People Sponsored by Google Are Hiding Sponsorship by Google and Hiding Google Critics

Posted in Debian, Deception, Europe, Google at 1:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is also passing money (to FSFE, to FOSDEM, and many more organisations where strings get attached to payments)


Summary: FOSDEM mailing list hides the critics of Google; it’s becoming part of a familiar pattern

LAST week we wrote about FOSDEM, an event where the Google-funded (predominantly Google but also Microsoft) FSFE plays a growing role. We’ve just caught a glimpse of the following message, which is mostly self-explanatory.

On 31/12/2020 00:50, J. R. Haigh wrote:

> With best intentions and regards,
> James R. Haigh.
> -- Wealth doesn't bring happiness, but poverty brings sadness.
> https://wiki.FSFE.org/Fellows/JRHaigh Sent from Debian with Claws Mail,
> using email subaddressing as an alternative to error-prone heuristical
> spam filtering.

We are not really Fellows any more, FSFE demoted all of us and removed[1] the Fellowship from their constitution. This was done to discredit all of us, but especially me, as Fellows had elected me as your representative.

You mention Debian. Debian received two payments of $300,000, total $600,000. One payment was from Handshake Foundation, they refuse to publicly disclose[2] the other payment came from Google. At the same time, on the same day, 20 September 2018, Debian also joined FSFE in seeking to viciously discredit the winner of the FSFE Fellowship election, myself.

I notice that the messages we both sent to the FOSDEM mailing list about Google were held in moderation for 2 weeks and only released tonight, 10 January, on a Sunday night. It is likely that date-sorting will hide them from the majority of people. It is an odd coincidence, both of our messages delayed/censored, both of our messages mention a sponsor, Google. My own message is now visible[3] in the archive, please check if it is hidden by algorithms in your inbox.

The email I sent is about the safety of women, this is particularly important as multiple women were brave enough to speak up about Google and FSFE in December 2020.



1. https://fsfellowship.eu/2018/09/08/who-were-the-fsfe-fellowship.html
2. https://debian.community/google-money-censorship-free-software/
3. https://lists.fosdem.org/pipermail/fosdem/2020q4/003192.html

Are monopolists going out of their way, using money, to silence critics? People out there might be led to believe that those critics do not exist.



Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 11:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Matthias Kirschner, FSFE, harassment, bullying, women

Summary: There’s still too much American (and corporate) control over the ‘European’ FOSDEM, but the grip is — on least on the surface — slipping slightly

A READER has informed us that the FSFE is now at FOSDEM’s legal devroom, citing this message from SFC. “FSFE has now 2 people as organisers of the legal fosdem devroom,” the reader said, whereas “before it was organised by only 5 Americans.”

Sounds like a step in the right direction (FFII used to complain about this too).

“The good news is, not 100% of the co-organizers are Americans.”But FSFE is largely sponsored by an American company, Google. It also takes money from Microsoft and it has a bunch of other issues, as we’ve covered before. Kuhn and Sandler too are taking money from Google and Microsoft. Richard Fontana works for IBM, not Red Hat (as it says below). It emphasises diversity.

Under “Diversity Statement” is says: “The organizers of this DevRoom are committed to increasing the diversity of the free software movement. To that end, our CFP process takes demographic information into account in order to build a program that features as many different voices and perspectives as possible. If you are comfortable doing so, please share any demographic information about yourself in the “Submission Notes”. Such disclosure is not mandatory by any means.”

Most of them are US citizens (60%), still:

The co-organizers of the FOSDEM 2021 Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom are (in alphabetical order by surname):

- Richard Fontana, Senior Commercial Counsel, Red Hat

- Matthias Kirschner, President, Free Software Foundation Europe

- Bradley M. Kuhn, Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence at Software
Freedom Conservancy

- Alexander Sander, FSFE Policy Coordinator

- Karen M. Sandler, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, Adjunct Lecturer-In-Law Columbia Law School

The good news is, not 100% of the co-organizers are Americans. For a change. But still, notice a lack of community. Kirschner is also directly involved in spite of recent scandals, never mind the whole cause of diversity.

We’re sadly seeing that many NGOs become corporate outposts disguised as voices of the “community” (we mentioned OIN last night); whose community? Follow the money…


Google is Going After What’s Left of Microsoft’s Dominance: MalwareOS or the Installed Base of Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Google is trying to replace one malware-as-OS with another; the latter, however, is at least based on GNU/Linux (Gentoo at the core or the starting point)

TODAY we learned that “Google buys Neverware to turn old [Windows-running] PCs into Chromebooks” — a likely high-impact move considering the market share Windows still has on such PCs (with out-of-support Windows).

Man with binocularsPutting aside buzzwords and brand names like “ClownReady”, “Neverware” and “Chromebook”, what we have here is the possibility of many millions of older computers being converted into GNU/Linux, albeit only a distro Google uses to harvest data about the user/s. Is this good news? Well, that depends on whether we consider a move from Windows to Chrome OS to be a “win” (relatively speaking). As IDG put it a few months back: “Not everyone needs a computer with a full set of bells and whistles. A Chromebook’s simplified interface makes it popular with schools—and those of us who serve as IT support for less tech-savvy relatives. You don’t need to worry about managing irritating updates or avoiding malware on a Chromebook, like you do if you simply install Chrome on an old Windows laptop, and the lightweight operating system feels much snappier than Windows on modest hardware. Chromebooks can cost less than a budget PC, too.”

“This whole situation is a tad awkward; 20 years ago many of us thought that the goal or the final outcome would be adoption of GNU and Linux, not something like Chrome OS.”Not many GNU/Linux distributions are freedom-respecting. They were not in the 1990s, either. Many contained various blobs, so nothing is really perfect. But again, on a relative scale, the shift to Chrome OS can be seen as a “lesser evil” (than moving to Windows). It also weakens Microsoft by directly harming its “common carrier” approach — the monopoly enabler. One could moreover argue that Chrome OS might become a sort of “gateway drug” towards freedom, not because Chrome or Google respect freedom but because the underlying stack has GNU and Linux in it, unlike Windows.

This whole situation is a tad awkward; 20 years ago many of us thought that the goal or the final outcome would be adoption of GNU and Linux, not something like Chrome OS. When I started using GNU/Linux more than 20 years ago (I was 18 back then, I turn 39 today) it was really difficult to browse some sites on the Web because Microsoft “extended” Web sites to discourage use of Netscape and running Netscape on GNU/Linux was sub-optimal. Now we have a whole operating system based upon running everything in a Web browser — the sort of thing we’ve long attempted to prevent Windows from accomplishing (ActiveX and similar stuff). The multi-faceted battle for software freedom is no longer limited to “let’s get rid of Microsoft” or “let’s just put Linux in everything…” (especially when speaking about the kernel, which Android uses to spy on billions of people from their pockets/purses)


The Clown, Send Away the Clowns

Posted in Google, Servers at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Clown

Summary: Clown computing is fantastic… for those who control it and charge rents (without bearing any of the risks/costs/liabilities)

“THE GMAIL” was down

My mail clients frown
The boss came around
To a halt business had ground

“WHEN IS IT BACK?” shouted the boss
“FIX IT NOW!” she repeated

“I can’t,” I replied, “blame the clown!”
“The admins aren’t even in this town!”

Hours have passed
The boss then returned
Along came the CEO
“We’re losing money!”

“ETA unknown”
“The infrastructure we don’t own”
“The whole day you can moan”
“Even shout, even groan”

And then the coin dropped
We merely got duped
“The clown” is no magic
Consequences are sometimes tragic.

“Google outage crashed my Thunderbird so good that the only fix is to delete the ~/.thunderbird and re-add all accounts.”Pete Zaitcev, hours ago


A Closer Look at Richard Stallman’s Ousters From Inside the Free Software Foundation (Board)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FSF, Google, Microsoft at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: Big Money Can Do Big Damage to Membership-Dependent Organisations (Which Should Remain Accountable to Members, Not Big Sponsors)

Summary: A devoted reader of Techrights has studied documents submitted by an organisation that claims to speak on behalf of Free software (while its main sponsor is Google and whilst also selling keynote speeches to Microsoft)

FOLLOWING our screenshots from yesterday we received an interesting piece of feedback from a reader. She sought to highlight something to us. As a decades-long DMCA expert, she decided to look into DMCA exemptions submissions from the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC). This post outlines her findings.

“I was looking over the 17 classes of DMCA exemptions and this one… submitted by the SFC… has a typo.

“I was already noticing the difference between the language from EFF on a different class and the SFC.

“Honestly, the SFC proposals seem broad and self-serving. Also, note no other organizations join the SFC in their proposed exemptions. The proposals are separate from SFC.”

“As an DMCA expert, she decided to look into DMCA exemptions submissions from the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC).”“Just thought I’d mention, wow, not only is the language questionable, the proposed exemption seems self-serving to this org, and there’s a typo!!! This is a very interesting proposal as opposing this may seem to not be in line with community. However, giving orgs like SFC an exemption to police software is rather chilling.”

To quote: “A proposed new exemption for circumvention of technological protetion [sic] measures on computer programs for the purpose of: (a) investigating potential copyright infringement of the computer programs; and (b) making lawful use of computer programs (e.g. copying, modifying, redistributing, and updating free and open source software (FOSS)).”

“While we would like to keep our free or open software free and open,” our source explained, “in the past few decades, any legal action related to a violation of the GPL or other license has really not been positive. Are we expecting the Copyright Office to approve an exemption to allow a wild wild west-style policing of programs without due process or judicial record keeping?

“Take for example the VMware “battle”. In fact, the SFC or Karen [Sandler of SFC] discussed how she was informed of the potential infringement. According to Karen herself, a letter was sent to VMware. She told a group of us, the VMware lawyer laughingly stated something like, “What are you going to do about it!”

“I guess he was right.

“It’s important to understand that the SFC of 2020 is not the same SFC we saw in 2010.”“We would hope others would respect our license(s), as we really should respect their choices also. Do you know of an org with the teeth to honestly pursue an actual infringement?

“That being said, this proposed exemption does not respect those who choose to copyright. While I am not a proponent of copyrighted works, we still need to respect the choices of others.

“Also, I recall in past copyright cases, judges have opened a portion of code relevant to the proceedings with regard to accusations of infringement – as part of the process, but did not open the entire codebase of a copyrighted work. The portion open was publicly noted during the case and there was record-keeping.”

As a reminder, there's no doubt VMWare violated the GPL because insiders say so. Not only that; it was all along deliberate and done partly by people from Microsoft (there was a Microsoft influx at VMware, including the top roles).

“As a developer,” said our source, “I understand if someone were to take open code and close this (a violation of our terms/license), that is not in line with our intentions. However, bypassing technological measures protecting code for simple discovery could very well open a Pandora’s box of issues including viewing copyrighted code not in violation of a license. This seems like policing.

“There is an issue, that could be addressed or proposed in a more specific and determined manner, but not this broadly drafted exemption proposal by an organization sponsored by Microsoft… and the submission has a typo…”

It’s important to undersand that the SFC of 2020 is not the same SFC we saw in 2010. Things change over time; a decade is a very long time.


Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) is Not About Freedom

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not even remotely

SFC and Google

SFC trolls

Summary: As evidence serves to show (latest in [1, 2]), the SFC quit caring about Free-as-in-Freedom-respecting Software a long time ago; it’s about raising money (even from Microsoft) and ‘canceling’ people who actually care about Software Freedom


A Free Speech Deficit Harms Software Freedom

Posted in Bill Gates, Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software, FSF, Google at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Planet Debian: only ‘happy’ stories permitted? Criticism of sponsors not allowed? That would amount to censorship on sale (to those who try to ‘herd’ unsalaried coders).

Debian guys

Summary: Free software and Software Freedom cannot possibly succeed if we keep accepting or even just tolerating systematic censorship of opinionated people in our community; failing to speak out on this matter (for fear of supposedly offending someone, risking expulsion) is part of the problem — complicity by passivity

THIS is 2020. Many people now conflate “free speech” with stuff like racism and even worse things. Sometimes even whistleblowers who say the hard truth are being denied a voice, under the false pretenses that this somehow “defames” a project or employer (last night I read a document to that effect and it astounded me).

“It’s quite likely that somebody out there can make an allegation that we infringe some rules of violate some Code of Conduct; but so what, who made up those rules? And whose interests are promoted/served by such rules?”Justice requires freedom of expression and transparency. Introspection requires speech without fear (of unwarranted consequences). Free software developers who cannot safely express a political view — however unpopular it may be among some groups — don’t really enjoy freedom.

Over the past year or two we’ve seen numerous high-profile people being ‘cancelled’ or partly gagged because they expressed an opinion, either about bad code/conduct — sometimes inside the workplace (personal life) — or something like a bribe in the professional context. It’s hardly surprising that Debian outsourced some of the development pipeline to Google (check who the biggest sponsor is), the Linux Foundation flexed its muscles against the person who ‘merely’ created Linux, and the FSF treats its very own founder like “grumpy racist uncle/grandpa” who needs to be kept silent or read pre-approved scripts. Notice how he (RMS) is not doing any interviews about Free software anymore (hardly any since 2019) and it seems like he’s reluctant or actively obstructed. I sometimes feel/sense he wants to do an interview with us and then changes his mind because he’s afraid to (like someone else isn’t approving that). The “social control media” mob and the FSF (especially Guix petitioners in GNU) silenced our #1 advocate. In RT and elsewhere RMS only speaks (however seldom) about cryptocurrencies, privacy etc.

Earlier this month "DMCA Sucks" released this old video of RMS (almost 20 years old, actually released two decades late).

When tackling corporate crimes and a coup against your movement you’re bound to come across as ‘abrasive’ while reacting. It is expected.

People who have read Techrights since 2006 (there are quite a lot of them; they still follow and support us because we don’t self-censor and we value honesty, facts, truth) very well know that we’re quite unspoken about injustices. It’s quite likely that somebody out there can make an allegation that we infringe some rules of violate some Code of Conduct; but so what, who made up those rules? And whose interests are promoted/served by such rules? They might soon tell us that the word “serve” is also dirty and that “servers” need to be rebranded to avoid causing offence (some already refer to them as “clouds”)…

Under the guise of “manners” we have corporate and oligarchic censorship imposed and enforced upon us.

Bill Gates Paid MIT Through Jeffrey EpsteinQuite frankly, we need RMS to be liberated. He needs to speak out freely, as he used to do until the Bill Gates/Epstein scandal in MIT made the press (so media distraction became more necessary, both for MIT and for Gates). With few exceptions, the media right now is cheerleader and salesman (vaccines) for the Gates Foundation; it’s a mouthpiece for truly awful people who profit a lot from COVID-19 while those of us who rent an apartment after 30+ years of fighting for freedom struggle in a pandemic. This isn’t justice, this isn’t right.


Online Meetings: The Temptation to Censor Tricky Questions

Posted in Debian, Google at 9:43 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock

Early in 2020, at the outset of the pandemic, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, Professor Nils Melzer of Switzerland, spoke out about the growing problem of cybertorture.

I could immediately relate to this. I had been a volunteer mentor in the Google Summer of Code since 2013. I withdrew from the program at an accutely painful time for my family, losing two family members in less than a year. Within a week, Stephanie Taylor, the head of the program at Google, was sending me threats and insults. Taylor’s Open Source Program Office at Google relies on hundreds of volunteers like me to do work for them.

Everybody else in my life, my employer, friends and other non-profit organizations that I contribute to responded with compassion and sympathy. Taylor and her sidekicks chose threats and insults. Taylor had chosen to take the pain from my personal life and drag it into my professional life. Despite exercising my rights under the GDPR and asking her to stop this experiment and get out of my life, she continues to sustain it.

The UN’s Forum on Business and Human Rights is taking place this week. It is online due to the pandemic. In the session about accountability and remedies for victims of human rights abuse, my experience with Stephanie Taylor and Google was at the front of my mind. I’m not the only one thinking about Google as a bunch of gangsters: a British parliamentary report and US Department of Justice investigation has also used terms like digital gangster and unlawful to describe the way that people like this are operating.

Yet when I entered the UN’s online event and asked about the connection from Professor Melzer’s analysis to Google’s wrongdoing, the question vanished. I posted a subsequent question asking why my query was censored and it was immediately subject to censorship. This is the golden rule of censorship: don’t ask about censorship. I never received any correspondence or complaints about the question.

united nations, censorship

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims the right to free speech. Within the first year of the pandemic, the UN has already set that aside, not wanting to offend the Googlers who slink around the corridors of power. If somebody asked the same question in a real world event at the UN in Geneva or New York, would a trap door open up underneath them and make them disappear? Or would members of the panel and the audience need to contemplate Professor Melzer’s work on cybertorture seriously?

If you wish to participate in the final day of the forum, you can use the following links:

daniel pocock, dante pesce, united nations, geneva, palais des nations

daniel pocock, united nations, geneva, palais des nations

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