09.28.22

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Free Speech is Becoming as Scarce as Independent Journalism (Even at the FSF)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, FUD at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 9cec78b99b8a19d43c0b0b8323b16f19
The Online Speech Police
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Censorious tendencies and authoritarian leanings have put speech (both online and offline) at risk; it has gotten so bad that nowadays it’s difficult to say what’s true and factual if someone’s feelings (or a clique) will be hurt

THE Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced that it is pursuing talks, but reliable sources inside the FSF have told me that talks are closely scrutinised before they’re approved. The screening process is there to ensure that no “undesirable” views get aired. So does the first F in “FSF” also relate to Free speech? It’s complicated. Their IRC network and even their mailing lists are censored. Sometimes out of convenience, not to avoid offense.

“Their IRC network and even their mailing lists are censored.”This isn’t to ‘bash’ the FSF, just to openly and freely state what’s factual. In LibrePlanet 2023, “software patents ought to be addressed,” someone has told us, but they seem to favour lawyers as speakers, not hackers/coders who understand these issues from a technical perspective. I would have submitted a talk on this issue had I not felt the threat of being suppressed (or the talk watered down). Based on what I heard, they do both (censorship and self-censorship), so I choose to instead publish in a platform that I control. “It’s partially online so speakers could be from anywhere,” someone has reminded us, but that in no way tackles the free speech deficit, just aspects of convenience (no need to travel). My response was that if I had given a talk about the EPO or UPC, for instance, “it would have to be self-censored heavily [so] and I’d rather use my own platform…”

Notice how the FSF did not take note of GNU’s anniversary. “Today is the 39th anniversary of the launch of GNU,” we’ve been reminded by somebody. “I would say an important topic would be to get institutions onboard for a proper recognition of the 40th anniversary next year.”

Well, so far the FSF has said nothing. It just celebrated its own 35th anniversary, but that was it. The contribution to it from the FSF’s own founder was a pre-recorded and heavily sanitised ‘talk’. We mentioned that at the time. Are they embarassed of their own people and projects?

Any hypothetical scenario I can think of would prevent me from speaking openly and that’s not limited to the FSF’s LibrePlanet. Nowadays academia is pretty much the same (scholarly environments became very corporatised) and it’s hard to get anything published that contradicts phony corporate narratives. The corporate money (e.g. advertising, grants) reinforces if not cements the monopoly on narrative/s.

“I don’t think I ever saw a LibrePlanet talk (seen a lot) that focuses on corruption,” I noted. Ever since yesterday I’ve thought about it some more. I still can’t think of an example. They set boundaries and those likely include protection for FSF sponsors. The organisation being not revolutionary and not even reactionary (reacting to some of Microsoft's latest competition crimes) is a very big problem. So-called diplomatic and bureaucratic people have decided to ‘police’ the FSF’s speech, making it or shaping it like the SFC, albeit with less funding.

“The corporate money (e.g. advertising, grants) reinforces if not cements the monopoly on narrative/s.”We not only needed Richard Stallman (rms) back in the institution he had founded in 1985. We needed the real rms back. We needed someone who can bluntly spell out the issues, not some career climbers who “leave it to the profe$$ial$” (like inviting lawyers to speak about patents, talking in terms like “IP”).

This problem further extends to another important theme; see “Journalism: “Objectivity” and “Neutrality” Aren’t the Same Thing at CounterPunch (appeasing two misleading camps, sometimes both of which connected to the same companies). And a connected theme is social control media. See “Why Misinformation Spreads So Quickly On Social Media” (e.g. how rms was defamed without any corrections/retractions issued later).

That latter one “ties into the CounterPunch article too; objectivity is not parroting “both sides” but a matter of digging to find what the facts are,” as an associate explains.

We linked to the CounterPunch piece several days ago. The only thing worse than a lack of media or misleading media is social control media because it’s harmful on many levels (some aspects are explained in the video above).

“The only thing worse than a lack of media or misleading media is social control media because it’s harmful on many levels…”“Another theme,” the associate said, “setting aside who said it or maybe not, is that computers used to be about doing work for people and under the direction of people rather than as a means to far people and their attention. Note how far the proprietary company Apple has diverged from its founder since his death.”

“Most software, especially “apps”, are about farming behaviors these days.”

Worse yet, they actively misinform the user and even incite the user against innocent people, sometimes to distract from scandals that haunt the app maker/s.

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