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[liberationtech] archives public

André Rebentisch tabesin at
Sat Aug 11 15:58:46 PDT 2012

Am 10.08.2012 06:40, schrieb Brian Conley:
> I agree with you generally Jillian, but perhaps the list guidelines
> should be changed to simply make the archives public?

I respectfully disagree, I experienced it as dangerous to have open ML
archives. In Germany I would clearly advise list admins against unless
it is a newsletter. I have been through this.
a) case of notice&takedown action: Most list admins have no process how
to delete individual posts from the archives. If you don't respond in
time you get into trouble. You never get enough time to respond when
your opponents are malicious.
b) several emails per year from individuals kindly asking you to remove
posts from the archives of an inactive list you didn't even know.
c) google indexing, which promotes a) and b) cases

A  ML usually implies an expectation about the audience and a customary
agreement how to share submissions. If you subscribe to a mailing list
w/o open archives your are not supposed to make them available.

Here an example: RMS once had a discussion with Zimbabwe supporters on
an IGF internet governance list where he expressed quite frank and
opinionated views about the nature of the Mugabe "government". Because
it was an open list with open archives (but limited subscribers) the
conversation ended up indexed by Google. RMS did not bother that he
endangered his African discussion partners by inciting them to answer
his flame bait. Did participants to a ML gave their prior consent to
leave a totalitarian trace? Google indexing makes the discussion
partners uneven, because (email surveillance aside) certain parties
cannot express their views within the group.

Google indexing of open archive ML leaves a trace that anyone without
advanced knowledge, access or technology could exploit.  You type the
email of a student from Zimbabwe and you find a discussion where he
responds to a critic of the Mugabe government. Not relevant for us, we
enjoy free speech, but it may become quite dangerous for this person, in
particular, if the nature of the regime was correctly described. I am
disgusted by the "information wants to be free" cynicism in these scenarios.


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