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[liberationtech] Some non-technical questions about Haystack

Jim Youll jyoull at alum.mit.edu
Thu Sep 16 16:15:05 PDT 2010


Is this a pot that really needs to be stirred right now?

Can we please make sure that all involved are focusing their energies on securing whatever data may be out there that could still put people at risk, and in otherwise bringing this to a soft landing for any at-risk population that may exist (I don't have the technical details nor the inside info that Jacob found, so I cannot assess the degree of care that is needed going forward).

We did just succeed in getting Austin to power down the server that may have held some info that would have been of interest to people and organizations we would not consider friends. I and others are attempting to "advise" Austin (If he is listening) about the best possible protocol for handling the drive(s) that contain this information in terms of credibly, and in consideration of any legal issues that might arise, erasing or physically destroying them... but this may not be as easy as it sounds.

There is still one machine powered on. I and others hope it will also be turned off, just in case. We have NO idea if any Haystack-related central stores has been compromised/read/pwn3d but the sooner they become unreachable, the better.

Can we please focus on securing (for reals, and I don't mean putting the drives in a shoebox) possibly-harmful information first, and when that's been done, there will be unlimited time for poking sticks into the nest... 

Having been in a few pressure cooker situations, I presume that Austin et al have limited and probably diminished (due to the attention and sudden events) capacity for dealing with random events right now. One disaster at a time, please?

- jim


On Sep 16, 2010, at 4:08 PM, Matt D. Harris wrote:

> Howdy folks,
> I have a few non-technical questions about Haystack that I'd like to see answered in the open.  In Daniel's resignation, I took note of the fact that he mentioned he and Austin quitting their jobs to pursue the Censorship Research Center's goals and the Haystack project in specific.  I also noted that on the fundraising link on their website, a total of under $700US was shown as having been donated to the CRC.  I asked Daniel about this off-list, as I was curious, and the financials of a 501(c)3 organization are a matter of public record in the US, but never received a response from him.
> 
> I did a little bit more digging and found that the CRC is a registered California corporation as of 09/2009, but I can't find a 990 for the organization from 2009, nor can I find any record of their IRS 1023 (which is the application for 501(c)3 status.  I plan to make contact with the IRS directly tomorrow regarding this issue to see if they can clear up the facts surrounding the CRC's status as a charitable non-profit entity in the US, but it might be nice if someone involved in the project came out with the facts here first.  Now, it's completely possible that the CRC uses a skewed FY and hence has not filed a 990 yet, but my inability to find them listed as a 501(c)3 seems odd in and of itself.  Furthermore, I'm curious what the financial situation of the CRC is currently, and has been over the past year during which it's been in operation.
> 
> Specifically, I'm curious how much money came in, and where it went.  Beyond that, a statement on the 501(c)3 status of the organization might be nice - since the website claimed that the organization was in fact a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit.  Any light that can be shed on these issues by folks at the CRC would be much appreciated.
> 
> Thanks, Matt
> 
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