Distributed architecture and social justice / at risk individuals

Hello all!

A friend (Aeva Palecek, she said it was okay to reference her here) and
I have been discussing ways in which distributed communication can
help/harm those who are at risk of targeted harassment campaigns.  Her
list of thoughts/concerns are below:

Her list is:

 1. lack of redundancy - while communication is distributed, one's
    online presance is not.  If your server gets DDOSed and you don't
    know how to mitigate the damaged, you are silenced.
 2. not all of us are sysadmins - I can set up a VPS, but being able to
    set one up securely is a profession all on its own.
 3. lack of filtering tools - no ability to reduce line noise from
    people spamming.  The service may as well actually be offline if
    you have to sift through large volumes of putrid hate speech before
    you can read anything from your friends and loved ones
 3. a. curated block lists are effective tools - "block bot" is a
    popular one that people use on twitter.  Tools like this let a
    group of people who trust eachother to curate and add to the list
    based on their interactions with people.
 3. b. sockpuppet accounts are common ways to circumvent block lists,
    but if someone is receiving a high volume of messages (or just
    wants to), there should be an option to prevent accounts with 0
    customization, too low amount of follows, and/or too new from
    communicating with you.  Afaik, twitter lacks this.
 4. If you are following the rules and want to have full control over
    your domain name, you basically have to dox yourself to have an
    online presence, or have to invest a bunch of money to keep
    yourself (eg, buy a PO box to use instead of your home address, or
    register an L3C or something to use instead of your name).  Can we
    please move away from this horrible approach?

 (Some additional feedback from Aeva: #2 is an issue of making
 deployment easier, and maybe something along the lines of onion
 services is a response to #4.  A hidden federated service, possibly
 built off of tor, would not only solve problem 4, but maybe make
 everything but #3 less damning.)


I'm not proposing any thoughts of my own in this email... I think it's
best to let hers take center stage.  But I'm interested in peoples'
feedback on how we can make federated technologies more responsive to
these needs/concerns?

 - Chris

Received on Thursday, 8 January 2015 23:20:32 UTC