Bonum Certa Men Certa

Free Software Will Become a Critical Discussion Point When 'Commercial Spaces' Perish Temporarily (or Are Permanently Phased Out)

Territorial differentiations blurred

Smog: Work from the office; Work from home

Fat man: What your boss thinks of you at work; What your boss thinks you do at home

Summary: The move from offices to homes is beneficial to the planet; it may not, however, prove beneficial at all to our human rights (especially if we're governed by malicious gadgetry)

THE DAILY Links we post here contain some non-tech news, including purely political news picks. Suffice to say, we watch these things closely. We limit ourselves to tech only when it comes to articles we publish originally. We must focus on subjects we understand better and topics that suit our longstanding audience. Having worked from home since 2007 I feel comfortable covering this subject.

"Suffice to say, those 'apps' are proprietary software (Free software would enable removal of malicious 'features') and suddenly we come to consider the ramification of non-free, user-hostile, malicious proprietary software in the context of "remote work" (actually, working from one's home is more local than remote)."Now, without going into all the pertinent details and references, set aside politics, let's just say it has become apparent (in several large nations) that jobs people can do from home will be done from home for the "foreseeable future" (to quote or at least paraphrase London's Mayor) if not permanently. At the same time we've learned about increasing levels of surveillance, even inside one's own home, using so-called 'apps' particular employers will force workers to install and keep running. Hardly the 'win', eh? The pertinent details may not matter as much as the intention or these attitudinal aspects. Bosses assume they 'own' their workers and are coming to expect that it's acceptable to know what people are doing while 'outside work' (or 'working hours') in their own private spaces. This is bad. It's regressive and potentially dangerous to one's liberties, including freedom of expression, movement and association.

Suffice to say, those 'apps' are proprietary software (Free software would enable removal of malicious 'features') and suddenly we come to consider the ramification of non-free, user-hostile, malicious proprietary software in the context of "remote work" (actually, working from one's home is more local than remote). Is there "no place to hide" so to speak, not even one's own bathroom?

We urge readers and encourage everyone out there to raise the possibility that Free (as in freedom) software would ensure a transition from "the office" to "the home" can still secure all the same labour/workers' rights that were guaranteed in the "older" workplaces. There's no reason for us to accept degradation, such as spying on our loved ones, spying outside working hours, and surveillance in our private spaces, including bedrooms.

"What next? Employers forcing staff to wear "smart" bracelets and maybe microchips with secret code? Pacemaker-like implants that can be remotely taken over? (A subject often discussed by the SFC's Ms. Sandler)."When it comes to the environment -- an issue I care about greatly and many geeks generally relate to -- this whole "remote work" thing (the word "remote" is misleading as the false supposition is that you're "away" whilst home) is a positive thing. But there's potential for harm, especially to our basic privacy, dignity and intimacy.

Debian's Erich Schubert has just published this very detailed article on why "Contact Tracing Apps are Useless" (with focus on Germany) and we recently remarked on the way António Campinos as President of the EPO in Munich violates the privacy of staff in their own homes (Benoît Battistelli violated privacy of staff, visitors, and applicants, even in their own homes, e.g. doctor visits). This is not acceptable. The move to eliminate unnecessary commute isn't meant to be accompanied by abundantly unnecessary 'tradeoffs', such as elimination of personal privacy in one's private space. What next? Employers forcing staff to wear "smart" bracelets and maybe microchips with secret code? Pacemaker-like implants that can be remotely taken over? (A subject often discussed by the SFC's Ms. Sandler).

Funnily enough, in the push for public panic the governments now try to encourage people to install "Contact Tracing" so-called 'apps' and transmit our heartbeats for medical assessment in real time (yes, some already push this far!) whilst openwashing tactics are being used to make these 'apps' sort of 'feel' almost "ethical". They typically outsource the code to a proprietary platform of Microsoft (GitHub), never mind the elephants in the room. Will rhetoric escalate to the point where people without a mobile 'phone' (surveillance device that can also make calls) cannot make any payments because "cash is dirty" (or dumb, or for criminals only) and those who reject "Contact Tracing" be treated like unvaccinated lepers? Stigma is a powerful social control mechanism/driver, just like self-loathing/shame.

The public health crisis is real; but those in positions of power -- looking to oppress for fun and profit -- will not let it "go to waste..."

We must fight back.


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