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Re: firewalls immoral?

begin  Tobin Fricke  quotation:

> I think your idea that a GNU System shouldn't allow the sysadmin to limit
> the freedoms of the users is pretty ridiculous.  After all, it's the
> sysadmin who owns the machine, pays for the network connection, is
> responsible for network traffic originating at the machine, etc...

Yes, but aren't you forgetting that GNU is the brainchild of RMS, who
once campaigned to have users set their password to the empty string on
the grounds that denying anyone access to the computer was immoral, and
who also has objected to the concept of a "wheel group" as a fascistic
tool of admins who wrongly think they should have more power than the
average user? In that context, the idea that firewalls are immoral makes
perfect sense. If some script kiddie in Bulgaria wants to take over or
DoS your machine, then why shouldn't they? Firewalls are for the kind of
despicable fascist who thinks he has rights to a piece of hardware just
because he paid money for it.

Now, sarcasm aside, to be fair, RMS objected to passwords and wheel
groups in the context of a university CS lab (one with significant
government funding, courtesy DARPA) that had traditionally done just
fine without such things, and was getting them not because of any real
threat, but just because of an administrative power grab. For that place
at that time, he was probably right (and I say "probably" only because I
wasn't there). I don't know if he would argue today against passwords
and wheel groups in the context of the modern internet, on machines that
belong to businesses or private individuals. I hope not.


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