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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  2. <html newsdate="2014-08-04" type="newsletter">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>FSFE Newsletter - August 2014</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body class="newsletter article" microformats="h-entry" id="nl-201408">
  7. <h1 class="p-name">FSFE Newsletter – August 2014</h1>
  8. <h2>Privilege and Power</h2>
  9. <p newsteaser="yes">
  10. In the olden days a common citizen of a republic going about their
  11. everyday business was quite, shall we say, free. While tending to their
  12. chores they would occasionally need a new tool or some advice, but the
  13. old Latin proverb <em>scientia potentia est</em> dictated the limits of
  14. their freedom to be the limits of their knowledge: if they needed a new
  15. tool and lacked the knowledge to make it, they became dependent on the
  16. toolmaker only to obtain the tool.
  17. </p>
  18. <p>
  19. In the brave new world it is different: not only do we depend on the
  20. toolmaker when we wish to obtain a new tool, but oft we remain dependent
  21. on them forever after. In the olden days a hammer could be used both to
  22. put stakes in the ground (or vampires) and nail planks atop the
  23. vampire's coffin. Today, the customer buying a general purpose tool has
  24. to pay twice for it: once to put stakes in the vampire and then again to
  25. nail planks atop its coffin.
  26. </p>
  27. <p>
  28. This is great if you happen to be one of the few toolmakers: not only
  29. are they one of the few privileged to be in control of their
  30. own property, but they have also stripped the rest of us of our rights
  31. and have the power to command our tools and hence have the power over
  32. us. Unfortunately, the privilege blinds them to the situation's
  33. revoltingness.
  34. </p>
  35. <p>
  36. Times have not been kind and, in addition to the revolting consequences
  37. of failed regulations and cold, unjust, profit-oriented business logic,
  38. we have been treated with a revelation after a revelation of agencies
  39. and offices founded to protect us, and subsequently given an impossible
  40. mission, preying on us. These developments, while despicable, can at
  41. least be rationally understood.
  42. </p>
  43. <p>
  44. However, it cannot be rationally comprehended why our <em>democratically
  45. elected representatives</em> would seek to entrench these unfortunate
  46. encroaches on our rights, on their own rights. Yet many of them do: the
  47. European Commission is
  48. <a href="/news/2014/news-20140708-01.html">refusing to break Microsoft's stranglehold on the EU</a>
  49. and, as an even more deeply unsettling development, the Communications
  50. Committee of the UK parliament's House of Lords
  51. <a href="">has proposed to end anonymity on the Internet</a>.
  52. </p>
  53. <p>
  54. If the danger to privacy and freedom were not so grave, the latter's
  55. technical ineptitude and arguments utterly unsuitable to the birthplace
  56. of liberalism would be highly amusing. Yet the danger posed by people
  57. who have been corrupted by power or greed is real and our resolve to
  58. confront that danger with more decentralization, security, privacy, and
  59. anonymity must become ever greater.
  60. </p>
  61. <h2>We are all Targets</h2>
  62. <p>
  63. According to
  64. <a href="">new revelations</a>
  65. from early July pretty much anyone in the technological community is a
  66. target for surveillance. Among other activities we have been, or will
  67. be picked out, for visiting the
  68. <a href="">Tor website</a>, reading the
  69. <a href="">Linux Journal</a>, connecting to
  70. <a href="">Mixminion anonymous remailer service</a>,
  71. and downloading <a href="">Tails</a>, a
  72. privacy-sensitive GNU/Linux distribution. These sobering facts ought to
  73. be remembered every hour, every day. In the end our greatest weapon is
  74. developing and promoting projects that will one day land people
  75. interested in them on that very same list.
  76. </p>
  77. <h2>Something Completely Different</h2>
  78. <ul>
  79. <li>
  80. FSFE will have a booth at
  81. <a href="">FrOSCon</a>, where our Vice
  82. President <a href="/about/kirschner/kirschner.html">Matthias Kirschner</a>
  83. will also give a
  84. <a href="">talk</a>
  85. on the demise of the general purpose computer.
  86. </li>
  87. <li>
  88. Our President <a href="/about/gerloff/gerloff.html">Karsten Gerloff</a>
  89. writes about <a href="">evaluating Free Software for procurement</a>.
  90. </li>
  91. <li>
  92. <a href="/about/roy/roy.html">Hugo Roy</a>, our Deputy Legal
  93. Coordinator writes about
  94. <a href="">defensive publications and his work for the Open Invention network</a> at his blog.
  95. </li>
  96. <li>
  97. Matthias writes at his Fellowship blog about
  98. <a href="">the invisible tasks</a>
  99. that are being attended to by
  100. <a href="">Reinhard Müller</a>,
  101. our Financial Officer.
  102. </li>
  103. <li>
  104. Guido Arnold, our Education
  105. Team Coordinator, has finished composing his collection of
  106. <a href="">Free Software in Education News for June</a>.
  107. </li>
  108. <li>
  109. From the <a href="">planet aggregation:</a>
  110. <ul>
  111. <li>
  112. Kevin Keijzer writes about
  113. <a href="">receiving TV using a DVB-T USB dongle</a>. For our
  114. more adventurous readers we suggest tuning the receiver to
  115. 1090 MHz and obtaining an overview of the local civilian air air
  116. traffic as reported by ADS-B transmitters on the aircraft.
  117. </li>
  118. <li>
  119. Sergey Matveev reports on
  120. <a href="">the GoVPN daemon</a>
  121. he wrote in the Go programming language.
  122. </li>
  123. </ul>
  124. </li>
  125. </ul>
  126. <h2>Get Active!</h2>
  127. <ol>
  128. <li>
  129. Use and spread the word about
  130. <a href="">GnuPG</a>,
  131. <a href="">Off-the-Record messaging</a>,
  132. <a href="">Tor</a>,
  133. <a href="">cryptsetup</a>,
  134. <a href="">HTTPS Everywhere</a>,
  135. <a href="">Privacy Badger</a>
  136. and other privacy-enhancing Free Software.
  137. </li>
  138. <li>
  139. If you can write code and understand a bit of computer science,
  140. find a cool privacy-or-anonymity-enhancing concept in a scientific
  141. journal and make it come to life.
  142. </li>
  143. </ol>
  144. <p>
  145. We thank all our <a href="/contribute/contribute.html">volunteers</a>,
  146. <a href="">Fellows</a>, and
  147. <a href="/donate/thankgnus.html">donors</a> who make our efforts
  148. possible,<br />
  149. <a href="/about/ojasild/ojasild.html">Heiki Ojasild</a> –
  150. <a href="">FSFE</a>
  151. </p>
  152. </body>
  153. <sidebar promo="about-fsfe"><!--
  154. <h3>FSFE News</h3>
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  163. <author id="repentinus" />
  164. <date>
  165. <original content="2014-08-04" />
  166. </date>
  167. <followup>donate</followup>
  168. <tags>
  169. <tag>newsletter</tag>
  170. </tags>
  171. </html>
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