05.15.21

Richard Stallman’s Talk About New/er Risks to Free Software (Free as in Freedom-Respecting, Libre)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Videos at 9:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Richard M. Stallman (RMS) gave the above talk not too long before the attacks on him intensified greatly, serving to silence him for nearly 2 years

THE video above relates to something covered here last week. In it, RMS explains the issues associated with personal privacy. He explains why so-called ‘phones’ (mobile, cell) are problematic.

“Lately, as in the past few years, some people and groups entertained the use of blockchains for such a decentralisation, but it never quite happened or fully materialised at a government level.”Schools, according to him, are becoming “monsters for imposing proprietary software” and spying on children. “If a schools tells a company even a student’s name, then that school violates this student’s privacy,” he argues, and “when schools create an E-mail account in some company” they also violate privacy. He mentions Google, Microsoft, and Apple among the culprits and asks people in the audience to tackle this problem. He wants to organise a “campaign about this” (that was months before an angry mob sought to deplatform and oust him).

He mentions the EU or a Schengen Web site that’s required for US citizens to visit Europe. He notes the presence of proprietary JavaScript code in the site, which that site requires users to run. Well, Gemini protocol tackles some of these issues, but will Europe adopt Gemini as an alternative/second option? Maybe one day… as Gemini is very popular in Europe.

BodyIf we don’t want a total surveillance society, RMS argues, we need to stop them collecting data, but “it’s reasonable to check the passports of people who enter your country” though it needs to be “kept in a very decentralised way” as that reduces the risk of a mass surveillance society. He warns that China is the ultimate nightmare when it comes to state surveillance.

Lately, as in the past few years, some people and groups entertained the use of blockchains for such a decentralisation, but it never quite happened or fully materialised at a government level. We’re doing our best to enhance decentralisation. Our ‘seed’ IPFS node at home is doing about 80 GB per month. It’s impossible to know how much other people’s nodes contribute to traffic.

RMS explains what the “Internet of spies” (IoT) or “Internet of stings” should be seen as; “spying is the horrible thing,” he says, as “anything they do they report”. He mentions Google’s requirement for “personal assistant” stuff to send everything to Google, even when you ask for the light to be turn on and off. “We are seeing a development of a large conspiracy” of large companies looking to spy on people together, he warns. He warns about Google quite a lot, even more than he mentions Microsoft. He complains about the data collection by Google, including JavaScript of Google. He asserts there’s a “massive conspiracy to pressure people to be spied on” and “listening devices” (that’s what he too calls them) are the “nastiest of all…”

When he speaks of “personal assistants” (the media calls them “smart”) he calls them “listening devices” — something we’ve done for many years. He says that we need to use peer pressure to undermine those things; he knows someone who has such a device and notes: “I no longer speak when I’m there…”

He asks people to keep objecting to such things, saying “they should not be imposing these things on their friends”. “Friends don’t let companies spy on their friends,” he says. Security guru Bruce Schneier is cited about the issues associated with security and risk from crackers. “Free software helps solve that problem,” RMS argues, or at least “gives us a hope of solving that problem,” but “we need the strength to resist”.

It’s a modest video of a talk, about 15 minutes in length, and not too meticulously memorised (he doesn’t do that). He then gives an award to a person who would soon attack him, and not for the first time. At one point he notes that he has a turntable.

Curiously enough, the video shows RMS surrounded by some of the same hyenas who would very soon attack him, possibly to unwittingly distract from the real scandals, such as the brewing collapse of the Gates marriage in the wake of revelations from MIT (illuminating the close relationship between Mr. Epstein and Bill Gates). Maybe media manipulation played the most considerable role in inciting associates of his. The short speech about OpenStreetMap is worth noting too; it’s all about community and sharing.

“An open letter in support of Richard Matthew Stallman being reinstated by the Free Software Foundation,” we might as well note, is currently 14 signatures short of 6,700. Some time this week it’ll get there. No activity in the hate letter for 18 days now. The person being sort of cancelled right now (belatedly, 2 years late) is Bill Gates.

Detractors of RMS love to portray him as not keeping up with new threats or blast him for rejecting “progress”. But RMS clearly understands what’s going on and merely rejecting really bad things (which he foresees as viable threats to human rights) is a strength, not a weakness. Accusing RMS or mocking the FSF for not adopting the latest “shiny things” is just about as dumb as accusing vegans/vegetarians of having no clue what they talk about, for they never bother tasting meat. “They don’t know what they’re missing out on…”

Licence of video: CC BY-ND 4.0

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