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[liberationtech] Not another Haystack right?

Brian Conley brianc at
Tue Nov 29 11:18:11 PST 2011

No no, I think not being public about funding would make it less valid and
viable. you must have misunderstood me!


On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:16 AM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at>wrote:

> 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:
> +1-415-562-JILL


Brian Conley

Director, Small World News

m: 646.285.2046

Skype: brianjoelconley
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