Linux and Surveillance

Filed under
Linux

Linux is inevitably getting more political

Jimbo Torvalds

Summary: Linux -- like GNU -- has its liberal licence used as a selling point, especially in this age of "Peak Surveillance"

Mark Hinkle, who used to be a vocal proponent of GNU/Linux several years ago (he had published plenty of articles), spoke at LinuxCon and CloudOpen Europe [1], stressing that Linux is not just a piece of software to many of us. It is a game changer, not just to those who use if for technical advantages (e.g. the US Navy [2]) but also to those who rely on it for security and defence from intrusions, which are inherent in software you can neither modify nor review. One of the senior writers over at Linux Journal has an excellent article which points out how it relates to surveillance [3] and another new article [4] explains how code freedom (as in Free software) facilitates an escape from NSA snooping. In years to come we are likely to see privacy arguments increasingly being used to promote GNU/Linux, especially in nations which have many reasons to distrust or even fear the NSA.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Citrix's Mark Hinkle: Linux Can Change the World Beyond Technology

    Collaboration can change the world and Linux and open source developers must use what they’ve learned to lead the way. This was the message delivered by Mark Hinkle, director of open source solutions at Citrix, in his inspirational keynote at LinuxCon and CloudOpen Europe in Edinburgh this morning.

  2. US Navy’s most advanced warship is powered by Linux and Intel

    The US Navy has a reputation for being much like its main form of transportation — a big ship that’s slow to change course. After decades of relying on large-scale warships like the aircraft carrier, the Navy has been working toward a smaller, more flexible fighting force. With the impending launch of the USS Zumwalt, the Navy will be moving well into a high-tech, Linux-powered future.

  3. Life on the Forked Road

    Linus was asked if the US government ever wanted a backdoor added to Linux. He nodded "yes" while saying "no".

  4. Freedom With Open Source: How Nations Can Escape Their Dependence On US-Made Tech

    Foreign nations have been left reeling by news that the NSA has been happily monitoring the private communications of at least 35 world leaders, on top of its all-encompassing PRISM program that was leaked earlier this year. Ed Snowden’s leaks paint a miserable picture of the dystopian position we’re in now, with the US government doing whatever it takes to dismantle our freedom and privacy online.