For current political commentary, see the daily political notes.
RMS' Bio | The GNU Project
Nonfree software required
Terms of Service
For the sake of everyone else's freedom, it is my duty not to post anything on Youtube, or refer people to anything on Youtube. Although it is true that they could bypass the problem by running youtube-dl, I expect most users would view the Youtube page in their browsers with nonfree software, and I don't want to send people in that direcion.
You can post an audio or video file on your own web site. Just put up the WebM file and link to it as if it were an ordinary page. All browsers can handle that.
The ad-blocker is proprietary software, just like the program (Google Play) that Google used to deny access to install it. I would refuse to have either of them on my computer. Using a nonfree program gives the owner power over you, and Google has exercised that power.
The article talks about what Google cites as its motive for doing this, but the motive is irrelevant — because it's not an excuse.
Google "sanitizes" its total search logs, then publishes them; but it declines to describe the process of "sanitization", and there is evidence that users can be tracked through them.
The article also mentions two-factor authentication, which in and of itself could be a useful technique (though I've read that crackers can now defeat it), but has the flaw of requiring a mobile phone. My rule #2 for digital security is not to have a mobile phone.
Google has found a way to track most credit card purchases in the US, even those not done through a phone, and correlate that with people's online actions.
Google can't do either side to me, since I pay cash and don't carry a mobile phone, and it doesn't know what web sites I look at.
Merely asking users' "consent" for this is not enough to legitimize it. We know that most users have given up on reading just what they are "consenting" to, and the reason is that they are accustomed to being told, "If you want to use this service, you must consent to blah blah blah."
To truly protect people's privacy, we must stop Google from getting this personal information in the first place!
Google stores a huge amount of data on each user. This can include, in addition to the user's search history and advertising profile:
Facebook and Google joined with ISPs to defeat a privacy initiative in California.
Collecting the many ways Google is involved with US government surveillance, abroad and in the US, amounts to quite a package.
This is not a malicious functionality of a program with some other purpose; this is the software's sole purpose, and Google says so. But Google says it in a way that encourages most people to ignore the details and remain unaware of the extent of the spying. Anyway, mere consent does not legitimize massive surveillance.
Amazon and Google want "smart" gadgets to report all activity to them.
In other words, if you have a "smart" (read "spy") lightbulb with that proposed feature, and tell an Amazon or Google listening device about it, thenceforth any time you switched it on or off no matter how, it would send a report to Amazon or Google.
Even today, the only way to make "smart" products safe is to ensure they cannot connect to anyone else's systems.
Another piece of Google's surveillance capitalism: when stores mail receipts to a gmail.com account, Google figures out and records who bought what.
I think that the store itself should not get this information, which is why I always pay cash and never give my name.
It should be illegal to put any "terms of service" on a physical product. It should also be illegal to close an account on a service without letting the user download whatever was stored there.
These events provide another reason why schools must never ask a student to use a service account linked to the student's name.
This will help the illiberal Pakistani state suppress dissent.
Google is deleting porn artists' porn videos from their own private accounts, quietly and mysteriously.
Never trust a remote storage company to keep anything but a spare backup copy. When you store that, put your files into an archive and encrypt it so that the company can't tell what's in them — not even their file names.
Vox lawyers got Youtube to take down criticisms of a video published by Vox, and threaten the critics with punishment, too.
The videos were almost surely fair use, but Youtube decided against the critics anyway. This shows how Youtube's general submission to the copyright industry constrict's people's rights.
Support is growing for reverting US antitrust law to what it was before Reagan weakened it. That is why Google is using its influence to weaken those that campaign against this.
How I Got Fired From a D.C. Think Tank for Fighting Against the Power of Google.
Copyright © 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 Richard Stallman
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