< Ali Reza Hayati

Using Free Software for Free-Culture Works
457 words. A 3 minute read.

Why some free-culture (and software) meetings ask you to sign-up for events on proprietary platforms? I liked to join a meeting about GNU/Linux but the only way to attend in it was to sign-up on a non-free service with trackers and privacy-violating policy over data. I tried to contact them by sending them an email message but I couldn’t find any email address or PGP encryption key. Mailing lists also were unavailable. This is a problem. People who are interested in GNU/Linux and free software should be able to attend in these meetings without being in danger of privacy-invading platforms.

Some people don’t have enough knowledge about their rights over privacy and data. We should help them be secure by default. Isn’t free software about controlling our computing? How using a proprietary service can help us promote freedom of software? Isn’t it itself a negative advertising for what we believe in?

Imagine Dieter Zetsche Ola Källenius (Head of Mercedes-Benz) driving a BMW car. What people would think of Mercedes-Benz? It will never happen. An employee of FSF will never use Microsoft Windows. Planning free-software related meetings is not enough. We should tell people, we should show people how we believe in freedom. We should show people how software should be distributed.

First thing to do when it comes to promoting free software is to use free software and show people how it makes our life better and how it helps us be in control. There’s no point in planning a meeting about free culture and software when even us won’t use a free platform.

And even don’t get me started about privacy. I don’t sign-up on services. Most of the times because they’re not privacy-respecting and other times because however they promise to keep my data safe, they ask for too much information. For example, I don’t use a mobile phone but lots of services ask me to provide my phone number. It’s not OK. We shouldn’t provide our personal information to other people. We should be able to join services and/or sign-up for accounts anonymously.

My address or real name is none of your business. If it’s a meeting to share our belief and information, then attending in it should be enough. We should be able to discuss free software and share our knowledge without being recognized. I personally don’t have any problem to use my real name in most meetings but this doesn’t mean that I forget about my right of being anonymous.

This is not OK. Free culture (and software specially) activists should promote freedom by starting to use free software themselves. Using proprietary software is not good. Specially when it comes to people who are advertising for free software. Don’t trust these people.

16 Oct 2019 #software, #privacy