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Crime GNU is Not Unix

RMS Robbed of Passport and Other Belongings In Argentina 386

Posted by timothy
from the low-and-despicable dept.
New submitter Progman3K writes "Richard Stallman, father of the FSF, had his bag containing his laptop, medicine, money and passport stolen after his talk at the University of Buenos Aires on Friday, June 8." Adds reader jones_supa, excerpting from the same linked story: "As a result of this occurrence, he was forced to cancel his talk in Cordoba, and it's still unknown how this will impact the rest of his speaking engagements throughout the world."
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RMS Robbed of Passport and Other Belongings In Argentina

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  • FIRST POST (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:19AM (#40273903)

    Passports want to be free.

  • Sigh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by gruntled (107194) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:22AM (#40273927)

    Free as in steal it.

    • Re:Sigh. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:23AM (#40273943)

      No, no, no his passport was "open sourced"

      • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Funny)

        by DemomanDeveloper (2658739) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:41AM (#40274091)
        I think the problem is with those robbers ancient business models. Just like MPAA/RIAA, the robbers are unable to change their business model to current day. No one wants to go fetch a physical copy. Offer a copy of that password at reasonable price, over the internet and without DRM and I might buy it. Information wants to be free!
        • by SpzToid (869795)

          So what you're saying is the guy just wants to get in his car and drive somewhere, to do actual stuff that really needs to be done, but he can't. He can't because the DRM (the keys, if you will) authorizing the key to operate the car's ignition switch has been revoked by the machine's manufacturer?

          Wait, maybe this was a rental unit while on vacation. Perhaps this is just some sort of licensing mixup maybe? Oh, I am so confused on ./ lately.

    • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Funny)

      by vlm (69642) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:24AM (#40273949)

      Much better analogy would be he keeps his stuff but copies must be freely redistributed with the source.

    • Re:Sigh. (Score:5, Funny)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:25AM (#40273961)

      I wonder if someone took he speeches, did his speech, and collected the pay for that speech, he would be fine with that.

      • Re:Sigh. (Score:5, Funny)

        by LurkerXXX (667952) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @09:20AM (#40274353)

        Yes, but only if they contributed back any ad-lib comments they made.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I think he would like that. The man seems to be all about getting his message out.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I think he would like that. The man seems to be all about getting his message out.

          Wouldn't a tee shirt saying "I'm unrealistic and naive to the point of being a nut-bag" lessen his carbon footprint considerably?

      • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Informative)

        by muon-catalyzed (2483394) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @11:16AM (#40275137)
        > he would be fine...
        he was not fine once he learned it was stolen

        Pablo Antonio:
        It was a very sad moment. He was really distressed. He started yelling and punching himself in the head. He was worried because he had to be in Brazil soon, and he wouldn’t make it without his passport and all. And, apparently, his notebook was stolen too, and he said he wouldn’t be able to work for a week or so because of that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I've known Richard for decades. There's an American gesture where you close your fist and bang the top of your fist against your forehead, an expression of one's own stupidity. It's not painful, just dramatic, and it is *not* punching yourself in the head.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:25AM (#40273969)

    So, did he use truecrypt?

  • by maroberts (15852) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:31AM (#40274003) Homepage Journal

    Whichever Argentinian stole it is probably claiming that it is theirs as a result of their ancestor looking after the cow that the bag was made from between 1828 and 1832.....

  • Maybe Linus can send him some royalties for the GPL, so he can pay for a new passport and a ticket back home?

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Naah, stay there. The Argentines probably would be less hostile to him living under a bridge or on a park bench. Although I doubt that the University of Buenos Aires would take kindly if he decided to do there what he used to do in MIT - as in squat there.
  • Leave the stuff, take the person. How much could they get for Stallman?
    • you have it slightly wrong.

      "leave the gun, but take the canolies"

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:41AM (#40274095)

      How much could they get for Stallman?

      Maybe Microsoft would pay them to keep Stallman captive?

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      Leave the stuff, take the person. How much could they get for Stallman?

      That depends .. are they asking on a per pound basis?

  • by Sfing_ter (99478) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:38AM (#40274053) Homepage Journal

    What a loss, the only laptop running Gnu Hurd. The individual who stole it will be very sorry though, as he will be forced to use emacs, and as it does everything, it will be the only program on the computer... :D

  • by saibot834 (1061528) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:44AM (#40274119) Homepage

    This is really not newsworthy. It happens in Buenos Aires all the time. I was there 2009 at Wikimania (where RMS also attended) and I in the few days I was there multiple of my friends had their bags/laptops stolen, while I was in the same room.

    The thiefs are really skilled and they make it almost impossible for you to notice the theft. The only way to defend yourself is to have all your stuff at your body all the time, thus being a harder target than everyone else.

    • by Progman3K (515744) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @09:34AM (#40274465)

      in the few days I was there multiple of my friends had their bags/laptops stolen, while I was in the same room

      I think we have a suspect

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      That is what i would do.if i was traveling abroad, id never let it out of my hand, and no 'Velcro flaps' either. All zipped up with a lock, even as i was holding it. ( hell i don't even leave my stuff unattended here in the states during a convention, we have thieves here too )

      And i agree, it wasn't some grand conspiracy and they weren't targeting RMS personally, so it's a non story: "foreign traveler lost bag with belongings" *yawn*

      ( tho knowing RMS, he may think it was personal and the 'man' is out to

  • help! (Score:4, Funny)

    by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:47AM (#40274143) Homepage

    quick - someone lend him a windows laptop.

  • by OverflowingBitBucket (464177) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:51AM (#40274165) Homepage Journal

    Okay, that's enough Linus. It's simply not funny any more. Hand it back now.

  • RMS? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2012 @09:06AM (#40274245)
    I guess we need to look for a bag with no soap or razor in it.
  • by goruka (1721094) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @09:10AM (#40274287)
    University of Buenos Aires is a free, public university recognized as one of the best in the world. Anyone can attend and it's also filled with students from other South American countries that travel to Buenos Aires to study. Courses are usually huge, with ~200 students each, and anyone is free to attend them as a listener, even if you are not a student. Teachers, by tradition, are expected to be professionals that excelled in their respective fields and for them it is an honor to be able to be there, all this in the spirit of having the best public education.
    This much freedom has the obvious drawback that, as no one checks your student ID at the entrance, anyone can go in including thieves, which often mix up with other students to steal stuff. I've seen this happening several times myself so you have to watch out for strange people and your belongings all the time.
    As pro human rights groups are so strong here (product of opposition to US-Sponsored dictatorships during most of the past century), law is lax and stronger security measures are often seen in a negative light, as the population don't know anymore where to draw the line.
    • by Bill Barth (49178)
      Nobody checks your ID when you go to class in the US either, though there's much less of a culture of people just showing up listening in. It would often, but not always, be easier to detect a stranger in a class here, though there are plenty of 500-person freshman biology lectures, too. Typical classes have ~30 people in them.
    • by OzPeter (195038) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @09:55AM (#40274605)

      ...as no one checks your student ID at the entrance, anyone can go in including thieves, which often mix up with other students to steal stuff.

      You're making the assumption that students are not thieves. I doubt that the entrance requirements for this university include the question:
       
      "Are you a thief? yes/no".

  • One Bag? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @09:13AM (#40274305)
    I'm sorry, but what kind of moron keeps all this stuff together in *one* bag? Your passport should always be on your person when possible. You should have backup credit and ATM cards separate from your regular cards, along with some emergency cash. This stuff is 'Travelling 101' for god's sake.
    • by pipatron (966506)

      Maybe that's why he was reported to repeatedly hit his head afterwards.

      I've done many stupid things in my life, some which I regret, some which I don't, some that had negative consequences and some that fortunately didn't. If you tell me you haven't, I know you're lying.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      Someone from a civilized country.

      • Someone from a civilized country.

        I don't care whether you're travelling to San Francisco or Santiago - The same rules apply (in fact in some cases your stuff is safer in a police state). If this was the Kettles from Topeka travelling to Paris for the first time I think I would catch them some slack - But this guy is supposedly very bright and travels all over the place, so he should know better. I'm sorry, but there's no excuse for this sort of thing.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      You shouldn't have been modded Troll for that.

      Naive people don't take security measures. That some REFUSE means the point doesn't get hammered enough!

      In other news, slow Zebra get eaten.

  • by Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @09:20AM (#40274347)
    I mean, really, who looks at that beard and thinks, "I'm gonna steal from that wizard. No way his bag has any exploding magical components in it or anything."
  • Not surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    When I was last visiting Buenos Aires Jenna Bush (George Bush's daughter) was robbed while she was dining with friends - while being protected by Secret Service!

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @09:52AM (#40274583)

    While I am sorry for his loss (and that is only a story because of who was robbed - a zillion other tech people get robbed in foreign countries and they don't make /.) RMS has traveled the world for years, and I would have thought he knew better about he risks of theft. His passport and money should not have been left unsecured, and he should have ascribed to a layered packing regime that I learnt about years ago that includes three general zones:

    1. Checked luggage - Contains stuff you that you don't care if you never see it again
    2. Hand luggage - Contains stuff you can drop and leave behind in an emergency in order to protect your personal well being
    3. On your person - Contains stuff that is critical to your well being and ability to travel

    Passport and money belongs squarely in that last category. They are replaceable, but their loss has a much greater impact on a trip than losing stuff from the other two categories.
     
    Leaving his passport and money in an unsecured location was a stupid and idiotic move on *his* part (although I bet that that is probably somewhat offset by him being distracted for a moment). And yes I know that this sounds like blaming the victim, but there is a point where you have to take responsibility for your own actions.

    • by Jiro (131519)

      Right.

      I was ready to make a joke post about "information wants to be free" (before noticing that the first post already did that), but it later occurred to me--could that be exactly what happened? Remember way back when when RMS refused to put a password on his MIT account and when was forced used the password "rms" so everyone could log in? And remember him getting a fifth of users to change their password to the empty string?

      If RMS is as bad in his personal security as he is in his computer security, it

    • Leaving his passport and money in an unsecured location was a stupid and idiotic move on *his* part (although I bet that that is probably somewhat offset by him being distracted for a moment). And yes I know that this sounds like blaming the victim, but there is a point where you have to take responsibility for your own actions.

      If you just change a few specifics, but not the tenor, in your argument, you'll get a drastically different result. To wit:

      "Leaving her hotel room dressed like such a slut was a stupid and idiotic move on *her* part. And yes, I know that this sounds like blaming the victim, but there is a point where you have to take responsibility for your own actions."

  • If i was abroad and had everything important to me in a single bag it would be chained to my leg.

  • by ThorGod (456163) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @10:30AM (#40274851) Journal

    Every comment I've read is either abrasively sarcastic or downright mean. What gives? This used to be the land of OSS/free speech.

    To be sure, /. has never been exactly "nice". But, come on guys! This kind of negativity needs to stop.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      If I do something stupid, even my best friends will call me out on it.

      That's WHY they are my best friends.

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      To be sure, /. has never been exactly "nice". But, come on guys! This kind of negativity needs to stop.

      Hmm .. let me see if I have this right
       
              "In an attempt to get back the /. of free speech that you felt you knew and loved, you are saying that we have to stop posting what ever we want?"
       
      Is that a good summary of your opinion?

  • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @10:41AM (#40274923)

    Carry your passport/docs ON YOU, separate from your wallet, end of story.

    If you need medicine to survive, wear enough to buy time to reload.

    That's basic security at home or abroad. You should also carry duplicate info on a flash drive and wear that, and be able to access another copy online.

    People who understand that computers "don't give a fuck what they think" need to understand many PEOPLE don't give a fuck what they WANT.

    Any geek should be delighted to embrace physical security measures as they are to embrace computer security measures.

    • by isorox (205688)

      Carry your passport/docs ON YOU, separate from your wallet, end of story.

      Passport, Wallet, Phone. That's enough to get me from anywhere in the world to a friendly country (i.e. visaless), so that's what always stays in my jeans pocket.

      I also make sure I have half a dozen phone numbers memorised that I can call 24/7 in an emergency.

      That's basic security at home or abroad. You should also carry duplicate info on a flash drive and wear that, and be able to access another copy online.

      Certainly. Having scans of your passport(s) and visas available in a secure gmail account, that someone trusted (that isn't travelling with you) also has access too, is a good precaution. I don't bother with the USB stick any more (I have them on my la

  • Please send money immediately.
  • Hes going to have to or had to go to the consulate or the embassy. He already has an unhealthy distrust of the system. How is he going to manage?

  • He used someone else's cell phone to call 911?

    (see his appearance rider if you don't get the joke)

  • even more disturbing (Score:3, Informative)

    by questionsaddict (1277150) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @12:21PM (#40275701)
    According to a testimonial, the whole incident was pretty thought through. The robbers replaced Stallman's bag with an identical, albeit empty one at the end of the talk. On top of it, the canera on which the whole conference (and probably the robbers) was filmed got stolen too. The op name is lucas romero if you want to try to find it. ill post a link when i get home

: is not an identifier

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