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[liberationtech] Fwd: Designing a useful and robust social collaboration tool

alex alex.hache at
Tue Feb 8 08:31:05 PST 2011

Hash: SHA1

Dear all

this is my first time writing to this list which I really enjoy reading
I would like to bring to your attention the existence of Lorea, a one
year more or less initiative for the development of free, secured,
federated and self managed social networks for the people.
I copy below a presentation in English of our hacktivist project
extracted from a recent article drafted with a colleague on the issue
of "technological sovereignty and social networks":

Lorea is a project organized by an informal collective that was
started in 2009 by individuals concerned with security and privacy
issues in this age of surveillance, control, and data mining. The
development team includes an army of ?good fairies,? comprised of
software developers and hacktivists. Lorea is a hotbed of free, secure
social networks which have given impulse to the rise of self-managed
federated social networks. They are free because they are integrally
based on free software and also because they foster the freedom of
their inhabitants and the self-organization of civil society. To this
end, Lorea implements and develops tools for facilitating
collaboration between individuals, online work, and the dissemination
and generation of collective memory (wikis, blogs, etherpad,
calendars, task management, mailing lists, forums, microblogging,
files sharing, etc.) in a secure and sovereign fashion.

The starting point for Lorea is Elgg, the most popular free software
for social networks, but instead of limiting itself to offering
servers on which it is installed, the group researches federation
protocols. The defense of network neutrality as the fundamental
principle of its architecture and the search for distribution and
decentralization responds to the group?s desire to bring down the
walls of the panoptic 2.0 and escape from the ghetto.

These networks are self-managed because Lorea is a non-profit,
independent, open, and self-sufficient project. We don?t talk of
?users,? but rather of ?inhabitants? because we prefer a conscious
coexistence instead of a simple, passive client relationship. Lorea
inhabitants actively participate in the design, development, and
maintenance of the network,s working to implement the federation
protocols, develop code, maintain safe servers, hunt down bugs,
translate the interfaces into various languages, test user
friendliness, document its development, and to undertake
dissemination, help, or welcome activities for new inhabitants. There
is thus no institution or formalized association behind Lorea, but
rather a community of inhabitants.

Lorea puts great stock in security and privacy. Because of this, the
community works actively in the field of data protection, aiming for
the creation of a polycentric peer-to-peer server network. They are
also committed to the implementation of technologies such as the GPG
(GNU Privacy Guard), which allows the contents circulating through the
network to be encrypted so that they are read only by those for whom
they are intended. Using a scalable visibility level system, they seek
to create circles of confidence, making it possible to manage multiple

Furthermore, the community of Lorea inhabitants works to normalize
conscientious and respectful practices, both with their own security
and privacy settings and with those of others. Throughout the
projects? documentation, inhabitants are reminded that privacy within
an SNS is an ambiguous notion at best:   "Do not expect and demand the
impossible, do not expose things when you are doubtful with respect to
their publication, always think of how what you publish may affect the
privacy of others, and do nothing which you wouldn?t want done to you.
We recommend that our inhabitants be responsible and imaginative and
that they use all measures they deem necessary to maintain their
privacy intact. Remember: Big Brother is watching you"

you can also find more information at : (this is our working group which
exemplifies how works a federated group across all our SNS)*

*Our main language across the project is Spanish as many of the
inhabitants of our social networks are Spanish speakers which explains
why many didactic materials such as articles, presentations and the
"manual for inhabitants" are still only available in Spanish,
nonetheless English is also used inside developers, testers and
bughunting working groups. As said before this is a non profit,
voluntary and self managed project... anyhow, for those who would like
to access more information, please don't doubt contacting me

thanks and take care

Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -


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