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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] promoting Google Glass?

From: Michał 'rysiek' Woźniak
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] promoting Google Glass?
Date: Sun, 19 May 2013 13:55:03 +0200
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Dnia piątek, 17 maja 2013 o 21:16:12 Ted Smith napisał(a):
> On Fri, 2013-05-17 at 19:16 +0200, Michał 'rysiek' Woźniak wrote:
> > Hi there,
> > 
> > I find this... disconcerting:
> >
> > 
> > I understand that Google Glass is a Linux-based device that makes rounds
> > in the press and seems to be a very... convenient vehicle of promoting
> > Linux, but there is a multitude of problems with it.
> > 
> > First off, I don't see Google promoting the fact that it's Linux-based.
> > Google doesn't help promote Linux.
> Google funds Linux hacking and makes sure there are GNU/Linux ports of
> their non-free software (I see this as worse than libre software on
> Windows, but better than not supporting GNU/Linux at all -- a net
> negative, but not the worst case, and not something I'd note as a
> positive to anyone not subscribed to this list).

Still, I don't see how Google earns endorsement with this. Why 
Google, why not fully-libre Jolla Mobile, for example? Google does not need 
our promotion, they can promote themselves very well. Jolla on the other 

> > Secondly, Google Glass has a lot of dangerous implications for privacy
> > and personal freedom -- the very personal freedom that Free Software is
> > poised to protect, although in a bit different area.
> Does it?


> The only implication is that now individuals have an easy way
> to essentially tape a long-running camera to their face. People have
> been doing that for a long time, and your public life has been
> constantly surveilled for much longer.

Boy, how I love the argument of "we're boned anyway, let's stop trying." 
Sorry, I do not subscribe to this argument, I find it intellectually lacking 
and an easy way out for anybody that is not looking for a real discussion of 
this issue.

Yes, I have a problem with tracking devices we have in our pockets - I use my 
old trusty (Debian-based) Nokia N900, a much better (privacy-wise, but not 
only) phone than anything Android has to offer. I will continue to do so as 
long as there is no viable alternative (fingers crossed for tomorrow's Jolla 
Mobile announcement).

Yes, indeed I have a problem with CCTV's spying on us everywhere, as they are 
both ineffective as a crime deterrent and dangerous to personal freedoms:

> Google Glass doesn't take away any privacy. It just makes the existing
> privacy losses much more blatant.

And yes, I do have a problem with Google Glass, pushing the envelope one step 
further. If I ever have a person (friend or foe, regardless) trying to enter 
my home with Google Glass, I will kindly ask them to leave it outside or just 

Some food for thought:
/yes, Download Helper will allow you to bypass Flash/

The fact that some things are the way they are is not an argument that they 
should be this way. The question we should as ourselves is not "how things 
are" but "how we feel they should be", and try to change them in such a way.

> There is no technical solution for this problem. It's not clear if the
> technological attacker or defender has a clear advantage at the moment,
> and the arms race will continue for some time.

Indeed, and there never will be a technical solution to a social problem, 
especially one as complicated as the privacy/security/personal-
freedoms/"terrorism" conundrum.

Hence I am not advocating any technical solution. I am advocating being 
sensitive to these issues and choosing endorsements (and putting Google Glass 
in a comic on *is* an endorsement!) wisely and carefully.

> The best social solution for this problem is to attack centralized
> surveillance, since it seems much more harmful overall than
> decentralized surveillance. I can't think of any horrible things
> decentralized surveillance has done, but I can think of several positive
> things it's done (the Rodney King tape and a large number of similar
> tapes, the Russian meteor footage).

True. But Google Glass is a step towards *centralised* surveillance.

Surveillance can be centralised in the hands of a state (as in USSR or East 
Germany), and that's a case we know and are familiar with.

Problem is, today more and more surveillance is centralised in the hands of 
corporations (Facebook, Google, etc.), and because we have no historical 
situation similar to this, it's hard to assess the risks. I find the risks 
unacceptable, as I believe that information is power and power corrupts - 
regardless of whether you exercise this power as a government agent or a 
corporate entity.

Of course there is also the case of such corporations giving access to 
surveillance data to government entities (we all know that's happening, 
right?), so centralisation in the hands of corporations is indeed de facto 
centralisation also in the hands of the State. Which we already *know* is 

Michał "rysiek" Woźniak

Fundacja Wolnego i Otwartego Oprogramowania

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