What If The US Had Less Privacy Than The USSR?

// Given at WI?02014 on Mar 22, 2014

Thanks to digital technology, companies and the government have an ever growing reach into our privacy and software freedoms. Free software means freedom. Stallman talks about the four essential freedoms and gives examples of how others are watching us. Democracy is in danger when the government is more invasive than the USSR.

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Dr. Richard Stallman

Free-Software Crusader

Richard Matthew Stallman is a software developer and software freedom activist. He worked at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT from 1971 to 1984. He wrote the first extensible Emacs text editor there in 1976, and developed the AI technique of dependency-directed backtracking, also known as truth maintenance. In 1983 Stallman announced the project to develop the GNU operating system and has been the project's leader ever since. With that announcement he also launched the Free Software Movement. In October 1985 he started the Free Software Foundation, of which he is president as a full-time volunteer. The GNU/Linux system is used in tens or hundreds of millions of computers. However, the distributors of these systems often disregard the ideas of freedom which make free software important, and even include nonfree software in those systems. That is why, since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software, and spreading the ethical ideas of the movement, as well as campaigning against both software patents and dangerous extension of copyright laws. Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, and is the main author of the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license, which implements copyleft.

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