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Free Software post-PRISM

The H Open - Glyn Moody - The news has been full of talk of spying, whistleblowing and data mining. Glyn Moody looks at how open source has been used to threaten freedom and privacy and how it could be used to defend them.

The last few weeks have been full of the revelations from Edward Snowden about the surveillance carried out across the world by the US's NSA and, more recently, the UK's GCHQ. Aside from their intrinsic importance, the stories that are emerging are notable too for the way that they have placed computers and even open source software at the heart of the news.

The story is centrally about spying on computer networks, which have become conduits not just of government and business information, but the basic stuff of many people's lives as experienced in their emails, web visits, social network activity and more. It's about a spy not in the classic James Bond mould, but a geek who believed the internet to be "the most important invention in all of human history" and one that was in danger of being subverted. He even has the stickers: