This Friday, December 04, is International Day Against DRM (IDAD). I’ve talked about DRM before and explained how it’s a violation of our rights over freedom, computing, and privacy.
Sadly, there are thousands (if not millions) of products and devices that impose DRM on us and there’s not much we can do about it. However, we’re not defenseless.
Our biggest weapon, which all those products and companies are fearful of, is not using them. By cancelling our subscriptions and not buying/using their products, we defend ourselves, empower people against DRM companies, and tell them that we don’t let them violate our rights.
As a matter of fact, almost all of those companies are highly dependent on people, so we ourselves are our biggest weapon and shot against them.
Many, like Netflix, our getting paid by our money and data but they don’t deserve it. When we pay for something, and purchase it, we should be the owner of that copy/distribution and have full control over it; that is what DRM companies like Netflix are afraid of.
After removing the popular tool for claims of copyright infringement, GitHub has done a 180-degree turn on that decision. Vice has reported that GitHub reversed its decision over removing youtube-dl and reinstated it.
Following a counter-notice from EFF, and severe criticism and threats from software communities (including Free Software Community), GitHub is now claiming that it stands with [free] software developers.
“We are taking a stand for developers and have reinstated the youtube-dl repo,” GitHub CEO Nat Friedman tweeted on Monday. “Section 1201 of the DMCA is broken and needs to be fixed. Developers should have the freedom to tinker. That’s how you get great tools like youtube-dl.”
“Although we did initially take the project down, we understand that just because code can be used to access copyrighted works doesn’t mean it can’t also be used to access works in non-infringing ways,” Abby Volmer, director of platform policy at GitHub, wrote in an announcement posted to GitHub that said the tool is coming back online. “We also understood that this project’s code has many legitimate purposes, including changing playback speeds for accessibility, preserving evidence in the fight for human rights, aiding journalists in fact-checking, and downloading Creative Commons-licensed or public domain videos.”
It is really funny how they are now claiming that they stand with people (and developers) while we know for a fact that Microsoft (the owner of GitHub) really doesn’t care about communities and software other than its own.
Microsoft is one of the biggest violators of software freedom and privacy of people. They are famous for calling software libre and GNU+Linux a “cancer” and we never never forget they did and still do everything they can to make all software proprietary for their own benefit.
However, someone/something’s past should not affect our judgement on its future. I hope Microsoft and GitHub learn from the past and do good in future regarding software libre communities.
While ago, The Verge has reported that Zoom has canceled a webinar due to be held at San Francisco State University this Wednesday featuring Leila Khaled, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who took part in two plane hijackings in 1969 and 1970. YouTube and Facebook also intervened to stop the talk.
The meeting was canceled under the pressure of Israeli and Jewish lobby groups including Lawfare Project. Sadly, they are powerful enough to affect free speech in a company based in United States, a country which refer to itself as land of freedom and (ridiculously) the greatest democracy in world.
Now, after that happened, some activists decided to gather and discuss “censorship by Zoom” and in a completely predictable event, this meeting was also canceled by Zoom.
I’m not shocked at all. No matter where you are or who you are, if you threaten these companies’ benefits, they will do anything to stop you and that includes violating your basic human rights.
I’m disappointed in the event organizers who decided to use Zoom for this gathering when they undoubtedly knew Zoom censors everything that doesn’t meet its interests.
There is a great software libre to use instead of Zoom named Jitsi which respects humans and is controlled by individuals who host events not a corporation.
Since few days ago, GitLab is restricting Iranians from accessing its services and is also banning Iranian users’ accounts. A GitLab Support employee confirmed this.
Sadly, United States doesn’t stop its terrible and ridicules laws and sanctions. I remember talking about this a lot. Restricting Iranian software developers from using a git service is totally ridiculous and unbelievable.
Iranians are an important and very efficient part of the software libre community. Restricting them can only harm the community and progress and success of the software libre community.
More importantly, the law is discriminatory. Banning people from using a service because of the bad their government did is discriminatory and inhumane.
United States have done very awful stuff during years but nobody bans Americans from using European and/or Asian services. It’s hard to believe that these sanctions are only targeting the Iranian government. Even if it was targeting the government only, the sanctions should be on officials and/or certain range, not on the nationality.
There are great software libre alternatives for GitHub and GitLab. Codeberg.org for example is one of the bests. We should encourage people to use decentralized and non-discriminatory services instead of GitLab and GitHub.
Update: I deleted my Telegram account. My main messengers will be IRC and Matrix.
Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of Telegram messenger announced in a recent post in his Telegram channel that Apple is forcing Telegram to shut down three channels used by the people of Belarus to expose the identities of their oppressors.
Apple is requesting that we shut down 3 channels used by the people of Belarus to expose the identities of their oppressors.
Their concern is that publishing the personal information of law enforcers and propagandists may incite violence.
I think this situation is not black and white and would rather leave the channels be, but typically Apple doesn’t offer much choice for apps like Telegram in such situations. Unfortunately, I assume these channels will end up getting blocked on iOS, but remain available on other platforms.
P. S. Everyone is welcome to express their views and comment on this post provided they stay on-topic and use English. Thanks!
If Telegram complies with Apple and shuts down these channels which are for protecting people of Belarus, I’ll delete the app and won’t use it again. One of the reasons I was on Telegram was that it’s a great platform for people when it comes to free speech and fighting dictators, like Lukashenko.
I know Apple is one of the important places for apps to be published but it is not more important than people. Apple is requesting a thing that can hurt the revolution and protests of people of Belarus.
If Telegram complies with this, it’ll be start of complying with dictators and other powerfuls like Apple, Google, Amazon, etc.
Telegram is software libre but the server is still proprietary. There are alternatives to that such as Matrix or IRC. I’ll use them instead, in case Telegram complies with what Apple (and most likely Belarus dictator Lukashenko) wants.
Today, on October 4th, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) celebrates its thirty-fifth year of fighting for software freedom. Our work will not be finished until every computer user is able to do all of their digital tasks in complete freedom — whether that’s on a desktop, laptop, or the computer in your pocket. The fight for free software continues, and we wouldn’t be here without you.
To celebrate, we have a full week of announcements and surprises planned starting today, and we will end in an online anniversary event featuring both live and prerecorded segments this Friday, October 9th, from 12:00 EDT (16:00 UTC) until 17:00 EDT (21:00 UTC). We’d love for you to join in celebration of this amazing community by submitting a short (two-minute) video sharing your favorite memory about free software or the FSF, and a wish for the future of software freedom. We’ll be collecting the videos all week and airing a selection during the birthday event on October 9th. Please follow the instructions linked below on how to successfully (and freely!) submit the video via FTP.
If you are able to, please make a donation of $35 or more to help keep the fight for user freedom going another 35 years, we’ll send you a commemorative pin as pictured in this blog post.
Uploading a video
We’d love to have you submit a video for us to show during this week’s festivities. Please follow the instructions we’ve posted to the LibrePlanet wiki to upload your video, and write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org when you’re finished. Please keep your comments on the topic of free software and the FSF, and your video length under two minutes.
There’s no better way to commemorate the FSF’s 35th anniversary than to spread the free software message. We’ve come up with a few more ways you can do so, and ideally encourage your friends to do the same. The best gifts we can ask for are the individual contributions that keep this movement going.
Ways to celebrate
Try a fully free distribution of GNU/Linux, which can be run “live” without making any permanent changes to your computer’s hard drive.
Download and experiment with one of the oldest parts of the GNU operating system, the GNU Emacs text editor. Try the tutorial by launching the editor and typing Ctrl-h + t (C-h t), or see if you can make it through some of the games included with Emacs, such as Alt-x (M-x) dunnet or M-x tetris.
Make the commitment to replace one nonfree program that you use with one that respects your freedom, such as using LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Office.
Contribute to the Free Software Directory by writing or updating the entry for a freely licensed program you enjoy, or join us on the Freenode IRC channel #fsf Fridays from 16:00-19:00 UTC for our weekly meetings on how to improve the Directory.
Help support the FSF’s important work by buying manuals, apparel, and other GNU gear at the GNU Press shop! You could upgrade your skills with a GNU/Linux command line manual, or just get an adorable stuffed baby GNU as a companion for late-night hacking. Also, keep your eyes peeled for special items related to our 35th anniversary. The pin you see here is just one of them!
Watch and share the videos from our animated series, as well as the keynotes, presentations, and panels given at LibrePlanet, the annual conference dedicated to defending computer user freedom.
Have an Android phone? Install F-Droid, a repository with hundreds of fun and useful free software apps.
Share a message on social media about the FSF’s thirty-fifth anniversary! Feel free to adapt the text and use it with the #fsf35 hashtag and the included image.
Join me in celebrating #fsf35 with the free software community and the @FSF this Friday, October 9th by tuning into fsf.org for the live anniversary event.
We’re another year older, but that doesn’t mean we’re slowing down our efforts to bring software freedom to users around the globe. Stay tuned for more information on how we plan to ring in the FSF’s next year, and the vital role each one of us plays in ensuring free software’s success for the future. We hope that you’ll be able to take part in our festivities this week!
I have been using Gravatar as a service for a long time. A lot of libre services and software, such as WordPress, use Gravatar to show users’ avatars. There’s also a software libre for such matter named Libravatar which is federated and I prefer it but I use Gravatar too.
Now, Bleeping Computer, an infosec and technology news publication has reported that a user enumeration technique discovered by security researcher Carlo Di Dato demonstrates how Gravatar can be abused for mass data collection of its profiles by web crawlers and bots.
While data provided by Gravatar users on their profiles is already public, the easy user enumeration aspect of the service with virtually no rate limiting raises concerns with regards to the mass collection of user data.
If you want to consider leaving Gravatar and using a federated software libre which you can self-host, you may want to check Libravatar. It works great.
True support for GNU+Linux requires supporting users’ freedom and rights. Publishing a proprietary software for GNU+Linux operating system is just violating users’ rights in more platforms. Many people who use GNU+Linux are ones who care about software libre philosophy and their rights over software.
Sadly, Microsoft doesn’t care about people’s rights over their computing. It’s needless to say that Microsoft is one of the worst companies when it comes to users’ rights and freedom along with GMAFIA.
No thanks Microsoft. We don’t want your web browser as long as it disrespects us and violates our software freedom.