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New subscriptions section,  (7-Jul-2000),  NEW
Hushmail: A Net Woven by the Fish Themselves?,  (15-Oct-1999)
Eco-Action Newsgroup,  (7-Sep-1998)


(posted 7-Jul-2000)

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(posted 15-Oct-1999)

If you value your freedom, only use hushmail for fun, don't say anything you wouldn't say to a cop.

Hushmail.com is claiming to provide strong encryption on email via a web-based interface. You can only send encrypted mail to other hushmail account holders, so people will obviously encourage their mates to join. A very clever net woven by the fish themselves?

Show me your friends...

Anyway I checked who is hosting the service . It was registered by radiant.net who, on their home page, claim that hushmail is just a client of theirs. Maybe, but then who owns the company? Safemail enjoys a big link on the homepage, while lesser bodies such as Maxim Chemicals are relegated to a list on another page. The other clients of radiant.net are very interesting. It is a 'British' Columbia internet provider exclusively for the 'corporate community'. Bear in mind the recent history of BC re environmentalists particularly.

From their 'about us' page: "The corporate client needs a higher level of service and attention to detail that is just not available from providers dealing with tens of thousands of residential users. This dedication to the corporate community is exactly the emphasis at Radiant and why Vancouver's businesses are migrating to Radiant Communications."

Good buddies include:

and yes, the Western Canada Wilderness Comittee is in there too, but to me that is no less corporate.

Well, call me paranoid if you like but it seems to me that it would be very easy for a bunch of good buddy loggers and miners to get together with the NW police and their extremely wealthy local internet experts (not to mention the local redneck militia supplier) to provide this nice easy crypto-mail service and erm... help out all the activists they love so much.

Peer Review

A prerequisite for any encryption algorythm to be taken seriously is that the source code be available for scrutiny by other cryptographic experts. This is the only way ordinary folks can assure themselves that the thing they use is actually secure. If many experts over a period of years have been unable to mount aq sucessful attack on the encryption, then there is a good chance that it is ok. There is too much to go into here, but although hushmail's stuff is publicly available, I haven't found much peer review (lots of advertising of course).

A good summary of some of the cons is at http://www.counterpane.com/crypto-gram-9908.html#Web-BasedEncryptedE-Mail.

People I have corresponded with who are in the business of strong encryption have confirmed my hunches. Anyone who knows anything about security wouldn't touch this with someone else's computer, methinks. But that's not who they are after, obviously. People need to be warned and we need to find out more. It could well be bona fide, or at least well-intentioned, but there is not enough information provided to know that. As this can possibly be a matter of being imprisoned for some people, I think warnings should be prepared and circulated, unless someone with more knowledge than me can show it is as secure as PGP.

Any help appreciated. If you think this will do as a warning then feel free to forward it to people you care about.

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(posted 7-Sep-1998)

A new newsgroup, alt.activism.eco-action, will be created in the near future. In order to gain maximum acceptance on servers worldwide we need a show of support for the idea. The group will be moderated, to stop it being filled with advertising and right-wing nutters. The moderation interface will be easy and web-based, to enable non-technical people to do it. The purposes of the newsgroup will be:

  1. To provide a point of contact for people seeking others in their area or where they are visiting.
  2. To act as a forum for discussion of ecological direct action without all the usual anti-environmentalists who normally stop any friendly discussion from happening.
  3. To be a publicly available, easy-to-find way of getting involved in ecological direct action. Closed mailing lists do not achieve the kind of accessibility that newsgroups do.
  4. To be a noticeboard for upcoming actions and reports of actions done.

The charter will be strict; no advertising will be allowed and it will not become a forum for all the usual pro- vs anti-environmentalist invective found on the unmoderated groups. We hope it will become a refuge for intelligent discussion of the issues involved, a pleasant place to visit away from the war zone most of usenet seems to have become.

If you would like to see this newsgroup propagated as widely as possible, please just reply to this message with a 'yes' in the body of your message (you can write more if you like, it isn't going to a robot).

The alt. heirarchy doesn't need votes, this group will be created whatever, so there is no need to say 'no'. This is neccessarily a short message, please ask for more details if you want them. (FAQ and Charter, or specific questions about what will be allowed) but don't forget to say yes because we will be going for it soon.

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