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[liberationtech] Secure Cloud Computing: Virtualizing the FreedomBox

Zooko Wilcox-OHearn zooko at
Thu Apr 24 12:09:48 PDT 2014

On 24/04/14 19:21, Zooko Wilcox-OHearn wrote:
> Oh, by the way, this part was incorrect. An example of a Tahoe-LAFS
> service provider is my company,
> does not have any ability to acquire our
> customers's keys, nor to backdoor our customers.

On Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 6:13 PM, Caspar Bowden (lists)
<lists at> wrote:
> This is semantics. If you provide the service to a customer, you can be
> forced to backdoor

No, this is wrong. I can understand why you say this, because you've
looked at dozens — perhaps hundreds — of services which made claims
like those above, and in every case it turned out that the service
actually had the technical capability to backdoor its customers. Am I
right? The Hushmail case that you cite was an early and famous
example, and the recent Lavabit case is an example.

But is different from that, for a very specific
technical reason.

That reason is that not *only* is our operation free from customer
plaintext and customer encryption keys, but *also* we don't deliver
software to our customers.

When new customers sign up at, we send them
a nice email explaining that now they need to go acquire the Free and
Open Source software named "Tahoe-LAFS". We recommend that they get it
from their operating system provider, e.g. Debian, Ubuntu, or the
"pkgsrc" system (

Therefore if a government, or a murderous mafia, compelled us to
cooperate with them, we would then say "Well… okay, but… have you
figured out how your target users acquires the software? Because, you
know, if they're getting it from Debian, or from Tails, or something,
then there's not a whole lot we can do to help you backdoor your
target users…".

Here's an open letter on this topic that I wrote to the Silent Circle
folks when they shut down their mail service after the Lavabit story


Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn

Founder, CEO, and Customer Support Rep
Freedom matters.

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