for other companies to spy on you without using Apple’s tracking garbage, and to position Apple to be the only ad network that iOS developers would want to use.

Richard Stallman mentioned that iPhones (and iOS) are worse than Android, because they do every nasty thing Android does, and then stop you from even considering installing Free and Open Source Software from a repo like F-Droid.

He suggested a good name for a hypothetical such store, though. F-Apple.

09.03.21

Free Software Foundation, 36 Years Old, Still Fights for Software Freedom

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 4b5aa953d4c8a58ba9f3fbeefd2b5e62

Summary: Free software supporters should not forget that in the face of a rather vicious and corporate-backed online mob the FSF brought its founder back to the board; it has since then lessened its dependence on funding from large corporations, which means it deserves more supporters or donations from individuals who value software freedom

THE past few years we wrote hundreds of articles about the Free Software Foundation (FSF), which is 36 this year (it turns 36 in one month and one day). Yes, 36. A lot older than Linux. In past years we noted that the FSF had become a little dependent on a bunch of rather large companies — which we estimated (based on IRS filings) to account for about half of the FSF’s budget.

That’s not the case anymore.

“The FSF is definitely still effective and it deserves our support. It’s not sucking the teat of Google or IBM or any other very large company.”It can take a year or two to gain public access to IRS filings which correspond to a present year, but we suspect that a large majority of the FSF’s budget comes from supporters (which in FSF terms means individuals, not corporations which are dubbed “patrons”).

In the video above (first video in a while that uses an external camera) I take a look at last night’s posts from the FSF. They hire additional people and they still speak out against Apple. The FSF is definitely still effective and it deserves our support. It’s not sucking the teat of Google or IBM or any other very large company.

“Just had someone DM me saying they got Google money for their NGO and Google might be terrible but taking their money doesn’t make your organisation bad. So I told them I could probably get them funding from Saudi Arabia and they went silent.”

Aral Balkan this week

08.14.21

‘Free’ Market Racism

Posted in Apple, Deception, IBM, Microsoft at 8:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

'Free' Market

Deregulation favours the powerful

Summary: The large corporations and corporate media conveniently ignore the most large-scale racism out there, instead moaning about their victims being intolerant and fussy

THE PROFITS make jobs aplenty
As “war on terror” turns twenty

More bombs beget wealth
Ask IBM how many bombs we should have

Microsoft provides everything for ICE
But it bans the word “master” because we must all be nice

Regulation might harm the economy
Or so says the false dichotomy

Free software communities are very unruly
Because they oppose corporate racism, ever so truly

Unstaffed by monopoly makes one a bigoted nut
Or so said the kettle to a pot

Racist IBM: What's the world's most racist company? IBM.Support the monopolies, or else you’re a Communist
Executives with multi-million-dollar salaries call you a narcissist

Free market wins, just look at the debt
Taxpayers will bail out, collaterals for the bet

Apple sweatshops made in China
Scanning all your files for a vagina

Communism works for the rich
Get back to work, don’t moan and bitch

Racism is what the media deems it
Like the ‘wrong’ branch name in Git

IBM saluting diversity
To gaslight and bury adversity

Money sets you free
Ignore the strange fruit on the tree

Back to your cubicle, labourer
Ignore your boss, the murderer

“Women and minorities paid less”Quarterly results imminent
Creative accounting of the pertinent

Blame Russia, China, and COVID-19 pandemic
Never admit the company is just a relic

Come back to the office with lowered pay
There’s nothing you can even say

Women and minorities paid less
Because to discrimination we proudly say “yes!”

08.10.21

Alan Turing Would Turn in His Grave

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, Deception at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 389a7509596810a2accdb3fcb24b6d8a

Summary: Apple says it “protects children” but it is in fact handing over a weapon to the state (against anyone the state deems an “enemy” for whatever reason) by eradicating the expectation of privacy in one’s private computing devices

APPLE has quite a catastrophe in its hands. It’s discrediting its own advertising campaign, which it needed to spend many millions if not billions of dollars on (convincing many fools that ‘i’ devices stand for privacy). In our next batch of Daily Links we shall show the accumulation of several new Apple scandals.

“The media has devoted a lot of space, time, and attention to Apple’s plan to scan and extract hashes from people’s private devices, not their communications, transmissions, or “online” (“clown”) storage.”Ryan Farmer, a longtime reader, doesn’t think too highly of Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO for about a decade now. Despite being gay, Ryan strongly dislikes Cook. To quote him: “He seems to be as much of an older white business criminal as the rest. Apple’s behavior is extremely right-wing. They exploit slave labor, don’t much care for human rights. They even delve into social issues with the software, like routing women seeking abortions to fake abortion clinics that are really Christians who hector women into keeping the pregnancy when they get there. And I don’t really like abortion, but I think that your computer should do what you asked it to do. Apple is clearly taking a political stand on a lot of these issues, and it’s squarely right-wing on social issues and in support of a corporate fascist state that doesn’t tax them or get in their way with regulation. Much like the other “big tech” companies, honestly. They all shook hands with Trump and then dumped him as soon as he got the “tax law” passed. They were paying negative real rates on taxation to begin with and now it’s worse yet. They got everything they were going to get from him and then cut him loose, and if Tim Cook cared about gay rights he’d have never been photographed in the same room, much less shaking hands.”

“If homosexuality was a criminal offense and a scandal today, and the governments leaned on Apple to help turn people in for it, I doubt they would object or resist,” Ryan continues. “They’re a business and they do what the government wants most of the time, expecting things in return for it. The “CSAM” excuse is just a foot in the door. Nobody will go to bat for these people because what they do is disgusting and detestable and should qualify for hanging, honestly, in many cases. And that’s the whole point. It will start there, but it will not end there.”

“Move to Free software. People are presumed innocent, not guilty, and proper legal procedures are followed (such as judges authorising a search based on leads, testimonies, and bits of evidence).”The media has devoted a lot of space, time and attention to Apple’s plan to scan and extract hashes from people’s private devices, not their communications, transmissions, or “online” (“clown”) storage. We have strong reasons to suspect that Apple isn’t the first; it is the first to speak about it and that should mortify every innocent person. Move to Free software. People are presumed innocent, not guilty, and proper legal procedures are followed (such as judges authorising a search based on leads, testimonies, and bits of evidence).

In the video above I forgot to show what I had planned to show; it’s my Palm PDA, which lacks a connection. It used Bluetooth back in the days; it still does IR, but without physical access nobody can see my personal notes on that device. And that used to be normal. That was, once upon a time, the expectation of device owners (about 2 decades ago, going back to their very genesis).

The problem isn’t just Apple, but all those large and state-connected technology companies which prefer for everyone to think that only criminals would want or need privacy.

“The problem isn’t just Apple, but all those large and state-connected technology companies which prefer for everyone to think that only criminals would want or need privacy.”“Our system of laws has traditionally been set up to at least have the appearance of the presumption of innocence and the theory that it’s better to accidentally let some guilty people go than to deprive others of their constitutional rights,” Ryan asserts. “And what the iPhone is doing is really an end run around due process. Because you’re a witness against yourself and you’re not secure in your “papers and effects” from an unreasonable search. The government is using the iPhone as a “constitution condom”.

“If the people who wrote the Bill of Rights were alive today they’d be horrified, I think, to see how many ways the government has nullified our rights and freedoms. There is literally nothing in the constitution that even gives them the right to do “COVID lockdowns”. The whole exercise has been one of an unmitigated power grab. They keep doing things that are disproportional to the problem that we face in order to set precedent. They declare an emergency and then they give themselves emergency powers that don’t end. Governor Pritzker in Illinois has used the Illinois Emergency Management Act to suspend laws, write up rules that conflict with laws, etc. and all of this says that he has that authority for 30 days. This emergency has been going on for 18 months and nobody has challenged it.”

Some people do as they please and get away with it regardless. It’s a multi-tiered society with official and unofficial ‘royals’.

“Some people do as they please and get away with it regardless.”There are many headlines this week about ‘Prince’ Andrew getting in trouble (lawsuit for sexual assault, coming from an underage sex abuse victim, obviously connected to the trafficker, Epstein) and lots of recycled crap about Bill Gates “regretting” his close connections to Epstein (even visiting him in prison to help him get out of there by reputation laundering). Gates obviously knew what he had done. It was not possible not to know at that stage.

Well, why did he “faint” as reported in the media (he was only concerned about the public finding out) if he is innocent? Why is his wife and his best friends among those distancing themselves from him? Why is he paying Twitter and fearing people who talk about him? One can only speculate, but remember that it wasn’t Microsoft (MSN) that turned in his pedophile engineer, who got arrested for pedophila in Bill's very own home. The tip came from Google because the engineer had passed child pornography through GMail (he also had an MSN account) and then, upon request, Comcast provided additional logs. The nature of these depictions (photos and videos) was particularly disturbing and we’ll refrain from explaining the severity. The amount of material was vast. It was spread among lots or devices, some of them portable.

Prague Castle
Castles with keys held by respective governments to ensure anytime access

“There are many headlines this week about ‘Prince’ Andrew getting in trouble (lawsuit for sexual assault, coming from an underage sex abuse victim, obviously connected to the trafficker, Epstein) and lots of recycled crap about Bill Gates “regretting” his close connections to Epstein (even visiting him in prison to help him get out of there by reputation laundering).”“Apple seriously underestimated the blowback that this would receive,” Ryan has told us in IRC. “Many people who are aware of what they’re doing have followed Apple’s “policy evolution” from “We will absolutely never build a backdoor into our products.” to “We’re building a backdoor into our products and it breaks E2E encryption in everything, including iMessage, just like the governments requested, but it’ll never be used for anything else. Trust us! Oh, and anyone who complains about where this is obviously going is a “screeching whiner”. There are dark days ahead if people passively accept this, and Google is no doubt under the same pressure from the same governments to bake this into Android phones as well. For Apple to do this while advertising privacy, then calling people who want privacy the tinfoil hat club and sympathizers for child abusers is hypocrisy of the first order. Your platform, in this case Apple’s products, are either secured or backdoored. There’s no other state they’re in. No partial backdoor. From here on out, they are backdoored government malware, in total. I predict that many people won’t notice or will fall in line with the “Anyone who wants privacy is a criminal, but I use my iPhone because the billboard said Privacy.” camp. Privacy for who? From what? Nothing that matters at this point. Perhaps if Apple is putting in a scanning program, they can do something about all that iPhone malware that manages to get along just fine even though their users are trapped in the crApp Store. Smartphones are a sewer, but Android is clearly the platform for people who prefer their bullshit out in the open where we can get a good whiff.”

05.08.21

Richard Stallman: Steve Jobs Did Some Very Bad Things

Posted in Apple, Interview at 9:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Dr. Richard Stallman told me about Steve Jobs that he had helped digitally imprison computer users

Direct download as Ogg (00:02:02, 6.7 MB)

03.14.21

What It Means to be a Free Software Operator, Not a User or Consumer

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Digital Dream

Summary: A lot of people lack control over computers (or small computing devices) that they purchase and it’s getting worse over time

THE word “user” (in relation to software, not drugs) has long been mildly problematic because it lessens the role of a person operating some piece of software. Or sometimes a whole computing device. Large technology firms, typically monopolists in some respective domain, try to tell us “master” is a highly offensive word (an opportunistic distortion of this word's meaning and origin) but the word “master” accurately describes what they are to those so-called ‘users’ of their so-called ‘products’, ‘solutions’, ‘suites’ etc.

“It’s about social control, ‘dressed up’ or spun as safety (or health, more so during a pandemic).”First, let’s examine a little bit of background and recapitulate. It’s important to understand the extent to which “users” or “consumers” (who merely buy things) lose control of what otherwise can be general-purpose computers. It gets worse rather rapidly, over time…

Nowadays it’s no longer clear who truly owns a device. Is there a right to repair? To modify? If a buyer of some device lacks the freedom to do as he/she pleases with that device, is that buyer merely footing the bill for a device otherwise truly owned and controlled by the seller, the manufacturer (or the firm putting its brand on the device)? To use a more practical example, when one buys a “Chromebook” (a ChromeOS-running laptop, with an OS based on Gentoo GNU/Linux but controlled remotely by Google), is that just a laptop of Google whose production cost is partly covered by the buyer? Or even wholly by some ‘consumer’ that consumes ads and provides Google with personal data?

A lot of people never think about those things. They ought to.

Years ago, Microsoft and Intel plotted to make it even harder to boot on a computer any operating system other than “approved” ones (approved by them, not the person who supposedly owns the computer). Then, last week, Google and Red Hat (IBM), which played a big role in the Microsoft and Intel plot, worked to achieve the same at a software level. Fronting or relaying their malicious and self-serving intent through a thing misleadingly named Linux Foundation, they took a step towards that goal. Remember this is the same Red Hat which works for and with the NSA. And Google which famously (or infamously/notoriously) put ‘weakened’ – i.e broken — NSA encryption inside the Linux kernel. Google recently pretended to be championing security in Linux, but don’t fall for it. As a famous book puts it, “Google Is Not What It Seems” (it’s vastly worse; it’s also a trolling operation which bribes people).

“Nowadays it’s no longer clear who truly owns a device.”Notice we’ve not yet even mentioned Apple and Microsoft. We assume readers are already aware of the problems associated with them. They even deny users' right to repair their own devices/computers (which they paid for).

Suffice to say, moving away from Apple and Microsoft operating systems may not be enough; there are many operating systems out there that do not respect users’ freedom (or, they treat owners and buyers as mere “users”). We’ve already mentioned ChromeOS, but the most widely user-side (yes, user) operating system is Android. Unless devices are ‘jail-broken’, they will only operate within the artificial limits imposed by Google and its “store” monopoly (Apple’s is even worse and a lot more restrictive in that regard).

Digital DreamSo what does that mean to free (as in liberate) oneself from all those limitations? Being able to boot one’s operating system of choice, install and use one’s software of choice, repair one’s machine, modify/enhance it etc.

National security, often abbreviated as just “security” (to confuse us, conflating one thing with another — a contradictory concept), is a pretext for back doors, surveillance, and censorship. It’s about social control, ‘dressed up’ or spun as safety (or health, more so during a pandemic).

Based on what we’re hearing, the EPO‘s management now uses the pandemic to impose more oppressive (and sometimes illegal) software on staff. Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, the real criminals, are promoting fake encryption. Together with Microsoft they break the law, not just when it comes to granting European software patents (we already leaked evidence of favourable treatment for Microsoft) but also when it comes to violating privacy of EPO workers, as well as everyone those workers interact with.

“National security, often abbreviated as just “security” (to confuse us, conflating one thing with another — a contradictory concept), is a pretext for back doors, surveillance, and censorship.”Based on what we’ve read, it’ll get a lot more difficult for EPO workers to not use Microsoft malware inside their homes, which they share with other tenants. Usually loved ones, such as close family…

But we may have digressed somewhat.

To use a less specific example, many people out there are still under the false illusion of freedom or free will. Their world is superficially being limited, e.g. by what Microsoft considers to be “legal” code in GitHub (i.e. not harmful to Microsoft’s business agenda), what Twitter and Facebook consider to be ‘permissible’ viewpoints (something advertisers benefit from or at least tolerate), what Google and Apple consider to be “good” software (or apps), and what Amazon deems “good actors” (they deplatformed Wikileaks for exposing US crimes a decade before doing the same to Parler for other reasons).

Technology should be and remain decentralised to the degree which is possible. Anything else is ripe or destined for abuse. A lot of people overlook all those issues until it’s too late to do something about them. Even Let’s Encrypt poses such a dilemma [1, 2]. It creates a sort of monopoly and it’s indebted to imperialistic hands.

“Let’s help or at least strive to free as many people as we can, turning so-called ‘users’ into operators of their own machines.”If you are reading this on a “Mac” or a “Chromebook” or some sort of “PC” (this is a euphemism for a computer controlled by Microsoft; it’s typically possible to liberate such a computer without buying a new one), look at gnu.org and study the historical importance of digital/computing freedom. It predates “Linux” by nearly a decade and still pitches the right principles/philosophy. A lot of what was written back in the 1980s is still highly relevant today.

Let’s help or at least strive to free as many people as we can, turning so-called ‘users’ into operators of their own machines.

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