“We have to aim our engineering more directly at politics now,” he said. “What has happened in Egypt is enormously inspiring, but the Egyptian state was late to the attempt to control the Net and not ready to be as remorseless as it could have been.”
If revolutions for freedom rest on the shoulders of Facebook, Mr. Moglen said, the revolutionaries will have to count on individuals who have huge stakes in keeping the powerful happy.
“It is not hard, when everybody is just in one big database controlled by Mr. Zuckerberg, to decapitate a revolution by sending an order to Mr. Zuckerberg that he cannot afford to refuse,” Mr. Moglen said.
By contrast, with tens of thousands of individual encrypted servers, there would be no one place where a repressive government could find out who was publishing or reading “subversive” material.
In response to Mr. Moglen’s call for help, a group of developers working in a free operating system called Debian have started to organize Freedom Box software. Four students from New York University who heard a talk by Mr. Moglen last year have been building a decentralized social network called Diaspora.
“We should make this far better for the people trying to make change than for the people trying to make oppression,” Mr. Moglen said. “Being connected works.”
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