Friday, March 26, 2004

WSJ.com - Stallman Raises Concerns About MIT's Gates Tower

WSJ.com - Stallman Raises Concerns About MIT's Gates Tower "Earlier this week, Slashdot, News for Nerds, reported the wickedest irony of the day for the free-software community -- Richard Stallman, the outspoken founder of the Free Software Foundation, who has the use of an office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was to be moved into an office in the Bill Gates tower in the Frank Gehry-designed Stata Center that opens May 7. Mr. Stallman, who believes in free software as a right akin to free speech, frequently criticizes Mr. Gates and Microsoft Corp. He has compared gifts of software by Microsoft to free samples of cigarettes from tobacco companies, calling both thinly disguised efforts to addict consumers.
Not to worry. Mr. Stallman says in an e-mail that he was relieved to find he won't be located in the Gates building. "So that potential problem didn't occur," he says. But that doesn't mean Mr. Stallman is happy. There is a "more substantive and dangerous" issue with the building, he says.
To get into the new building after hours, all the computer scientists will have to use MIT-issued RFID proximity cards that recognize the bearer from five feet away. Mr. Stallman says the cards give MIT police a record of who goes through a door and says he fears the information could be acquired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the Patriot Act. Mr. Stallman's criticism has gained sympathy among lab researchers who have proposed various ways to distribute revocable keys that wouldn't identify the users."
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