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Long reads: RMS’s quest to save us from a web of spyware and from ourselves

This recent profile of Richard Stallman from Psychology Today describes RMS’s quest “to save us from a web of spyware — and from ourselves.” By using proprietary software, Stallman believes, we are forfeiting control of our computers, and thus of our digital lives. In his denunciation of all nonfree software as inherently abusive and unethical, he has alienated many possible allies and followers. But he is not here to make friends. He is here to save us from a software industry he considers predatory in ways we’ve yet to recognize.

From the article:

Richard Stallman, a software advocate affiliated with MIT, doesn’t really wear hats, but he’s been known to don tinfoil. In 2005, while attending a U.N. technology summit in Tunisia, he received a photo badge with a radio-frequency identification chip. Disgusted, he purchased a roll of aluminum foil, covered his badge, and handed sheets out to others. Tunisian security nearly blocked him from giving his talk. “By covering our badges,” he later noted, “we could prevent our movements within the summit, and our movements outside, from being scanned; we could also make a visible protest against the surveillance society that many governments are trying to impose.” A fellow delegate blogged that Stallman had “a legitimate gripe, handled with Richard’s usual highly visible, guileless, and absolutely unsubtle style of nonviolent protest.”

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