GNU founder: using Chrome OS is "careless computing"

By on December 14, 2010, 3:05 PM
Free Software Foundation and GNU founder Richard Stallman has declared that Google's Chrome OS should not be referred to as "cloud computing" as it actually encourages "careless computing." His argument is based on the fact that the rules over what information police can or can't seize without a search warrant change depending on whether your data is stored on your computer or on a company's machine.

"In the US, you even lose legal rights if you store your data in a company’s machines instead of your own," Stallman told The Guardian. "The police need to present you with a search warrant to get your data from you; but if they are stored in a company's server, the police can get it without showing you anything. They may not even have to give the company a search warrant. I suppose many people will continue moving towards careless computing, because there's a sucker born every minute. The US government may try to encourage people to place their data where the US government can seize it without showing them a search warrant, rather than in their own property. However, as long as enough of us continue keeping our data under our own control, we can still do so. And we had better do so, or the option may disappear."

Stallman is basically saying that he sees Chrome OS as another example of governments pushing for easier access to user data without having to jump through too many legal hoops. Google's argument, meanwhile, is that users will like not having to clean their HDD, perform local backups, and do other maintenance tasks for local files. The search giant is hoping that those benefits will outweigh any potential privacy concerns (that general strategy has largely worked for Google so far). In fact, Mountain View has already declared its belief that 60 percent of businesses could immediately replace their Windows machines with computers running Chrome OS.





User Comments: 15

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mosu said:

I very much agree with Mr Stallman about personal data secrecy and the fact that storage cloud is different than cloud computing.It may come one day when we'll have no privacy on our fault .And I was beginning to like my Android phone...

Guest said:

i put on my wizard cloak and tinfoil hat

Guest said:

If the police have a search warrant, what does it matter where the data is stored? Either way they're going to get the data because they have a warrant.

Guest said:

The issue is not about a warrant targeting specific individual -- it is about a company giving the feds access to all the data stored on a server because they asked nicely or because they had a warrant for an individual that had some data stored on that file server -- net result is that the feds have now 1TB or more of data unrelated to that individual that they can do with what they want. Don't get me started about the misuse of national security letters that are abused every day and can't even be challenged in court.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

Guest said:

The issue is not about a warrant targeting specific individual -- it is about a company giving the feds access to all the data stored on a server because they asked nicely or because they had a warrant for an individual that had some data stored on that file server -- net result is that the feds have now 1TB or more of data unrelated to that individual that they can do with what they want. Don't get me started about the misuse of national security letters that are abused every day and can't even be challenged in court.

Don't forget the information can also be leaked to the public when in their hands...lolz

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Guest said:

If the police have a search warrant, what does it matter where the data is stored? Either way they're going to get the data because they have a warrant.

Exactly. The only difference here is that instead of walking in and getting what they want, they have to wait a few days for a warrant. Although, warrants can be denied if there isn't enough evidence to get a warrant. So I guess that's where the only true difference lies.

Not that it matters to me. I refuse to use an OS that can only be used when you're online.

Guest said:

" In fact, Mountain View has already declared its belief that 60 percent of businesses could immediately replace their Windows machines with computers running Chrome OS. "

Not for me!

Guest said:

Cloud computing could become Skynet or a Matrix network... Really... it's very dangerous.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Its not about a warrant in any way, if you are not into any ilegal activity or anything at all, you are just suposed to be involved no judge will give anyone a warrant to search your private data, they need proof and evidence.

In the other way, if they just have a hint they will look whatever they want wherever they want and at whatever degree.

Guest said:

Big Brother is watching you.

Guest said:

If you are not doing anything wrong you shouldn't have anything to worry about. We all know nobody does anything illegal on the Internet, right?

Guest said:

now that's where your wrong. what to you might be legal can be considered illegal to who wants to make it so. am not going to go into details but say for example your pc got infected with malware and it links to porn, which a lot of them do. and the porn it links to might contain some child porn, if your home safe then you could just close it fast and remove the malware and remove your browsing history. but with cloud computing a simple thing like that may land you in jail, as you don't have 100 percent control of your data. and believe me you don't. cloud computing has it's uses but this whole thing about being right and wrong. can get very tricky very fast

Guest said:

Here is some news on search warrants. Lets say you commit a petty crime online. You steal some credit card numbers. And lets say your daughter and friends being teenagers did some porn shoot with their friends being just teenagers. The computer forensic investigator makes a forensic copy of your hard drive as per the warrant. No a whole bunch of cops can jerk off to your daughter and her friends. Trust me cops are guys too. Its not like they can alter forensic copy or evidence. It has to be original. Buy who said they have the right to your daughters naked pictures just because you turned out to be a bad apple.

TJGeezer said:

Guest said:

If you are not doing anything wrong you shouldn't have anything to worry about. We all know nobody does anything illegal on the Internet, right?

Never. Nope. And the government would never paint something as "illegal" because an official doesn't like your political or religious beliefs, or comments you made about government use of your tax money for fat new Pentagon war industry contracts. And even if some official did that, U.S. citizens have Constitutional guarantee that writs of habeas corpus will protect them, a guarantee protected by a non-corporate Supreme Court that honors the Constitution and more than 200 years of legal precedents. Right?

Guest said:

Yep tell that to all the black criminals that got recently clear through dna testing and the government still say that the system was not wrong.

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