Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 19:12 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Late last year, president Obama signed a law that makes it possible to indefinitely detain terrorist suspects without any form of trial or due process. Peaceful protesters in Occupy movements all over the world have been labelled as terrorists by the authorities. Initiatives like SOPA promote diligent monitoring of communication channels. Thirty years ago, when Richard Stallman launched the GNU project, and during the three decades that followed, his sometimes extreme views and peculiar antics were ridiculed and disregarded as paranoia - but here we are, 2012, and his once paranoid what-ifs have become reality.
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I have yet to see this happen in FLOSS so I suspect your speculation to be wildly off the mark.

You may be right. But I suspect that if FLOSS advocates had enough money to buy laws like large corporations do, we would see some legislation that either outlaws or greatly limits the use of any software that isn't GPL-friendly. But again, this is only speculation on my part; I could be wrong.

In the FLOSS model you don't. You CHOOSE to keep your data private or not. FLOSS gives you an OPTION to do so. I run android and sync my contacts, calendar and email all through my own servers not google's (funambol, IMAP and a caldav server) since I value that privacy. Most users value the ease and free as in beer cost of having google do it for them (the real cost being of course that google gets to use your data as they see fit). Again FLOSS gives the choice here.

Except, let's say you and I are friends and I have your name and address stored on my Android phone. Since I am someone who chooses to sync with Google's servers, that means Google now has the information that you tried to prevent them from having. And this goes for anyone else who has your contact info and syncs with Google's servers. Furthermore, since I use Google Voice, any text messages that are sent between you and I also passes through Google's servers, and is probably archived by them. And since you're using Android as well, it's probably quite trivial for them to link this info up with your phone.

Hence, the reason why I say that privacy is no longer a choice. Even if you try to keep your info private, somebody like me is always going to screw it up ;) That's also why I say it is a lot like piracy; you can try to pass laws that prevent people from sharing information with each other (whether that be copyrighted content or somebody's phone number), but how are you going to prevent this from happening when copying is so easy, and sharing is an integral part of the 'connected' reality in which we live?

Am I saying that this is a good thing? No, I'm not saying it's good or bad, as not everyone who wants or needs your information will desire to do anything 'evil' with it. I'm just saying that it is what it is. You can deny it all you want and try and prevent it like the content industry does, in which case... hope you enjoy pissing into the wind. You may be in favor of sharing only certain things, but the technology that allows for it does not give you the freedom to decide what is sharable and what isn't, unless you never share it with ANYONE.

Edited 2012-01-03 02:26 UTC

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