Up until relatively recently, it's been easy to dismiss Richard Stallman as a paranoid fanatic, someone who lost touch with reality long ago. A sort of perpetual computer hippie, the perfect personification of the archetype of the unworldly basement-dwelling computer nerd. His beard, his hair, his outfits - in our visual world, it's simply too easy to dismiss him.
His views have always been extreme. His only computer is a Lemote Yeelong netbook, because it's the only computer which uses only Free software - no firmware blobs, no proprietary BIOS; it's all Free. He also refuses to own a mobile phone, because they're too easy to track; until there's a mobile phone equivalent of the Yeelong, Stallman doesn't want one.
But here we are, at the start of 2012. Obama signed the NDAA for 2012, making it possible for American citizens to be detained indefinitely without any form of trial or due process, only because they are terrorist suspects. At the same time, we have SOPA, which, if passed, would enact a system in which websites can be taken off the web, again without any form of trial or due process, while also enabling the monitoring of internet traffic. Combine this with how the authorities labelled the Occupy movements - namely, as terrorists - and you can see where this is going.
Via Sepp Hasslberger