October 18, 2013

Stallman: How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?

Editorâs Note: Given Richard Stallmanâs longtime role in promoting software that respects user freedom (including GNU, which just turned 30), his suggested âremediesâ for all the ways technology can be re-designed to provide benefits while avoiding surveillance â like the smart meters example he shares below â seem particularly relevant.

The current level of general surveillance in society is incompatible with human rights. To recover our freedom and restore democracy, we must reduce surveillance to the point where it is possible for whistleblowers of all kinds to talk with journalists without being spotted. To do this reliably, we must reduce the surveillance capacity of the systems we use.

Using free/libre software, as Iâve advocated for 30 years, is the first step in taking control of our digital lives. We canât trust non-free software; the NSA uses and even creates security weaknesses in non-free software so as to invade our own computers and routers. Free software gives us control of our own computers, but that wonât protect our privacy once we set foot on the internet.

Read more at Wired Opinion.

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