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+ - 2001: Richard Stallman warns of government surveillance overreach after 9/11

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "After seeing an article from the immediate aftermath of 9/11 on the 'This Day on Slashdot' sidebar today, I decided to browse the archives and take a look at what was posted around the same time. It was oddly nostalgic; apart from coverage of the attacks, there's news of the Nintendo GameCube being released, and of Star Wars: Episode I arriving on DVD. There are also headlines about concerns of privacy vs. security in the new age of terrorism, and one piece that stands out is Richard Stallman's article on the potential loss of civil liberties in the wake of the tragedy. Written a month before the passage of the PATRIOT Act, and over a decade before anyone knew Edward Snowden's name, Stallman's words are nothing less than prophetic:

"If we are not careful, the deadly attacks on New York and Washington will lead to far worse secondary damage, if the U.S. Congress adopts 'preventive measures' that take away the freedom that America stands for. I'm not talking about searches at airports here. Searches of people or baggage for weapons, as long as they check only for weapons and keep no records about you if you have no weapons, are just an inconvenience; they do not endanger civil liberties. What I am worried about is massive surveillance of all aspects of life: of our phone calls, of our email, and of our physical movements... Even more ominously, a proposal to require government back doors in encryption software has already appeared."

Twelve years later, all of it has come true."

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2001: Richard Stallman warns of government surveillance overreach after 9/11

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