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Richard Stallman: It's Not Wise to Trust Your Files to Any Company... You Lose Legal Rights If You Do That (Updated)

Summary: Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, talks about storage in so-called "clouds" (I made an error by referring to ownCloud as "myCloud"; around then NextCloud was becoming a thing, as staff defected)

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Direct download as Ogg

Update: Transcript added below.


(intro music)

Roy: What do you think about online storage services such as DropBox and Google Drive and all sorts of services that are either hosted by another company or hosted by yourself using proprietary software?

RMS: Well, those are two totally different issues but DropBox is, I think it is possible to use DropBox just to save files on


without running non-Free Software but the files are completely an open book to DropBox. So I'm pretty sure the NSA gets to see them too somehow. And I think it's not wise to trust your files to any company unless they have been thoroughly encrypted with Free Software on your own computer first. And in addition it shouldn't be encrypted file


by file because the NSA might still learn something from that. If you want to have the same legal rights that you have keeping the files yourself in your home, then you must not entrust them to a company. You lose legal rights if you do that.

Roy: What is your take on MyCloud?

RMS: I don't know what it is. I don't like the word "cloud" because it's a nebulous term that confuses. And it's used for


various different things and gives people the idea, the impression, that those things are all similar. But I don't know what "my cloud" is.

Roy: In very short, basically a bunch of former SuSe employees created the software, Free Software, that you can host on your own server, possibly at home, and then store files on it and make it available to more users on the network.

RMS: Well, maybe this is ok. Did you say it's Free Software?


Roy: Yes.

RMS: Well, then I don't see anything wrong with it, at least not at this level. I mean there might be some details one can criticize but I don't know those details. So maybe it's good.

Roy: What do you make of the fact that it's becoming increasingly hard to listen and to tune into all sorts of videos and multimedia on the web anonymously and services seem to be eager to get a person's identity.

RMS: Well I have never done that,


you see. The videos tend to be distributed in patented formats which I've always urged people not to distribute in.

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