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[liberationtech] Facebook: Building Global Community - What's your response to Mark Zuckerberg?

join at join at
Fri Feb 24 11:21:04 PST 2017

No need to reinvent the wheel, Tim Berners Lee (creator of the World Wide Web) is on it!

One of the core problems with the web is that there is no identity layer controlled by the user. SOLID (social linked data) aims to inverse the current feudalism model of social media (you are a serf who rents property from the real estate monopoly under the agreement that they install surveillance in every corner of your digital life).

Instead, you own your identity and all digital services must ask your permission to be a part of your life under your terms which you can revoke at any time.

This is not a new concept, and many attempts to reform identity management on the internet have failed, OpenID and Mozilla's BrowserID/Persona project come to mind.

I say we explore and expand on Tim's work and the small community around it. He's been thinking hard about this stuff ever since http://

Also, sad to see the news about LiberationTech, but glad that the torch continues to burn.... :D

---- On Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:09:09 -0800 Yosem Companys<ycompanys at> wrote ---- 

This is a great email, Rich. I agree with many, if not all, of your points. 

Now that Liberationtech is becoming independent, should it try to remain a mailing list, or should it also pursue ambitious projects to try to solve these problems?

I pose the question to Rich but also more broadly.

More to come...

On Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 8:12 AM, Rich Kulawiec <rsk at> wrote:
On Sat, Feb 18, 2017 at 02:23:18PM -0800, Yosem Companys wrote:
 > To protect your privacy and security, stay off Facebook.
 > But, to build movements, create an account on Facebook (or Twitter or any
 > other dominant centralized social network) and try to get as many people to
 > join.
 [ rhetorical "you" throughout ]
 I think this is a really bad idea: it's a trap.
 These aren't tools that exist to facilitate your cause: these are data
 harvesting and surveillance engines that will collect and collate every
 scrap of data and metadata your adversaries need.  And once that corpus
 exists, it WILL be acquired: it's much too valuable and much too easily
 transmitted to have the slightest chance of staying in one place.
 This is obvious on inspection: every architectural decision, every design
 decision, every operational decision, every policy decision ever made
 by these operations supports the goal of data acquisition.  It's what
 they were built to do.
 All the other stuff?  Shiny distraction.  Bait.  Scam.  Propaganda.
 Whether the data's acquired by overt contractual arrangement, whether it's
 acquired by force of law, whether it's acquired under the table, whether
 it's acquired by hacking, whether it's acquired via individual employees,
 it WILL be acquired.
 Nobody leaves that rich a source of actionable intelligence just sitting
 on the table untouched.
 So all that you will accomplish by using "social networks" is:
         (a) building the database your enemies need to destroy you and
         your allies and your cause
         (b) building it in a place where they can easily get it --
         if they haven't already had it from the moment you created it.
 For example:
         If I were working for fill-in-the-blank, I would already have
         my own people in place at Twitter and Eventbrite and Meetup
         and Facebook and all the rest -- either full-time employees,
         or people I've co-opted via bribes, blackmail, or other means.
         They'd be there long before you were, just waiting for you to
         show up and start spending your time and your effort and your
         money handing them as much data/metadata as you possibly can.
         I would do much the same thing if I were a sufficiently-organized,
         sufficiently-funded group intent on propagating racism or fascism
         or poverty or pollution or any of the things likely to trigger
         Why not?  It's cheap.  It's easy.  It's low-risk.  It's
         sustainable.  It's simple.  It's deniable.  It's scalable.
         In contrast to other spying/surveillance operations, which can
         be expensive, complex, and risky, this is a cakewalk *because
         they already built everything for me at their expense*.
         What possible reason would I have for not taking advantage of it?
         You'll give me data on your supporters, your allies, your
         movements, their movements, your family, their families, your
         friends, their friends, you employer, their employers, their
         spending habits, their operating systems, their web browsers
         and mail clients, your meetings -- and much more.
         I'm going to end up knowing far more about you and your people
         than YOU know.
 If you're trying to "liberate" someone or something, the first thing
 you need to do is liberate yourself from "social networks".  You should
 be trying as hard as you possibly can NOT to generate this data/metadata
 at all, anywhere -- instead of not only doing so deliberately, but doing
 it in a place that you have zero control over and that your adversaries
 can access far more easily than you can.  (Please don't even try to tell
 me stuff like "my Facebook group is private".  The only possible response
 to a fairy tale like that is mocking laughter.)
 If you insist on blundering ahead with "social networks" anyway, because
 you're too stubborn to listen or too naive to think it can happen to
 you, then as soon as you become a problem for an adversary with the
 requisite resources -- that is, as soon as you become effective at
 annoying someone with money or power -- they're going to exploit this.
 p.s. And as if this wasn't enough, in case you haven't noticed, the US
 is now demanding "social network" passwords from people entering the
 country.  Howls of protest have gone up, and a joint letter from a
 coalition of human rights and civil liberties organizations has been
 penned.  The combined impact of all this will be zero.  This administration
 doesn't care for facts or reason or petitions or protests, only about
 imposing its will.  All that's necessary is shouting "TERRORISM!" repeatedly
 and accusing opposers of weakness and lack of patriotism and supporting
 the bad guys: this is more than enough to get the stupid segment of the
 population -- which is the majority -- to support this nonsense.
 And by the time it's replaced with a sane one, IF it's replaced with a
 sane one, the damage will be done: this will be the new normal.  See
 "the Overton window" for the archetype.
 And, as that letter observes, what the US does will be copied by other
 countries, so we're not far from a future where most countries demand
 exactly the same thing.  And given that this is all being done under
 the guise of stopping the insignificant but easily hyped threat of
 terrorism, refusal isn't going to be a viable choice.
 This would be bad enough, even if the exposure was limited to
 the governments involved.  But it won't be.  These passwords have
 value.  Therefore there will be buyers.  Therefore there will be sellers.
 Border personnel (traditionally among the most corrupt public
 officials, since they have the most opportunity) will no doubt find it
 quite lucrative to acquire and market these to *anyone* who can pay:
 human traffickers, drug dealers, kidnappers, stalkers, organized crime,
 *anyone*.  Why not?  It's not THEIR data.  You're not THEIR problem.
 And they have a combination of nearly unlimited authority backed
 by lethal force, accompanied by zero acountability and more than
 enough plausible deniability.
 The only way to win this game is not to play.
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