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Why you should use Riseup.
Why you should use Riseup. Why your friends should use us, or other tech
Two birds recently did a presentation at the People's Summit
celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the WTO protests. We discussed
the dangers of using corporate tools to do organizing work, in
particular, the fact that you don't know what they do with your data.
Thanks to some anonymous comments in a blogger's post about his
research regarding a U.S. mobile phone company's release to law
enforcement of its customers' geographic location information, we now
have some answers.
Large companies have entire departments devoted to dealing with law
enforcement subpoenas and warrants, and the anonymous posters provided
copies of the guidebooks that several large corporations provide to
assist law enforcement with their requests. The leaked manuals include
those for facebook, yahoo,, myspace, comcast, and paypal.
Each manual provides helpful hints for law enforcement regarding the
specific data available (some of which may be obtained with a mere
subpoena and without any judicial scrutiny), and even sample request
language to use in different circumstances. For example, according to
the leaked manual, facebook retains information about the IP address of
every computer that accesses their website for 30 days. This means that,
unless you use countermeasures, facebook can know the exact location
where you logged on to your account. Because this IP address information
does not include the contents of communications, a U.S. prosecutor can
seek the information without any judicial oversight.
With a court order, facebook will release even more information about
you. They've even developed an application called "Neoprint" to deliver
a handy packet of information about subscribers, including profile
contact information, mini-feed, friend listing (with friend's facebook
ID), group listing and messages.
There is little oversight of surveillance conducted in the U.S. of
online service providers because the U.S. Department of Justice does not
report the number of IP address requests that they have issued, even
though a 1999 law requires reports. There is also no reporting
requirement for court orders issued under the Stored Communications
Act which governs the release in the United States of all of your
electronic data stored online.
One of the scary things about all of this is that the US actually has
better data protection laws than many other countries. Also, unlike our
comrades in the EU, the US does not currently require online
providers to keep logs, This means that people organizing everywhere
should be aware that if you are using corporate providers, your data is
While this information should not be surprising, it illustrates the
importance of supporting alternatives and educating each other about the
risks of using corporate tools for organizing work. For more
information, read the blog post,