In a rare op-ed, Richard Stallman, the president of the Free Software Foundation, says that the surveillance imposed on us today is worse than in the Soviet Union. He argues that we need laws to stop this data being collected in the first place. From his op-ed: The surveillance imposed on us today far exceeds that of the Soviet Union. For freedom and democracy's sake, we need to eliminate most of it. There are so many ways to use data to hurt people that the only safe database is the one that was never collected. Thus, instead of the EU's approach of mainly regulating how personal data may be used (in its General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR), I propose a law to stop systems from collecting personal data. The robust way to do that, the way that can't be set aside at the whim of a government, is to require systems to be built so as not to collect data about a person. The basic principle is that a system must be designed not to collect certain data, if its basic function can be carried out without that data. Data about who travels where is particularly sensitive, because it is an ideal basis for repressing any chosen target.
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