Shun paid software to ensure privacy:Stallman

Shun paid software to ensure privacy:Stallman

Pressing for collective efforts to resist online surveillance by governments, free software advocate Richard Stallman today said people's privacy could be in danger when they use non-free software since majority of them "are used for spying".

Governments and educational institutions must switch over to free software for computing as it stands for users' freedom, he said delivering a lecture on "A Free Digital Society", organised by Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and Society for Promotion of Alternate Computing and Employment (SPACE).

"Majority of non-free softwares are used for spying. We can block spying and surveillance if we are using free software," Stallman, the President of the Free Software Foundation, said.

"The state must respect people's privacy. Democracy cannot persist if this is denied. They do not think everything about everybody can be leaked. We have to resist this surveillance collectively," he said.

Lavishing praises on Edward Snowden, the computer analyst who disclosed a large number of the US National Security Agency (NSA) documents, Stallman said the governments were trying to charge the  whistle blowers with committing crime and putting them in prison.

Social networking sites and majority of applications were stealing user's unseen information in secret formats, he said.

According to Stallman, anybody using proprietary software was using non-proprietary malware.

"You must consider every proprietary program as potential malware. But you are safer in a free software world," he said.

He also said the digital world should be free from censorship and sharing should be legalised.

"Now any country can censor internet connectivity. This is to block access to range of materials. This is dangerous for a democratic country. We have to legalise and encourage sharing also," he said adding that people must be free to digitise and share any published work.

He, however, said users should be ready to do some sacrifices to ensure their freedom in the digital space.

"Freedom sometimes need personal sacrifices. In the case of certain freedom, we need some big sacrifices. But in this, only tiny sacrifices are needed," he said. 

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