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[liberationtech] Introducing The GovLab Digest: covering innovations in Governance, delivered weekly

J.M. Porup jm at
Tue Feb 17 14:55:51 PST 2015

Rich Kulawiec:
> On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 07:17:18PM +0100, Christian Huldt wrote:
>> Who are and why should I trust them?
> Spammers for hire, and no, you shouldn't -- doubly so since (like many
> such operations) they embed unique-per-recipient tracking links in every
> message they send.  Last time I checked they were operating over 300
> domains -- e.g.,,,  This is a tactic
> used exclusively by spammers who are attempt to evade domain-based
> blacklisting: there is absolutely no legitimate purpose for it.
> The best way for GovLab to avoid all of this is to set up a Mailman
> instance in-house.  As Ken over at the PopeHat blog has astutely observed,
> when you outsource your email, you outsource your reputation.  And I'll
> add to that that you also surrender the privacy of your readers to third
> parties unknown to you.
> That's also the best way for everyone else.  If you're trying to do
> something with a mailing list that Mailman doesn't do, there's a very good
> chance that what you're trying to do is wrong, stupid, silly or abusive.
> (Yes, Mailman is *that* good.  And it's very well supported by an active
> community.  I could use anything I want -- or write my own -- but I use
> it because I think I think it's the best available by a wide margin.)

Privacy and security do not always go hand in hand. In this case, they

The threat model is evolving. The danger is no longer simply the
collection of your private information. The danger is sabotage. Spies
(or other adversaries) don't like your project? They sabotage your
mailing list. They corrupt the database, they delete users, they add
users who never opted in (thus destroying your domain reputation), and
in general interfere with the running of your list.

Feudalism is a protection racket. And in a world of digital feudalism,
few people are capable of running their own mail server etc in a secure way.

So we pay fealty to Google, MailChimp, etc, giving up our privacy in
exchange for something more or less approaching security.

While invisible barbarians assault us from all sides, we are forced to
huddle inside these castle walls, serfs to our feudal overlords. Perhaps
the day will come when that is no longer necessary.

I hope so, anyway.


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