[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Free licensing of surveillance software

From: Roberto Beltran
Subject: Re: Free licensing of surveillance software
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 2020 16:34:44 +0000

> > The software is being used ON the surveilled. The surveilled are not users 
> > of the software.

> If I go to the library and return a book by opening a custom application
> on my device, do I "use" that software?

It's software on your device it is your computing so you should have the four 

> And if instead I need to tap or
> click on some graphical interface on a library computer?

Library is a bad example because since it's publicly funded I would argue that 
they should primarily have free software. Let's say it's a private cybercafe. 
You pay for time on their computers to do some thing, and that's your 
computing, but it's not your computer. You shouldn't have agency over the 
software on this business' computers. You might have concerns over privacy and 
the like, but the business could snoop on what you are doing on these machines 
even if they had all libre software. There would need to be a law that says 
cybercafe's can't collect data from their patron's computer usage.

> And if I just
> scan a barcode at a machine?

Barcode machine might not even have software in it.

If it does have software it should be free software for the library's sake 
directly, and for the public's sake indirectly like I mentioned before.

It's interesting you bring up the library because even before software at 
libraries was widespread, I'm pretty sure either through law or policy or a 
code of ethics, they don't share the information of what people checkout of the 
library or read with anyone. I took a class with someone that was a librarian 
once and he said something to that effect. For privacy's sake I would say it's 
better to push for them to uphold that. Free software plays a role in that, but 
both are important as distinct issues.

> And if I don't even need to do that?

Then I guess you just don't do anything fam

> Similarly, with a software-powered doorbell: my goal is to get (myself
> or something else) past the door. Does it matter whether I press a
> button? Whether I have knowledge that the button executes some software?
> Whether the software runs just when I walk in?

If it's not your doorbell you don't have agency over what it does and you 
shouldn't. Whether free software or proprietary software on the doorbell or a 
physical sensor and circuit that activates a camera as you come in, it's 
someone else's property on their private property, perhaps surveilling public 
space. We might have privacy concerns, but the only thing I see addressing 
something like that would be laws. Using a license to try to address this issue 
would be bad for freedom and the free software community and wouldn't be 
effective in solving the problem.

> (Also, at what point is it SaaSS and at what point "the computing isn't
> your own activity" or "you are not doing your own computing", per

SaaSS is its own monster, I would love to flesh SaaSS out more at LibrePlanet 
with anyone that's down, because I agree it can get confusing and nuanced and I 
don't have a good grasp on it myself. I'm not trying to go down that rabbit 
hole now though. It's not directly relevant to this conversation as pointed out 
in bold in the beginning of what you linked:

> On the Internet, proprietary software isn't the only way to lose
> your freedom. Service as a Software Substitute, or SaaSS, is
> **ANOTHER** way to give someone else power over your computing.

It's a related but distinct issue to libre vs proprietary software.

Roberto Beltran

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]