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[liberationtech] Anonymous Group Moderation?

Michael Rogers michael at
Wed Jun 5 05:00:53 PDT 2013

Hash: SHA1

On 27/05/13 20:37, Bruce Potter at IRF wrote:
> I have a friend working in a politically volatile environment
> overseas environment who's interested in taking over a public
> e-mail group/listserv as a public participation service. The friend
> is based in the US, but the focus of the listserv is in a country
> where courts have held group moderators responsible for the content
> of various sorts of forums and discussion groups -- even if
> messages themselves are not moderated.
> Because my friend would prefer to avoid litigation, and perhaps
> limits on his future international travel, he's looking for simple
> options that would allow him to set up a group anonymously. Can
> that be done?

Hi Bruce,

One option would be to set up an anonymous Google account and use it
to create a Google Group.

To set up the anonymous account you'll need a burner phone with a
prepaid SIM, which will be used to receive a confirmation code via
SMS. The phone and SIM should be bought anonymously with cash, ideally
from busy locations. A second-hand phone is less likely to be tracable
to the place you bought it than a new phone. The phone should only be
switched on while setting up the Google account; once you've received
the confirmation code, switch off the phone and dispose of the phone
and SIM card. The phone company will know the location at which the
SMS was received, so it's best to receive it in a busy location.

The anonymous Google account should be created and accessed via Tor -
if you *ever* access the account without going through Tor, your
anonymity will be lost. Don't visit any sites connected to your real
identity during a Tor session in which you access the anonymous account.

Another option would be to set up an anonymous Yahoo account and use
it to create a Yahoo Group.

At present, in the UK at least, you don't need a valid phone number to
create a Yahoo account, so you can skip all the cloak and dagger stuff
with the burner phone - just use Tor to create an anonymous Yahoo
account and give a fake phone number along with the other fake contact

As with Google, the fake Yahoo account must *always* be accessed via
Tor, and you shouldn't visit any sites connected to your real identity
during a Tor session in which you access the anonymous account.

Hope this helps - I'd be interested to know how your friend gets on.


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