A Twitter user pointed to me that my software CryptoDonate is used in a neo-nazi website. The widget had a linkback to my blog.

I DON'T want my software to be used for evil or support hate.

It is Open Source and free for anyone to use. As an Open Source dev, what can I do ?

I mailed Stallman. Wouldn't freedom be misutilized for evil ? Should there be a limit to freedom ?

He replied & modified GNU's Free Software doc to clarify, "freedom to run the program means nothing stops you from making it run."

i.e I can prevent it from running on that site

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But I can't keep checking if it's used for evil and adding more and more conditions will make the script heavy.

GNU has a doc on "Why programs must not limit the freedom to run them" :

I don't want my software to be used for evil :(

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@subins2000 Unfortunately, this is an issue I've run into as well, at least in theory.

Only a few licenses like the NPL (Non-violent Public License) specifically disallow use of software for "evil", and they're usually made by individual people who aren't law "professionals"

And even then, their effectiveness is dubious, as it could easily be breached (and most people don't have the resources to bring it to court or anything)

It's a shitty situation for sure...

@subins2000 there you need to define what is evil?

Evil for us may be good for others.

@tshrinivasan Yeah, that is the problem. It's relative.

But, hate and discrimination is fundamentally evil. That can be agreed.

Found the NPL license which requires to not violate the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

That I think is a good one.

@subins2000 Thats nice to see such a license. Thanks for the good find.

@subins2000 look up NPL license.
It might not be perfect but it might help.

You can have ethical software or freedom 0, but you cannot have both

@subins2000 I don't know if there's a solution to this that still complies with recognised "open source" licenses but I've boosted this in case anyone else does have an answer.

@kittybecca I share those sentiments :) I'm not sure if @subins2000 is invested in keeping an OSI-approved license or if they'd consider using a "do no harm" license.

@gid @kittybecca I like the 4 freedoms GPL license provide, but would want Freedom 0 to be applied for purposes that don't do harm to another human being.

@subins2000 @kittybecca I'm not a lawyer but I'm unsure that could ever be enforced.

@subins2000 I feel your pain. Unfortunately, if you want to keep the software open source and/or free software, you can't prevent evil people from using it.

Software licensing also tends to be an ineffective tool against evil people. They just do what they want anyway. discusses this.

A potentially effective way to combat evil is to tell people that they're doing evil deeds, and why. That may invite evil to retaliate, though.

@subins2000 To clarify: I've chosen to keep my software free and open source, and not use the licence to prevent evil people from using it.

I don't like it when my software is used for evil.

I'm still looking for solutions that I can live with.

@subins2000 You can re-acquaint yourself with basic tenets of Open Source, and Free Software for that matter. If you restrict the freedom of your users, you are not for Open Source. And yes, that includes national-socialists, international socialists, democratic socialists, or any other kind of hate-mongers.

@subins2000 You could decide to write proprietary software so people can't use it without your permission. Either that or chill out.

@subins2000 Certainly a quandary. I think it's against the principles of #FOSS to demand users use your software in a certain way, but I get not wanting your software to be used by Nazis.

At this point, I'm assuming the people could fork your project, even if you put software or licensing limitations on it.

Definitely some sort of official statement saying you don't condone racist/other actions taken with the software should suffice.

@subins2000 The design of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are always going to attract criminal activities. Look into Taler -- It has a lot of the same properties as cryptocurrencies, but is designed so that it's not useful for corruption/illegal activities:

@subins2000 Either don't free the source and license it out on a case-per-case basis as a SaaS, which has its obvious downsides, or try using a license such as (C)NPL, which requires legal action (and therefore, costs!) to be executed and even then is unlikely to stand in court.

Free software is meant to be usable by everyone, that is its very definition, as painful as it gets when people use your stuff for harming others.

If that isn't what you want, you mustn't use FOSS licenses.


I know of @jalcine 's work, but I am not aware of what @zkat has been doing and how. Do you have any links?


@subins2000 The most effective action I think would be try to use their link back to you to attempt a de-radicalization.

Check the "Referer" header to see if it's them, and maybe some randomness so the site admins don't catch on too quickly.

As an open source dev you should remember that discriminating against certain software uses or users is the very same as discriminating against certain races or genders.

@subins2000 freedom is hard. But you have an opportunity to state on your blog that you're not a nazi, and why, that is likely to be trafficked by the idiots. Maybe you can help one see the light

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