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[liberationtech] Silent Circle for human rights orgs..

Nadim Kobeissi nadim at nadim.cc
Sun Feb 17 14:21:37 PST 2013


This form's been there for a while, and more importantly, months before
they released any source code.


NK


On Sun, Feb 17, 2013 at 5:19 PM, Kate Krauss <katie at critpath.org> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I haven't been following this thread and do not know anything about
> "Silent Circle." This is why I'm responding--I'm a human rights activist
> and I don't know the backstory to this group, good or bad. I'm responding
> to a number of off-putting aspects of the Silent Circle web site, most of
> which might be easily fixed.
>
> So to play the devil's advocate--why would a human rights group that is
> not focused on infosec and doesn't already know these people be interested
> in participating in this?
>
> The bombastic text below seems to say, "Join us in our nebulous project.
> If you are lucky to receive a free subscription (unclear why you would want
> one) we will investigate you." The "bona fides" that are "established" here
> are that somebody is very arrogant. The tone of the web site is very
> cloak-and-dagger. Compare it to the Tor Project web site, which actually
> can protect human rights activists: that web site is upbeat, generally
> unpretentious, and the logo is a cartoon vegetable. It is publicly allied
> with EFF, which has a great reputation. In contrast, the logo for this
> company Silent Circle reminds me of "The Ring."
>
> Also, in my experience--the risk, and so the investigation, would be on
> the other foot--human rights groups would be investigating Silent
> Circle--the biggest risk is for the human rights organization and its staff
> and members. The Silent Circle web site makes a lot of promises and asks
> people to take a lot of risks with their information and possibly their
> lives. And when you go to "About us" they seem to be founded by US Navy
> Seal--which raises questions that are not answered. A "melting pot" of
> talent is a concern when one person is all it takes to endanger lives.
>
> Some possible fixes: Friendlier, less pretentious content on the "human
> rights" page (the all-black is a little goofy)--a specific person to
> telephone or OTR instead of filling out this form to send to a stranger,
> and the logos of endorsing organizations that people already trust. Does
> the Tor Project endorse it?
>
> Unfortunately for them, human rights groups supply--or at least
> endure--the cloak and dagger. Their encryption software shouldn't.
>
>
> Kate Krauss
> AIDS Policy Project
> (I also work with non-US, at-risk human rights activists)
>
>
> On Sun, Feb 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM, Ali-Reza Anghaie <ali at packetknife.com>wrote:
>
>> I believe this is new from them and perhaps in response to libtech's
>> ongoing discussions.
>>
>> https://silentcircle.com/web/human-rights/
>>
>> "*If you are a leader, executive or organizer within an active human
>> rights group, which we can gather information on to establish bona fides,
>> then please fill out the form below. We are interested in providing you
>> with a limited number of free subscription packages for dissemination
>> amongst your network in order to protect individual privacy and anonymity.
>> We would like to build a relationship with you in order to best understand
>> your constraints and requirements. We will use the information that you
>> provide in this form to conduct open-source research upon your
>> organization, its affiliates, your areas of activity and your open-source
>> history.*"
>>
>> Cheers, -Ali
>>
>>
>> --
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>
>
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