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[liberationtech] Not another Haystack right?

Jillian C. York jilliancyork at
Tue Nov 29 11:16:00 PST 2011

I'm desperately curious as to why anyone thinks that USG funding makes
something somehow more valid in the eyes of the tool's recipients/users.
"Viability" perhaps, but validity?  Surely you don't believe that.

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 10:53 AM, Michael Rogers <m-- at> wrote:

> Hi Brian,
> Thanks for the questions - answers below.
> On 29/11/11 18:22, Brian Conley wrote:
> > 1. what are some use-cases you see for Briar? That is not clear from
> > your site, other than "Briar is a secure news and discussion
> > system designed to be used by journalists, activists and civil society
> > groups in authoritarian countries. "
> >
> > How would they use it? What would they do with it? What are their goals,
> > and for what reasons would they choose Briar over, say, secret Facebook
> > groups run over TOR and HTTPS (there may be lots of problems with that
> > example, its just an example that I think activists are likely to
> > utilize, and I know of at least one case where a "secret facebook group"
> > has been used to coordinate actions in an Arab country, though I doubt
> > they were using any additional security in most cases)
> I hope people will use Briar for anything they currently use blogs,
> mailing lists, Facebook groups and private emails for. But since it's
> inconvenient to adopt new tools, I'd imagine its main appeal will be to
> users who feel they're at risk of surveillance or censorship.
> When compared to Facebook, the advantages of Briar would include:
> * Messages can be posted anonymously or pseudonymously
> * Facebook and its partners don't have access to private messages
> * Users in the same country don't need to "climb the wall" to
> communicate with each other
> Of course, there are disadvantages too - not least of which is that
> Facebook can be accessed from any computer with a browser.
> > With regard to its use by journalists especially, how will sources be
> > able to be identified? Although you may not want people to know that
> > Brian Joel Conley who lives in Portland OR, etc said X, Y, and Z, a
> > journalist will need to know that X, Y, and Z were all said by the same
> > source, among other needs.
> If someone needs to prove that two or more messages come from the same
> source, she can sign those messages with a pseudonym. The pseudonym
> doesn't need to be connected to her real identity in any way, and she
> can use multiple pseudonyms without anyone, including her trusted
> contacts, being certain that those pseudonyms belong to her.
> If someone needs to confirm that a pseudonym belongs to a specific
> individual, she has to meet that individual face-to-face. Briar has
> nothing equivalent to PGP's web of trust that could be used to attest
> that "key X belongs to person Y according to person Z".
> > 2. who is funding your project? Are you being public about this? If not,
> > it raises some concerns for the validity and viability of the project,
> > though it may also be understandable given the subject matter. If it's
> > not being funded by the Broadcast Board of Governors already, and you're
> > willing to consider USG funding, let me know and I'm happy to put you in
> > touch with some folks who may be able to assist.
> Thanks, that would be fantastic! The project has previously been funded
> by the Small Media Initiative but isn't currently receiving any funding.
> If we do, we'll be transparent about it.
> Cheers,
> Michael
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-- | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244 | google voice:
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