[NetBehaviour] How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue Oct 15 11:10:12 CEST 2013
How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?
Richard Stallman | Wired.com.
Editor’s Note: Given Richard Stallman’s longtime role in promoting
software that respects user freedom (including GNU, which just turned
30), his suggested “remedies” for all the ways technology can be
re-designed to provide benefits while avoiding surveillance — like the
smart meters example he shares below — 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 I’ve advocated for 30 years, is the first
step in taking control of our digital lives. We can’t 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 won’t protect our
privacy once we set foot on the internet.
Bipartisan legislation to “curtail the domestic surveillance powers” in
the U.S. is being drawn up, but it relies on limiting the government’s
use of our virtual dossiers. That won’t suffice to protect
whistleblowers if “catching the whistleblower” is grounds for access
sufficient to identify him or her. We need to go further.
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