English [en]   français [fr]   русский [ru]  

BREAKING: Knocking Down The HACIENDA

GNU hackers opened the GHM by revealing the offensive HACIENDA global surveillance program for TWD, and how to knock it down with stealth TCP services! Watch it now!

RMS on Radio NZ - October 2009

Saturday 3 October 2009 / approx. 9.05 am NZST

Radio New Zealand National / Saturdays with Kim Hill
Interview between Kim Hill (presenter) and Richard M Stallman

Transcript by Jim Cheetham <jim@inode.co.nz> with permission from Radio New Zealand.

Interesting sections

[00:00]
KH
We spoke to Richard Stallman a while ago last year about his campaign for Free Software. He's a hero, of course, of the movement; launched the Free Software Foundation, campaigns against software patents and extensions of copyright laws. His battle is, as he told us last year, against what he calls extreme capitalism. His GNU operating system with Linux was the first Free operating system that could run on a PC. Richard Stallman says “it's all about freedom”, a cause which goes beyond software; and we could talk about the others he's identified, surveillance and censorship, because he joins me now, hello.
[00:40]
RMS
Hello
KH
Let us talk about surveillance and censorship. I've been looking at your personal website and you're talking about fingerprinting of air travelers, for example, which is something you're very hot about.
RMS
Yes, I urge people to refuse to go to the US where they would be mistreated that way.
KH
Why is that mistreatment, do you think?
RMS
Because it's too much information to collect about people who aren't criminals. And by the way for the same reason I will not ever go to Japan again unless they changed that policy, which makes me sad, but one must …
[01:19]
KH
It's not justifiable in order to make sure that terrorists aren't getting on the plane?
RMS
There's no need. Basically terrorism, and by the way we don't really know who was behind the September 11th attacks in the US, we don't know whether it was a bunch of Muslim fanatics, or it was a bunch of Christian fanatics and the White House. We do know that Bush corrupted and sabotaged the investigation when he was unable to prevent it from happening.
KH
So, are you an advocate of the conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11?
RMS
I can't say … first of all I think it's unfair — we know that the attack was a conspiracy. All the theories are conspiracies.
KH
Well, all right, the conspiracy theory for example, that has the Bush administration staging the 9/11 attack in order to justify …
RMS
I don't know. The only way there could ever be proof of that is with a real investigation, but when you have a government not allowing a real investigation of a horrible crime then you've got to suspect that they're hiding something. Now I can't know for certain what they're hiding, but I want a real investigation to be carried out with the power to subpoena anyone possibly concerned, including Bush, and make those people testify under oath and show them no deference that everyone else wouldn't get.
KH
Putting 9/11 aside then because we haven't got time here to go into the various theories about what could possibly have caused 9/11, there is undoubtedly a thing called terrorism.
RMS
Yes, but it's a minor problem. More people died in the US in September 2001 from car accidents than from a terrorist attack, and that continues month after month, but we don't have a Global War on Accidents, so basically politicians used a real danger, but not the world's biggest danger, as an excuse for what they want to do, which is … and remember that these governments are much more dangerous, it's quite clear that Bush's invasion of Iraq was far more destructive than anything non state-sponsored terrorists have been able to do — that's assuming that those terrorists in September 2001 were not state-sponsored, which we don't know — but the point is, what Bush did by invading Iraq, using those attacks as an excuse, was tremendously worse and we must remember than governments gone amok can do far more damage than anybody not state-sponsored. After all, governments have a lot more men under arms and they don't have to hide the fact that they have men under arms, so they're in a much bigger position to do damage, so we must be concerned about letting them have too much power. A world in which the police can easily do whatever they'd like to do is a world in which the police are a threat.
[04:30]
KH
Last time we spoke, and we were talking about the issue of Free Software, but specifically in relation to that you doubted that President Bush's successor, who we now know is Barack Obama, would be pretty much any different from Bush.
RMS
He's a little different, but I have to say he's small change. On human rights issues he's not very different. He's still in favor of keeping people in prison, without charges, indefinitely, and you can't get much worse than that in terms of human rights.
KH
Well except he's addressing Guantanamo Bay.
RMS
Well that's just one of the places where it's done, it's done also in Bagram in Afghanistan, and I really don't see why it would be better to move those people to Bagram. What has to be done is charge them or release them. They're entitled to that.
KH
Yeah, they may be entitled to that but he's also democratically elected President who …
RMS
That doesn't mean he's entitled to violate human rights.
KH
No, but would the American people be in favor of the release of those …
RMS
I don't know.
KH
… that's got to be a consideration.
RMS
No it's not, if they're not that just makes them responsible.
KH
I know you're …
RMS
I don't think I can excuse massive violations of human rights by saying that the public is maddened and supports it. Especially, why are they so maddened? Because of a constant propaganda campaign telling you “Be terrified of terrorists”, “throw away your human rights and everyone else's because you're so scared of these terrorists”. It's disproportionate, we have to keep these dangers in their proportion, there isn't a campaign saying “be terrified of getting in a car” but maybe there ought to be.
[06:23]
KH
Most airline security, getting back to the fingerprinting issue, you've said is just for show.
RMS
A lot of it is, not all of it is, I'm very glad that they have reinforced the cabin doors so that hijackers can't get at the pilots, OK, that's a sensible measure.
KH
But are you? I would have thought that you would have said “why would they spend money reinforcing the cabin doors because hijackers are a minor issue”.
RMS
I'm not against spending a little bit of money.
KH
You're saying that that issue isn't an infringement of human rights.
RMS
OK, and I don't mind spending some money for safety, I even make some compromises you know on issues of rights, I'm not saying police shouldn't be able to get a search warrant, but they should have to go to a Judge, to present probable cause, to keep them in check because police are very dangerous when they run amok, as people discovered a few months ago in London, when the police did run amok, and they killed somebody who was trying to walk home past a protest, and he couldn't get home because the police were just deliberately blocking the streets, and then they hit him. And then they lied about it too, which they typically do. Whenever the police attack someone they lie about him, they lie about what they did, and they lie about what he was doing, to make it sound that they were justified in mistreating him in the first place, it's standard practice, they're like an armed gang.
[08:02]
KH
If you don't agree with surveillance, is there any way that you would accept that it might be quite a handy thing, CCTV …
RMS
Wait a second, your view of surveillance is oversimplifying things, what I see happening with computers is they make possible a form of total surveillance which wasn't feasible in the past, even governments like Romania under Ceaușescu, or East Germany with the Stasi, they did a lot of surveillance but it took a lot of people working on it and even then it was limited what they could actually watch and record because it was so hard. Now, we're entering a kind of surveillance society that has never been seen before …
KH
You're talking about digital surveillance.
RMS
Yes, but as people do more things using digital technology it becomes easy to keep a record of everything everyone has done, things that weren't done in the past and still aren't done with other media, there's no record of who sends a letter to who for all letters, it just isn't done. But there are records in many countries of who sends an email to whom and those records can be saved for years and we don't know that they'll ever be disposed of.
KH
If you think that governments are not to be trusted, which is a legitimate position of course, and if you think that the police are not to be trusted, again a legitimate position, why can't you feel happier about digital surveillance and CCTV surveillance given that it may well give the people more protection.
RMS
Oh, I'm all in favor of the right to make and record videos, such as when you're on the street or when you're watching a protest or whatever, I'm concerned about systematic surveillance.
KH
What is that, systematic surveillance?
RMS
Well suppose the police set up a camera that always watches the street, and connects it to a face recognition program and make a database of everyone who passes, that's systematic surveillance. Now if you walk down the street and maybe you see somebody you know and you recognize him, that's not systematic surveillance, that's a whole bunch of people knowing something, there's nothing wrong with that, that's just what life is.
[10:26]
KH
What makes systematic surveillance more sinister to you?
RMS
Because we know that there's a tendency for many different governments to treat dissenters as terrorists, and investigate them using laws that were set up supposedly to help them prevent terrorism. We know also that they tend to sabotage political activities, and this is dangerous.
KH
What's wrong with being investigated?
RMS
Well, it depends if the government's investigating you because you're a political dissident, there are a lot of things they could do to harass you. One thing I remember was in England, a busload of protesters, they were on they way to a protest, the police stopped their bus and drove them away from the protest, and they cited a law that had been passed to supposedly prevent terrorism. Well this is sabotaging political activity. And then another thing that happens I know in England, is people have been prosecuted for copies of texts that they have, you know reading is sometimes illegal, it's really dangerous. What we see is a global tendency for governments to bring out the worst side of themselves with terrorism as the excuse, so we must be on guard against that, that's potentially a much bigger danger than the terrorists it's supposed to protect us from. I don't have to say that they don't exist, or that they're no danger at all.
KH
No, the difficulty is being on guard against the danger that you've cited, without giving quarter to …
[12:20]
RMS
Ah, no I don't see it's any problem at all. Police have lots of things they can do to investigate people and it's more all the time and whenever there's a specific reason to suspect particular people they can basically get permission to search whatever. So OK, that's necessary, but beyond that we've got to be careful not to go, and the digital surveillance society goes far beyond that, there's a tendency to keep records of everything, check everything. In New York City for instance a taxi driver told me he had been required to install a camera which transmits by radio people's faces to the police where they run face recognition over it. I don't think that should be allowed. I don't mind if they have a system that records people's faces and keeps it for a week in case somebody attacks the taxi driver, that's not going to do anything to us if we don't attack taxi drivers. We can make use of surveillance technology in ways that don't threaten people's rights but we've got to make sure we use them in those ways.
KH
How come you can justify people being treated as if they're going to attack taxi drivers …
RMS
But you see there the point is, those are not looked at unless there's a crime to investigate and then they get erased if it's done right, but the way it's actually being done in New York City is they're sent to the police, and the police keep track of who goes where, and that's what scares me. Having all the information about what you do available to the police for years in the past whenever they want to look. Well part of what I do about this is I don't buy things with credit cards unless it's something where they demand to know who I am anyway, I don't use a credit card or any digital method, I use cash, and that way Big Brother's not making a database of every place I've been, that I bought anything in, what I bought.
[14:25]
KH
As a matter of principle, rather than …
RMS
As a matter of principle. It's not an issue of convenience.
KH
You don't do quite a lot of things actually.
RMS
Yeah, I don't carry a cellphone because I really don't want to be telling Big Brother where I am all the time, every place I go.
KH
Is that why?
RMS
Yes, that's why. Well now there's another reason. Today, cellphones are powerful computers and there's no way to run one without proprietary software.
KH
I thought that would be your main reason.
RMS
Actually there is one you can get, although they're not producing it anymore, it didn't work all that well, it's Mark One. So that's another issue, but that didn't exist, that issue wasn't there when cellphones first came out, people didn't install programs in them, they were just fixed appliances, but they have always raised the issue that they're constantly saying where you are, and I just don't want to participate in a system like that, I think people shouldn't. It would be very convenient for me to have a cellphone, I'm not one of those people who would, who says “I resent the fact that people can call me”, it's convenient when people can call me, but I'm not going to do it that way.
[15:33]
KH
It's interesting that your battle for Free Software and the issues of freedom that you identify intersect. They didn't start out being the same — or did they?
RMS
Well they didn't start out being the same. Pervasive digital surveillance wasn't a big problem twenty-seven years ago.
KH
But the people who were in charge were still the people who were in charge, the people who you identified as the people you didn't want to see …
RMS
Well actually they're not the same people. Proprietary software's mostly controlled by various private entities that are developers, maybe Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Amazon, they're all distributing proprietary software.
KH
I would have thought you'd identify them all as forces of extreme capitalism.
RMS
Well I'm sorry, when I say extreme capitalism I'm talking about a philosophy, and that philosophy says “the market should control everything, everything should be for sale, and business should be allowed to dominate politics and get the laws it wants”, which is very different from mere capitalism, which says “within a society which we set up to protect peoples rights and so on, there are lots of things that people should be free to do, and make businesses to do them, as they wish”. That difference is why today's form of capitalism is running wild and why we see free exploitation treaties which basically undermine democracy and turn it in to a sham.
KH
What are you talking about there?
[17:24]
RMS
Well, the so-called Free Trade treaties, which I don't like to call that, they're designed to transfer power from our governments to companies. They all do this in one way, which is they let companies threaten to move to another country, or move their operations; and so any time the people are demanding that a government protect the environment, or the public health, or the general standard of living, or anything else that's more important than just who's going to buy and sell what, companies can say “we're against this, and if you do this we'll just move our operations elsewhere” and the politicians now have a wonderful excuse for why they're not going to do it. Of course it was they who decided to adopt that treaty in the first place which they shouldn't have done. But then a lot of these treaties go beyond that, and they explicitly deny democracy. Now the US had a law that said it wouldn't sell tuna — you weren't allowed to sell tuna in the US if it had been caught in a way that endangered dolphins. Well that law had to be scrapped because of the World Trade Organization, that's just one example.
KH
Because it was regarded as a trade barrier.
RMS
Exactly. Then NAFTA, which is between the US, Canada and Mexico, allows companies to sue the government if they believe some law reduces their profits; effectively saying the highest value in society is how much money a company can make, and anything that gets in the way of that, we owe them.
KH
Of course, we're in favor of Free Trade here, Richard, because we rely on it …
RMS
Well I'm not in favor of free trade beyond a certain point. The people who are in favor of Free Trade say that it can make everyone more prosperous and that's true up to a point, and that point is where it starts subverting democracy. But the point of these treaties is precisely to stretch free trade to the point where it does subvert democracy. And you can see business think-tanks reporting how they expect in a few decades governments will have much less control over what goes on in the world and business will have more control. What they're predicting is essentially that these treaties will march on.
[20:08]
KH
One of the other things you don't do, is you don't drive a car, is that right?
RMS
No, that's not true, I don't own a car. I do have a driver's license.
KH
OK, one of the other things you don't do is you don't own a car.
RMS
Yeah, well that's to save money. I live in a city.
KH
No philosophy.
RMS
No, I don't think it's wrong to own a car, it's good if we all drove somewhat less.
KH
I thought that it was because of the proprietary software in cars.
RMS
Now that's an interesting issue. I have appliances, I have a microwave oven which might have some proprietary software in it.
KH
And you fly in planes.
RMS
Yeah. Well I don't own a plane though. I don't boycott everybody who uses proprietary software. If a company uses proprietary software I say that's too bad for them, but I'm not going to punish them by boycotting them, what I will try to do is explain to them why they deserve to have control over their computing rather than letting somebody else control their computing.
[21:05]
KH
What are you going to tell the Library and Information Association Conference with regard to copyright and community?
RMS
Well, I'm going to explain why copyright law today is an injustice, because it forbids sharing, and sharing is absolutely essential. People must be free to share, so the New Zealand Copyright Law that was adopted about a year ago, and only one of several unjust things in it was temporarily withdrawn, that went in the wrong direction, but it was already too restrictive, people must be free to non-commercially share exact copies of any published work.
KH
So just let me … how would this work, for a moment? I write a book, I spend, you know, five years of my life writing a book.
RMS
Well who knows, maybe you do it in a month.
KH
Maybe I don't do it in a month.
RMS
The point is, you do it by choice. People wrote books before there was copyright. I think you're going about this backwards. It's your choice whether to spend time writing, and the main reason most writers spend their time writing is because they have something they say they want to write and they hope people will appreciate it. It's only a few who get enough money that it starts to corrupt their spirit.
KH
Don't most societies want to, and they don't do it fantastically efficiently, but to some extent they try to encourage people to write.
RMS
Oh, I'm all in favor of encouraging people to write.
KH
Now how would you encourage people to write?
RMS
Well first of all remember that I'm not talking about abolishing copyright on artistic works, I'm saying that people must be free to non-commercially share them. Commercial use would still be covered by copyright as it is now.
KH
If I can print off a whole book and pass it on, and they pass it on, pass it on, pass it on, pass it on, as an author I'm not going to sell many.
RMS
Well that may be so, or may not be. I've seen people claim that it's only works that are bestsellers that are likely to sell less, because remember if you're not a big hit and people pass along copies what they're doing is getting you more fans. If you're not a bestseller then what you mainly want commercially is exposure, and this is a way you'll get more exposure, and without having to pay for it either, and without having to give control to a company that would take most of the profits anyway.
KH
So hang on, the only reason an author would want exposure would be to increase the sales of their next book.
RMS
Oh no, no no no no no. Only the ones who've been morally corrupted and are no longer yearning to be read and appreciated, that's what they start out wanting, and a few, only a few get rich, and then those few who get rich, when people are paid to do something that they originally did from pleasure or a yearning, they tend to start wanting the money more, and the thing that they used to yearn to do, they want less.
KH
So if being read and appreciated is what authors want …
RMS
Well they start out wanting. Those who have got rich, some of them want to be rich.
KH
Well we'll forget about those because you're implying they write bad books as a consequence.
RMS
No I'm not saying that they're all bad, I'm not making a simple generalization like that, I say that their feelings have been corrupted, that doesn't necessarily mean their books are bad, I enjoy some of them. The point is that that's not a typical author.
KH
But a typical author you seem to be condemning to even more penury.
RMS
Oh no I'm not, you're mistaken.
KH
If they cannot sell the book …
RMS
You're mistaken, you're making a projection which people who know more about this disagree. Cory Doctorow who has been a bestselling author puts all his works on the net and he doesn't even think he sells less.
KH
So people still go out and buy the hard copy from the shop?
RMS
Yes they do.
KH
Even though people can pass his book from hand to hand willy-nilly.
[25:31]
RMS
They can do that anyway you know with printed books, that's the motive for e-books. E-books are designed to stop you from doing things like lending the book to your friend or selling it to a used bookstore and borrowing it from a public library. They're designed to turn public libraries into retail outlets. And the reason they do this is they want to establish a pay-per-read universe. They're following the twisted logic that says the most important thing is how much money people pay and everybody who reads had a debt, now owes money and he has to be made to pay. I think this is entirely twisted and I'm against it, because the freedom to share must be respected. But I have other proposals for ways to support artists. And remember the current system mostly supports corporations, so I don't think it works very well. And it makes a few authors quite rich, and those get treated with great deference by the corporations, and the rest basically get ground into the dust. My proposals — I have two, and another that combines them — one proposal is support artists using taxes, it could either be a specific tax on Internet connectivity or general funds, it wouldn't be a tremendous amount of money by comparison with other government expenditures, and then you divide this among artists by measuring their popularity, but you don't divide it in linear proportion, 'cos if you did that a large portion of this money would go to making superstars richer and it's not needed, what I propose is take the cube root of the popularity.
KH
How do you assess their popularity?
RMS
You could do it with polling.
KH
How polling? Internet polling?
RMS
All sorts of polling, there's public opinion polling and anything, use a sample, the point is you don't ask everybody, nobody's required to participate. But you use a sample, and you use that to measure popularity.
KH
I'm just holding that thought, popularity. You're equating popularity with merit?
RMS
No I'm not, but I'm saying you don't want bureaucrats to be deciding who gets these funds. So this is one way, you could do it by polling, after all the current system bases it on popularity to some extent. Take the cube root, so if A is a thousand times as popular as B, A will get ten times as much money as B, so this way it's the counterpart to a progressive income tax. So this way, yes if you're tremendously successful you do get more, but you don't get tremendously more, and most of the money goes to support a large number of artists of mid-range popularity.
KH
And tell me again, where does the money come from?
RMS
It comes from taxes. It comes from all of us.
KH
General taxes.
RMS
Could be general taxes, or a specific special tax. Either way is OK.
[28:42]
KH
Why don't you just ask people, if you're basing it on popularity, why don't you just ask people just to send in the money?
RMS
Well that's my other proposal. If every player had a button to send a dollar I think people would do it often, after all the main reason we don't do it is how much trouble it is. It's not that you or I would miss a dollar, I often would be glad to send a dollar to some artists, but how am I going to do it? I need to use a credit card and identify myself and I need to find where to send it to them and that's a lot of work. Well, this button, which I hope would be implemented in an anonymous way, would take away all the work, it would be totally painless to send a dollar, and then I think a lot of people would do it.
KH
What about getting rid of taxes entirely, and giving us all the power to direct …
RMS
I'm not against taxes.
KH
I'm not suggesting you are, but I'm asking you why not?
RMS
Because we need to make sure that rich people pay their fair share, which is a bigger share than what poor people have to pay, to keep society going. We need a welfare state, at least at our current level of technology and the way society works, we need a welfare state, and the rich shouldn't be exempt from funding it.
KH
Does it not matter that your popularity contest for artists may let the rich completely off the hook?
RMS
Well, I'm not sure it matters. Supporting artists is desirable but it's not a matter of life and death in the same way that giving poor people food and shelter and medical care is, whether they're artists or not.
KH
I don't know, I think that if you look at society it's made up of all sorts of things that are contingent on one another for the health of the society.
[30:47]
RMS
Yes, but I don't want to have one answer for every question in society. I'm not a proponent of a very simplistic political philosophy, and I hope that that's visible. There are such people.
KH
Yes, I'm sure there are. No, God no, I would never ever accuse you of being an advocate of a simplistic political philosophy :-)
RMS

There are people who are totally opposed to copyright and criticize me for not going far enough, but what I say is that works whose use is to do practical jobs, these works must be Free in the sense of the Four Freedoms that define Free Software. You've got to be free to republish them, to modify them, publish your modified versions, because this is what the users of the works need in their lives. But of course there are lots of works that don't, that contribute to society in other ways, they're not functional practical works.

Art for instance, the contribution of an artistic work is in the impact it makes on your mind, not in whatever practical job you might figure out how to do with it sometime. And then there are works that state people's opinions and thoughts and what they've seen, which is a different way that works can contribute to society, and I have different recommendations for these. But the freedom to non-commercially share, that must be respected, and that's why the new New Zealand Copyright Law and the old one were both unjust, and the purpose of the new one is, specifically the punishing people by disconnecting them from the Internet, the purpose of that is to stop people from sharing, and it's wrong to stop people from sharing, so even if they work out a different way of achieving this unjust goal, the goal is what's wrong, not only the nasty methods that are, because only draconian methods can stop people from sharing.

[32:51]
KH
How do you make your income, if you don't mind me asking?
RMS
From speeches; not all my speeches, a lot of them I give unpaid, and a lot of them I get paid.
KH
And that's how you make your income?
RMS
Yes. I don't spend a lot of money.
KH
And you wouldn't consider that being paid for something you should share happily? It's a donation.
RMS
I'd generally try to avoid having any admission charges. Once in a while I do agree to give a speech at a conference where they're charged people to register but often I will ask them to let the public in to my speech. So, in general I try to have it open to the public without charge because I want as many people as possible to come because I'm working for a cause, after all, and I want to do as much good as I can for this cause.
[33:48]
KH
Do you think that you're winning?
RMS
You know, gradually we are. But of course we still have a lot of opposition, we still have a lot to fight. You know, there's something else in the New Zealand Copyright Law that was adopted a year ago, which is unjust, and it prohibits in some cases the distribution of Free Software that can break digital handcuffs. More and more products are designed with digital handcuffs, that is features to stop the user from doing things. So nowadays when I hear about a new product or a new service my first thought is “what's malicious in that?”, “how is it designed to restrict what you can do?”. And these products are very malicious, for instance there is the Amazon Kindle, it's an e-book reader, and they call it the Kindle to express what it's designed to do to our books.
KH
That's not true :-)
RMS
But it does express what it will do with our books. The point is this product does surveillance, it forces the user to identify herself to buy a book, and Amazon has a list, knows exactly what everybody has bought. Then it is also designed to restrict the user, to stop people from sharing, from lending books to their friends, from selling them to a used bookstore, and various things that with printed books we can lawfully do. Even worse, it has a back door, that is Amazon can send commands remotely and do things to you, we found out about this a few months ago.
KH
Do what to you?
RMS
Well Amazon sent a command to all the Kindles, ordering them to erase all copies of a particular book, namely 1984 by George Orwell. Somebody said that they had burned up the year's supply of irony by choosing that book. So now we know Amazon can remotely erase your books. Now Amazon, after doing this, promised it would never do that again, but our freedom to keep a book for as long as we want, and read it as many times as we want, should not be dependent on any company's goodwill.
KH
Where do you get your books from?
[36:13]
RMS
I buy books from bookstores, yes I go to a store and I say “I want that one”.
KH
And you hand money over for it? Even though you think that that's not particularly a good system?
RMS
Well I didn't say that's a bad system.
KH
Well aren't you handing money over to the corporates rather than the author?
RMS
To a large extent yes, but I'm not going to refuse to buy just because of that, with books actually typically some of the authors do get some money. With academic textbooks they generally don't.
KH
As a matter of interest we've been talking about freedoms, surveillance and digital monitoring, does the extraordinary rise of social networking …
RMS
I buy CDs of music as well even though in that case I know the musicians are not going to get paid, so I'd rather send them some money.
KH
OK. And do you?
RMS
I wish I could, I don't have a way, so I try to convince people to set up the system to make it easy.
[37:16]
KH
I'm sure they're sending us their addresses as you speak. Very briefly, the rise of social networking, is that a concern in terms of privacy for you?
RMS
It is, and I don't use those sites, it's more because I don't have time, I'm busy doing other things. I don't think social network sites are necessarily bad but they lead people into foolish activities. So I think an ethical social network site should warn people, and every time you connect to it it should warn you, “anything you post here might get known to the public no matter how you set up settings about supposed privacy. So if you don't want it published, you shouldn't say it here.”
KH
That's a nice warning. Thank you, it's very nice to talk to you Richard Stallman.
[38:08]
RMS
We didn't even mention ACTA, the secret treaty that New Zealand is negotiating to restrict its citizens, and they won't; they tell publishers what's in the text that they're working on, but they won't tell the public. So the point is that the; many governments, including of course the US are conspiring in secret to impose new restrictions on us relating to copyright and part of their latest propaganda is they call sharing “counterfeiting”. But the point is that this treaty will have provisions to restrict the public, we think, but they won't tell us. This is called Policy Laundering, this general practice; instead of democratically considering a law, which means the public gets to know what's being considered, gets to talk to the legislators, sees how they voted and so on, in secret they negotiate a treaty and then they come back and they say “we can't change the treaty and we obviously can't refuse it, so we're all now, we've just arranged for our country to be stuck with this law.”
KH
And we may well look at that law in a couple or three weeks time.

 [FSF logo] “Our mission is to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software, and to defend the rights of Free Software users.”

The Free Software Foundation is the principal organizational sponsor of the GNU Operating System. Support GNU and the FSF by buying manuals and gear, joining the FSF as an associate member, or making a donation, either directly to the FSF or via Flattr.

back to top