20 Jun 2001 tony   » (Journeyer)

New Article
Looks like Sys Admin has published an article of mine. Pretty boring stuff, I'm afraid.

Privacy and Open Source
This whole "Smart Tags" thing has got me riled up. Even here on Advogato, seems there are quite a few MS apologists who think it's a good idea.

Maybe I am brimming with hypocricy. But doesn't it seem strange: some think it right to give up the one true power of the Internet-- the power of a single voice whispering to whomever wishes to listen-- to a corporation? Any corporation would be bad, but they wish to give up this power to the corporation that has shown time and again they are willing to ignore privacy issues and the rights of individuals simply for profit.

Okay, not simply for profit-- for the power over communication. For the right to substitute individual communication for Microsoft's communication.

The power of the Internet is the ability of one person to communicate to the world. Now Microsoft gets to step in and control that communication.

Yes, I'm stating this as a worse-than-reality scenario. But perhaps I value even the smallest of my rights; and I see this as yet another Microsoft gambit to control communication.

Free software programmers have, in my experience, valued privacy and freedom. With smart tags, Microsoft has effectively stated they control our communication (and thus, one major aspect of our privacy) by default. I will not allow Microsoft to control the definitions and values associated with the ideas I express to the world.

Now, all you apologists out there: Go ahead and give Microsoft control of the definitions of the words you use. But do it explicitly; don't let Microsoft claim birthright to our thoughts, which is essentially what they are doing, like a maggot whispering in your ear during every conversation you have, twisting the words in ways that suit only the maggot.

Force them to create a new tag to turn this "feature" on, not off. We can do it; we are powerful in our whispering, if we whisper together.

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