Be Cautious About 'Digital Handcuffs', Says Stallman

Speaking about the cause, the champion of the free software movement said that users of the proprietary softwares are defenceless against the malicious bugs installed in them which extract personal information and cyber identities

Published: 20th December 2014 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th December 2014 06:08 AM   |  A+A-


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Cautioning the tech-savvy people about the universal snooping propaganda of the technology giants, president of Free Software Foundation Richard Stallman spoke about the unholy nexus of the states with the corporates, in the city.

Stallman, a reputed cyberspace activist and a champion of the free software movement, lashed out at the malpractices of technology giants like Apple and Microsoft, who, according to him, take the users hostage using ‘digital handcuffs’.

Advocating freedom of computing and the Internet, he said that the apparent technology providers often exercise ‘Orwellian Justice’, which peeps into the privacy of users. “Amazon’s Kindle, the e-reader application, is infamous for remotely erasing the purchased copies of the book ‘1984’,” said Stallman.

The American, who refuses to use any sort of cellphone communication, added that in the United States, the National Security Agency (NSA) has installed voice transmitters which can transmit sound even when the gadget is switched off.

“It is more or less the same everywhere, and it is now time to paste stickers on the eye of the big brother,” said Stallman referring to the Dystopia described by writer George Orwell.

Speaking about the cause of his free software movement, he said that users of the proprietary softwares are defenceless against the malicious bugs installed in them which extract personal information and cyber identities.

“Most of the time users would not know of the presence of a spying malware in the proprietary software. Whereas, in a free software, users can control the software and are able to fix the bugs in the programming source code of the programme,” he said.

Stallman also dissented with the modus operandi of technology giants whose hardware products are designed to work only for proprietary softwares which the corporates mandate. He advocates the method of reverse engineering to make hardware compatible with free software.

However, he added that it is essential to know the intricate specifications of the hardware components which, often, the companies keep secret so as to prevent debugging.

Addressing the regional concerns, Stallman said that it sounded ridiculous to shutdown a website after random accusations of hurting sentiments.

Speaking at a lecture organised by International Centre For Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), he reminded people that the high cost of proprietary software is a method to subjugate people.


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