A Walled Wide Web for Nervous Autocrats: Beijing and Moscow see American information technology as a threat. They want systems of their own by Evgeny Morozov

Posted in: Legal & Security at 09/01/2011 21:24

A Walled Wide Web for Nervous Autocrats: Beijing and Moscow see American information technology as a threat. They want systems of their own by Evgeny Morozov, a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a fellow at the New America Foundation. His new book is "The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom."

At the end of 2010, the "open-source" software movement, whose activists tend to be fringe academics and ponytailed computer geeks, found an unusual ally: the Russian government. Vladimir Putin signed a 20-page executive order requiring all public institutions in Russia to replace proprietary software, developed by companies like Microsoft and Adobe, with free open-source alternatives by 2015.

The move will save billions of dollars in licensing fees, but Mr. Putin's motives are not strictly economic. In all likelihood, his real fear is that Russia's growing dependence on proprietary software, especially programs sold by foreign vendors, has immense implications for the country's national security. Free open-source software, by its nature, is unlikely to feature secret back doors that lead directly to Langley, Va.

To read this article by Evgeny Morozov in The Wall Street Journal in full, see:
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704415104576065641376054226.html

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