Dating is a free software issue
I've been making the argument that everything is a free software issue for a few months now. Back in November, I was lucky enough to speak at SeaGL and SFSCon, specifically on the issues proprietary technology poses in dating and maintaining romantic relationships.
I've been thinking about this since then -- the issues and infringements on user freedom we face when using technology to meet people, date, and fall in love. I think Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to share just some of these thoughts I've been having.
Many dating apps are also proprietary, available only at the Apple App and Google Play stores, both of which currently require the use of proprietary software.
DRM is an oppressive technology, prevalent among downloadable, online, and streaming media. It restricts your ability to use, reuse, modify, share, and really own the media you purchase. There are practical damages DRM causes: it prevents modifying media for accessibility needs; it keeps people from being able to access their media whenever they want or need to; and it stifles creativity through the prevention of re-use. However, most importantly, the type of control enabled by DRM infringes on your freedoms.
Luckily, there are DRM-free media options available to you. Whether you want to find movies, listen to music, or curl up and read together, there is the perfect DRM-free choice available now.
A few other points
There are lots of computing technologies people use to maintain our relationships, whether romantic, familial, or platonic. They share online calendars, they use Web sites like Amazon to purchase and send presents, and they use apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger to connect with one another every day. These are all proprietary tools, and the act of using them restricts our freedoms.
When the ways we connect with one another are proprietary, we're trusting our secrets, intimacies, and relationships to technology we cannot trust. Software freedom is a necessary step in building trust in our computing technologies. When code is visible, the people who create that code are accountable, but also we have the rights to use, share, study and modify, and share our modifications with one another.
Software freedom is important in all aspects of our life, and that includes romance. By valuing freedom in our relationships, we're not only respecting ourselves, but we're respecting the people with whom we have those relationships.