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[liberationtech] Quick Guide to Alternatives

Karl Fogel kfogel at
Tue Jun 18 07:42:42 PDT 2013

Moritz Bartl <moritz at> writes:
>On 17.06.2013 21:06, micah wrote:
>> Do you have any suggestions for what Riseup can do to resolve that
>> concern for you? I don't disagree with you, I'm just curious about
>> solutions here.
>I am happy to repeat myself, since the issues I have with Riseup have
>not been addressed so far.
>Tactical Tech should not be recommending Riseup, and Riseup only,
>without stressing that you *always* have to trust the operators and the
>systems behind them, and at least mention some alternatives to Riseup. A
>longer article should also discuss that Gmail is probably better
>security-wise than some random open source installation. In the end it
>depends on your threat model, right?
>#1 There was a point in time when Riseup purposely decided to stop
>pushing decentralization. A lot of work was and is put into features
>that are *not* documented properly and not easily available to replicate.
>#2 As an example, the website states "minimal logging". What the hell is
>"minimum logging" other than marketing speech? Why don't you tell you're
>users what you are logging, up to the last byte? Especially when you
>provide a sensitive service like email, extra care should be put in the
>documentation and specification of logging policies. And by that I mean
>down to the config files of the syslog daemon.

Riseup makes a more specific promise than just "minimal logging".  They
say: "We do not log your IP address" and some other things, at .  It's not the "up to the last
byte" you're asking for above, but it's more specific than just "minimal

>#3 How hard is it to be transparent about money and sponsors? There's
>some big money behind Riseup now, and you guys should be very open about
>the sources.

Surprisingly hard.

It's actually a fair bit of work to maintain up-to-date donor pages,
especially when you have some donors who want to remain anonymous and
other donors who want to be listed under a name slightly different from
the one they donated under, etc... I'm not saying this is the reason
Risup isn't showing that information.  But the answer to your direct
question is: "surprisingly hard".  (Speaking from abundant personal
experience, running one US non-profit organization and being on the
board of another.)

There's an opportunity cost to maintaining that information publicly.
Whoever takes on the task gives up something else they could be doing --
something that might be more interesting and feel more productive to

"Volunteers are surely standing by", and all that :-).

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