Facebook is Mass Surveillance, Says Free Software Founder

In an interview with RT, Stallman described Facebook as a "mass surveillance" service. He is quoted saying that "if there is a ‘like’ button in a page, Facebook knows who visited that page. And it can get IP address of the computer visiting the page even if the person is not a Facebook user. So you visit several pages that have ‘like’ button and Facebook knows that you visited all of those, even if it doesn’t really know who you are.”

In the same interview, he compared hacker attacks of the Anonymous to traditional protests on the street and therefore "basically legitimate." Stallman also took a swing at mobile phone operating systems, which are, from the view of the FSF, also questionable. "Those mobile phones are being run by non-free software, so it’s no surprise that they have malicious features in them.” In this specific case, Stallman was responding to a question targeting the Carrier IQ software.

Stallman's views on software and technology are most of the time rather controversial, not just when he carelessly comments on events. In RT's interview, he also refers to "an unauthorized copy" software as being "almost as nasty as an authorized copy of the same program." The reason? Because an a software developer gets paid for an authorized copy and can, as a result, create more commercial, non-free software. In the end, Stallman said, the goal of "freedom" requires a user "to get rid of them both, because they both control you.”

To highlight the evil of non-free software, he noted that he would never accept a million dollars in exchange for having to use an authorized software copy - and would only take the money if he could throw away the software immediately.

Douglas Perry is an author and journalist from Portland, Oregon. His many articles have appeared in the likes of Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, The Oregonian, and several newspapers. He has covered topics including security, hardware, and cars, and has written five books. In his spare time, he enjoys watching The Sopranos.