During a 92-minute presentation Wednesday on the state of the free software movement, Richard Stallman spoke at length on a wide variety of topics, including the need for freedom-respecting package systems.

But Stallman also shared his deepest thoughts on a topic dear to the hearts of Slashdot readers: privacy and currency: I won’t order from online stores, because I can’t pay them. For one thing, the payment services require running non-free JavaScript… [And] to pay remotely you’ve got to do it by credit card, and that’s tracking people, and I want to resist tracking too…. This is a really serious problem for society, that you can’t order things remotely anonymously.

But GNU Taler is part of the path to fixing that. You’ll be able to get a Taler token from your bank, or a whole bunch of Taler tokens, and then you’ll be able to use those to pay anonymously.

Then if the store can send the thing you bought to a delivery box in your neighborhood, the store doesn’t ever have to know who you are.

But there’s another issue Stallman touched on earlier in his talk: There is a proposed U.S. law called KOSA which would require mandatory age-verification of users — which means mandatory identification of users, which is likely to mean via face recognition. And it would be in every commercial software application or electronic service that connects to the internet…. [It’s] supposedly for protecting children. That’s one of the favorite excuses for surveillance and repression: to protect the children. Whether it would actually protect anyone is dubious, but they hope that won’t actually be checked…. You can always propose a completely useless method that will repress everyone….

So instead, Stallman suggests that age verification could be handled by…. GNU Taler: Suppose there’s some sort of service which charges money, or even a tiny amount of money, and is only for people over 16, or people over 18 or whatever it is. Well, you could get from your bank a Taler token that says the person using this token is over 16. This bank has verified that…. So then the site only needs to insist on a 16-or-over Taler token, and your age is verified, but the site has no idea who you are. Unfortunately that won’t help if user-identifying age-tracking systems are legislated now. The code of Taler works, but it’s still being integrated with a bank so that people could actually start to use it with real businesses.

Read on for Slashdot’s report on Stallman’s remarks on cryptocurrencies and encryption, or jump ahead to…

Can GNU Taler accounts be frozen? Why cryptocurrency shouldn’t replace banking The problem with VPN apps – and how interoperable encryption could protect your freedom

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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