Facebook, WhatsApp Can Spy on You, Warns Free Software Guru Richard Stallman

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The free software movement activist said that 90 per cent of the 1,000 free applications in Google Play stores can spy, as per latest studies

 FacebookCiting privacy risks, free software guru Richard Stallman has cautioned people to be more careful while posting photos on the social networking sites.

Think twice before posting anyone’s photo on Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram. Even with a picture of the back of head, they would be able to track where you go and what you do, Stallman said.

The American free software movement activist and programmer was speaking at an event organised by International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) and Society for Promotion of Alternate Computing and Employment (SPACE) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He presented a lecture titled “Education Freedom Day lecture.”

According to a Financial Express report, information technology professionals and academicians were taken by surprise when he asked them to “switch-off the geo-location feature of your smartphone, if you are taking my photos.”

Explaining his action, he then informed the participants that 90 per cent of the 1,000 free applications in Google Play stores can spy, as per latest studies.

He added that owners of the firms who spy on a user’s personal data should be jailed.

Campaigning for the use of free software

Often known by his initials as RMS, Stallman has been spearheading the campaign for the use of free software, especially by governments. He has been travelling across the globe, advocating the use of free software as well as campaigning against legal and technical restrictions like software patenting, which come in the way of free and independent use of the software.

At another event on Tuesday, Stallman had asked software users to advocate user freedoms in the software so that they can outsmart the manipulations being done in software.

Stallman campaigns for software to be distributed in a manner such that its users receive the freedoms to use, study, distribute and modify that software.

SPACE is a Kerala government IT department-supported registered society, with members from IT industry, academia, professional societies like Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Computer Society of India.

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