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[liberationtech] Plan for a New Liberationtech, 2.0

Charles M. Ess c.m.ess at
Sat Nov 10 08:59:00 PST 2018

Hi all,

While I'm not an expert in these domains (pun intended), I would 
certainly encourage you to look at

They are a Norwegian company, which means first of all that they follow 
both the latest implementation of the GDPR, as well as the data security 
oversight rules and regulations of the Norwegian Data Protection 
Authority (Datatilsynet).  In my experience - primarily in the area of 
internet research ethics and advising students at all levels on 
researchers' obligations to protect both their subjects and themselves - 
the Norwegian system appears to be as robust and transparent as one 
could ask for.

You can explore the details here:

All of their physical infrastructure for email is located in Norway, 
which adds a further layer of legal protection - and also means that 
their electricity is (more or less) 100% hydropower.
Their webhosting services are co-located in the U.S.; my assumption is 
that in case of issues, the Norwegian and EU rules override U.S. ones.
see: <>

FWIW: I've been using their email services for several years now and am 
very pleased all around - both with the services and a consistently very 
quick and to-the-point customer service on the 3-4 occasions I've needed 

I'm certain that more or less everyone on this is list is much sharper 
than I on these matters and may well spot more than one point of 
objection.  I'd be happy to learn of this, of course - but in the 
meantime, would strongly encourage a close look.

Best of luck
- charles ess

On 10/11/2018 17:22, Yosem Companys wrote:
> Hi All,
> I'm in the process of migrating Liberationtech from Stanford to a new 
> independent site, but I have run into a difficulty.
> Most of you recommended Greenhost for hosting services, but I have yet 
> to receive a reply from Greenhost despite multiple email attempts.
> Is there another hosting service you'd recommend? Please remember that 
> the criteria are the following:
>   * The host should operate from a location that has the privacy- and
>     security-friendliest laws in the world;
>   * The host should also be the most privacy- and security-friendly host
>     in the world (or the second most, assuming Greenhost is #1 in this
>     area); and,
>   * The host should offer great customer service.
> Our original plan (described below) was to ask Greenhost both to host 
> and develop our new website. Now that Greenhost appears to be out of the 
> running, I intend to explore the other options you suggested below for 
> website development.
> Thanks,
> Yosem
> On Thu, Sep 6, 2018 at 8:55 PM Yosem Companys <ycompanys at 
> <mailto:ycompanys at>> wrote:
>     Below is the amended plan for the new Liberationtech based on your
>     feedback. Should you have any questions, please let me know.
>       * *Corporate Governance: Fiscal Sponsorship, NOT Legal Status*.
>         Most of you recommended that we not incorporate legally as a
>         501(c)3 at this time. Instead, you recommended that we use a
>         fiscal sponsor instead. A number of fiscal sponsors were
>         proposed including Creative Commons; the Electronic Frontier
>         Foundation; Freedom House; the Free Software Foundation; the
>         Information Ethics and Equity Institute; Mozilla; Oasis; the
>         Open Source Institute; the Public Sphere Project; the Puerto
>         Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust; the Renewable
>         Freedom Foundation in Germany; Software Freedom Conservancy; and
>         Wikimedia. There is also the Tides Foundation. The advantage of
>         fiscal sponsors is that they can accept charitable contributions
>         on behalf of Liberationtech and take care of the legal and
>         accounting requirements needed to maintain the organization,
>         thereby freeing Liberationtech to pursue its vision and mission.
>         We have decided to find fiscal sponsors for different legal
>         jurisdictions to ensure that we have a global presence. [Down
>         the line, the Sustainable Economies Law Center was proposed as
>         an organization to help Liberationtech incorporate as a 501(c)3.]
>       * *Vision*. To research, design, and implement technologies for
>         social good, especially for privacy and security.
>       * *Mission*. To create and support a community of practice around
>         technology for social good that incorporates privacy and
>         security by design.
>       * *Hosting Service*. Most of you expressed concerns about hosting
>         in the U.S. and asked that Liberationtech use the most privacy-
>         and security-friendly legal jurisdiction instead. Most of you
>         also recommended Greenhost.
>       * *Website Design and Development*. Some of you kindly offered to
>         work on a pro bono basis to design and develop the
>         Liberationtech website. Others suggested contacting groups such
>         as the Agile Collective, Aspiration Technologies, CoTech,
>         Digital Life Collective,, and Greenhost for these
>         services. What should the website have? You asked that we keep
>         the Liberationtech website simple. Beyond a basic description
>         and a list of the board of advisers, you asked that we do the
>         following:
>           o *Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)*. Most of you asked that we
>             build a site that is as simple as possible so that it may be
>             viewed even by those who have slow devices or weak bandwidth.
>           o *Just a mailing list, please*. Most of you also asked that
>             we only use open-source mailing list software that has been
>             around for a long time for convenience (i.e., you get the
>             email in your inbox) or security reasons and to make it
>             easier for any list subscriber to download the list or port
>             it from one device to another.
>           o *Use Matrix and/or Discourse*. Enough of you feel passionate
>             enough about using Matrix and/or Discourse beyond the basic
>             mailing list capabilities that we've decided to do so.
>           o *Let me create my own list, please*. Many of you asked that
>             we allow list subscribers to create their own lists around
>             specific subjects, whether by chapter (read more below),
>             geography, sector, or topic. For example, some of you asked
>             that Calls for Papers (CfPs), jobs, and announcements be
>             moved to separate mailing lists.
>           o *Make the site mobile*. Self-explanatory.
>           o *Mirror it*. Many of you asked that we mirror the site at a
>             number of locations for security reasons.
>       * *Incubation*. Because we've decided to continue to research,
>         design, and implement technologies for social good that
>         incorporate privacy- and security-by-design, we aim to raise
>         funds to become an incubator of technology for social good,
>         where the funds would go to support the development of projects
>         based on the ideas the community likes the most. We'll also try
>         to incubate student projects on tech for social good that could
>         be sponsored by companies to help students get jobs post-graduation.
>       * *Directory*. Some of you suggested that we create a wiki (or
>         similar) with tips, good practices, tools, and apps for secure
>         communication and digital privacy, along with a list of the
>         organizations and platforms that work in the technology for
>         social good space.
>       * *Funding*. Some of you suggested that Liberationtech contact
>         foundations such as Omidyar and the Open Technology Fund. Others
>         suggested that Liberationtech engage in crowdfunding. Yet others
>         suggested charging a yearly fee for people to create their own
>         Liberationtech chapters in geographies around the world.
>     One question that lingers is the following:
>       * What is the key differentiator of Liberationtech vis-a-vis other
>         existing groups, organizations, and/or sites in the space?
>     If any of you want to take a stab at answering the question, please
>     do so.
>     Otherwise, Gonzalo and I will be more than happy to do a review of
>     the field and try to answer that question in a more explicit manner.
>     Thanks,
>     Yosem

Professor in Media Studies
Department of Media and Communication
University of Oslo

Postboks 1093
Blindern 0317
Oslo, Norway
c.m.ess at

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