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[liberationtech] Not another Haystack right?

Brian Conley brianc at smallworldnews.tv
Tue Nov 29 12:41:57 PST 2011


It appears BBG still funds Tor as of this year, as does an "anonymous north
american NGO" yet Tor has so far avoided similar blowback from regional
activists generally.

What is it about Tor that has prevented it from getting the same coloring?
Although it seems like a risky idea for Michaels' project to consider BBG
funding, Tor receives said funding, so one has to wonder whether, if they
need the funding, there are steps they could take to innoculate themselves.

Certainly I agree that the NDI project is fundamentally different and
totally bullshit.

Would be great to see some research similar to what Yosem mentioned on
MENA, and particularly around attitudes about Tor and Ultrasurf among
others...

Brian

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:34 AM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at gmail.com>wrote:

> Different name, same problem, and in fact, often worse.  I think Internews
> has somehow managed to be the exception, for two reasons: a) their projects
> seem to be well-managed (and I give credit here to their excellent and
> diverse staff) and b) they're simply not well-known, whereas NED and NDI
> are regularly referred to in the region as projects of the CIA.  Freedom
> House's reports enjoy a certain amount of respect (imho, because they're
> truly fair in most cases) but most activists I know avoid their trainings
> like the plague.
>
> Furthermore, I would say that some of those orgs are actually doing a
> rather terrible job, period. NDI's absurd "Aswat" project, for example, was
> bound for failure from the beginning - what business does a USG-funded
> agency have in imposing a blogging network on a region where an excellent
> blogging network already exists?
>
> Yosem (your email came in whilst I was typing) - does such research exist
> for the MENA region?  If not, I would suspect it wouldn't apply in these
> cases.  The perspective of which I speak is extremely widespread.
>
> -Jillian
>
>
> On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:29 AM, Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv>wrote:
>
>> Right, exactly so. USG funding may make the tool both unviable and
>> invalid for certain use cases.
>>
>> What's your take on funding from secondary sources, such as NED, NDI,
>> Freedom House, Internews, who may receive the funding from the USG and then
>> apply it to subcontracted projects?
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:21 AM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at gmail.com
>> > wrote:
>>
>>> Okay, whew.  I'm sure everyone saw the tweets from Syria following CNN's
>>> article about Psiphon (which was inaccurate in a few ways anyhow) -
>>> Psiphon, in my opinion, is a perfectly good *circumvention* tool (as
>>> opposed to all of the overblown attributes it was given by CNN) but the
>>> mention of the State Department in the article marked the tool immediately
>>> invalid in the eyes of most of the Syrians I know.  Something to think
>>> about.
>>>
>>>
>>> On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:18 AM, Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv
>>> > wrote:
>>>
>>>> No no, I think not being public about funding would make it less valid
>>>> and viable. you must have misunderstood me!
>>>>
>>>> B
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:16 AM, Jillian C. York <
>>>> jilliancyork at gmail.com> 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 gmx.com> 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.com | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244 | google
>>>>> voice: +1-415-562-JILL
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Brian Conley
>>>>
>>>> Director, Small World News
>>>>
>>>> http://smallworldnews.tv
>>>>
>>>> m: 646.285.2046
>>>>
>>>> Skype: brianjoelconley
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244 | google voice:
>>> +1-415-562-JILL
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>> --
>>
>>
>>
>> Brian Conley
>>
>> Director, Small World News
>>
>> http://smallworldnews.tv
>>
>> m: 646.285.2046
>>
>> Skype: brianjoelconley
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244 | google voice:
> +1-415-562-JILL
>
>
>
>


-- 



Brian Conley

Director, Small World News

http://smallworldnews.tv

m: 646.285.2046

Skype: brianjoelconley
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