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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.

  • anonymous32111
    Yes, this is the Theory i have been supporting for years, Facebook is a P.O.S (even tho I have no choice but to use it occasionally, hypocritical eh?). It hurts me to see so many people's only prerogative is facebonk on the internet. Not me, FOREVER ALONE, /tear
    Reply
  • ananthu123
    Its tool ate now that we're all addicted to facebook. Windows is the same, Linux may be a hundred times better, but I've never felt that ease or comfort with ubuntu or Fedora like i have with Windows- of course, it may just be a matter of taste.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    What's scary about social media in general is that personal information about you, that normally would be difficult for others to obtain, is now freely given because "everyone else is doing it too". I don't think George Orwell would have predicted this.
    Reply
  • sirmorluk
    Never used Farcebook, never will. All these data mining sites are garbage.
    Reply
  • spasmolytic46
    +1 for the greybeards.
    Reply
  • house70
    I agree with his ideas, in general; however, he needs to put these in a more organized way, work a bit on his grammar, and do something about that look, 'cause...damn.
    He must work on his credibility on every aspect, not only on his ideology. This is an audio-visual era we live in, for crying out loud.
    Reply
  • dickcheney
    I thought that was obvious given the ''Patriot'' Act...

    I have no account.
    Reply
  • dickcheney
    ''So you visit several pages that have ‘like’ button and Facebook knows that you visited all of those,''

    Nope, my NoScript doesnt allow it.
    Reply
  • Star72
    I have an account but visit the site maybe once every 2 months. I personally can't stand the site & only joined to keep in touch with a couple friends who I don't see hardly ever. So many people addicted to FB, it's disturbing to me. I prefer my life to be more private, so I stay away as much as I can. I have to tend to agree with this man's ideas though, even if he's related to Grizzly Adams. ;)
    Reply
  • sirmorluk
    Star72 Grizzly Adams.Showing your age. :P
    Reply