Bonum Certa Men Certa

Europe Should Embrace Operating System 'Ballots' to Prevent Compulsory Sales of NSA Back-Doored (Windows) Computers Ripe for Espionage

Forced sales of Trojan horses-filled software must end

National Security Agency



Summary: Europe should now limit or ban bundling of Microsoft Windows, which comes with back doors for foreign intelligence that admits engaging in cracking (illegal but commonplace, done with impunity and no accountability)

The British government spends almost $10,000 per year per desktop with a Swiss cheese-like operating system that allows foreign nations to intrude and collect citizens' private data, e.g. criminal records in the British police. When they do this from abroad they're unlikely to face criminal charges and extradition. The British military does the same thing, supposedly choosing an operating system which is simply not fit for purpose (unless the purpose is actually to let the US government take control of the British military). Now that there are massive issues with the computer systems responsible for airports in London it is time to seriously think about the risks taken here, especially after the crash in California (allegedly caused by a dysfunctional, out-of-operation system).



"The British military does the same thing, supposedly choosing an operating system which is simply not fit for purpose (unless the purpose is actually to let the US government take control of the British military)."Any British shop -- or by extension European shop -- which currently forces people to buy Windows with a computer is worth accusing of negligence for selling computers with NSA back doors preinstalled. Such shops cannot claim to have valid reasons other than collusion with Microsoft and backroom deals (we leaked evidence of bribes for endorsement and bundling). Shops can provide DVD images from which to load Windows, in a simple one-button/one-click fashion, for those who require it and pay for it. This would be simpler to implement than a browser ballot, which requires some operating system to already be loaded. An operating systems choice is very vital now because a faulty product with back doors simply should not be sold.

Microsoft is already trying to use hardware makers as a weapon against GNU/Linux because Vista 8 is widely loathed not just by pro-FOSS folks but also businesses. It is an unprecedented failure whose magnitude is disguised by apparent gaming of search results through Microsoft buddies like the The Guardian (bribed by Bill Gates). Microsoft also tried to gag Sinofsky with a $14 million bribe and it achieved it with "non-disparagement clauses" that can be seen here. As Pamela Jones put it: "I'd call that the operative sentence behind the agreement. I gather he was asserting claims, maybe not yet in court filings, but telling Microsoft he believed he had such claims. That would explain all the other language about not talking disparagingly about Microsoft. And what might this be? "(v) continue complying with certain provisions of the Microsoft Corporation Employee Non-Disclosure Agreement between Microsoft and him related to intellectual property rights and confidentiality of Microsoft and third-party information." Third party as in who? Mr. Sinofsky won't tell, now, but does he know about NSA PRISM details, one can't help but wonder or is this referring to deals with Nokia and FairSearch and such types? If he were ever forced to testify in a court, this agreement wouldn't keep him silent, of course."

Microsoft tried to gag the outgoing CFOs [1, 2] in a similar way, ensuring they don't speak out about Microsoft's real financial situation.

For those who think that it's only a matter of tilting the rules in favour of GNU/Linux, this is simply not true. It is not as though there are no viable alternatives available to Windows except GNU/Linux. Mark from our IRC channels published "Computers and Operating System Bundling" a few days ago, naming some alternative operating systems which get excluded in the market:

With the increased use and speed improvements of the internet we see a new phenomenon: open source operating systems are distributed via downloading. This includes operating systems such as GNU/Linux, the BSDs, Haiku, Plan 9, Inferno, AROS and many others. By 2008 the Jiangsu Lemote Tech Co releases the Lemote computer with Linux and PMON, a completely open source system.


Almost everything above -- is not strictly everything -- does not have NSA back doors, unlike Microsoft Windows. Why are these not offered as an option to buyers?

If OEMs want an operating system which respect buyers' and developers' freedom at all levels and is highly capable of serving just about every need, then GNU/Linux is a perfect fit. Several OEMs already offer it as a choice but de-ephasisise this option as if software which respects the users' freedom (Free/libre software) is somehow less desirable and needs to be hidden at the corner or the back room (which is the equivalent of what they do online).

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