what would hackers use.notes
September 5, 2010
The disruptive nature of the Internet produced a set of
conicts between society, governments and business. Normally
governments and business would have sorted these conicts
out, if there weren't these shiny new and ecient tools and
methods for organization of civil defense. Despite low budgets
these NGOs operate with a couple of dozen activists are able
to cause serious trouble to corrupt or misguided politicians and
business interests harming fundamental freedoms.
The Internet is a mighty weapon when it comes to
transparency, self-organization, communication, activism. This
has been discovered by politicians and business, which feel
threathened by this and want to change this to their benet. I
am one of the volunteers trying to defend the freedom on the
internet, so that you guys can do your job better. Today i'll
try to give you some insights what we use in to amplify our
The roots of these tools and methods come from the Free Software
movement, where for the last 2025 years huge amounts of
unbeatable quality software has been developed in such a
decentralized and bottom-up manner.
In the industry having a traditional top-down project with more
than 100 developers is almost impossible, adding one new employee
to a project only increases productivity by 30%, because of the
communication and project management overhead.
Free software eciency
Whereas a new version the Linux kernel is released every 3 months
and is being developped by more than 1000 developers and
companies involved. Bottom-up scales, top-down does not.
- So what are these tools. - The most important advice is be
OPEN!!!!1!eleven!!1! If there is a barrier to contribute to your
cause - eliminate it ASAP!
In bottom-up organizations merit is everything, members that have
accomplished things get credit and inuence, the rest of the team
chances to accomplish. This ensures action instead of talking.
Always concentrate on the 'how yes' instead of the 'why not!' Also
keep in mind that it's better to apologize than to ask for permission.
- The development of free software is generally distributed, this
made it necessary to develop an infrastructure that enables highly
eective communication among people that never meet in their life.
Similar infrastructures are being used by tech-savvy organizations: -
If possible always use your own infrastructure, if you do not have
your own hardware then rent a Virtual Private Server (VPS)
somewhere in Europe, cheap ones start at 10EUR/month. If the
provider is sold or bust you can loose your data that is still locked
in, also you're trusting 3rd parties who can be intimidated or
- It is ok to use VoIP conferencing for rapid small group 24
- Blogs for the general public - communication is low with rare
spikes, audience is big.
- IRC the communication platform that precedes and surpasses any
modern IM solution, use it! having an IRC channel with 100
members is very useful. The Telecomix team is able to transcribe a
secret leaked 5060 pages document within a few hours after
requesting the transcription in their IRC channel. Communication is
usually ad-hoc, with rare pre-scheduled irc meetings, the number of
participants is usually not more than 100.
- Some communities use video streaming services like ustream for
virtual connecting of oces, streaming events, conferences and
lectures. Audiences can be up to 1 million with ustream, less with
bambuser, usually only a couple hundred.
- mailing-lists if possible host your own, use mailman or ezmlm. If
that is not possible use googlegroups. Combined with nabble this
can also be accessed like a forum. Usually you need 23
mailinglists, one lively for general discussion, one low-trac for
announcements and press-releases and possibly one restricted for
administration/management tasks - but the necessity of latter is
- wikis/collaboriative text creation. Everyone uses them
If you want to embrace crowdsourcing you must give full write
access to anyone, even anonymous users - yes that means some
moderation and hard work. I know mediawiki and wikipedia is a
huge success, but time has passed on and there are much more
eective tools now, for rapid development of text use Etherpads,
when the text is more-or-less ready you can migrate it to a more
During the draft of the 3rd revision of the GNU Public
License, the copyleft license enabling free software a new tool
has been introduced. This enabled thousands of reviewers to
reect upon the draft, without overwhelming a handful of
core-authors. Of course this can also (and is) used for
analyzing laws, contracts, or any other kind of text document.
Stet has been abandoned, but fortunately there is co-ment.com. If
you have many documents to analyze or reect on, then having a
co-ment service is invaluable.
twitter and facebook are closed systems, use them cautiously
only for campaings. If possible avoid Facebook or closed
products from companies like Apple or Microsoft, these are
fundamentally top-down and despised for their disrespect of
fundamental freedoms of the users. Although Facebook might
be used to reach a huge audience, it makes sometimes sense to
use it for campaigns. It is better to replace twitter with
status.net - which is completely libre.
an exciting innovation comes from the german pirate party,
they use delegated voting and liquidfeedback as a tool for
governing their party in a transparent and empowering way.
for nancial support Moneybookers (cheaper and european)
and Paypal can be used eectively. But my real hope is
BitCoin a decentralized anonymous payment system.
Ok, these are general tools, but of course dierent specialized tools
have appeared as well. The European Union is an excellent breeding
ground for such, the PSI and FOI directives provide lot's of data to
process and react upon. There is lot's of data on europa.eu.
During the Software Patents ght a couple of years back (which we
won - until the next round starts) gave rise to the rst batch of
such tools. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure
established a highly informative swpatent wiki . . .
. . . and tools like Tratten. Tratten tracks all the issues in the
legislative pipeline of the EU - from the rst mentioning of an issue
to the ratication of it. If anything changes related to an issue and
this is (as it is mandated) published on the ocial EU websites,
notications are sent to anyone interested in an issue.
A very exciting tool is politicalmemory.eu, where voting
recommendations to MEPs are compared to actual votes and a
ranking is produced according to these. This helps identifying
opponents and allies across the political spectrum.
Also interesting are special interest groups dedicated to developing
tools that enable citizens to engage in policymaking. See
Data.gov(.uk) by the Open Knowledge Foundation, also the US
based Sunlight Foundation and the UK based mysociety.org are
excellent examples of tools developed for bottom-up inuence on
traditional top-down structures and processes. My favorite is
Littlesis.org from the US.
Currently there is a erce ght going on for the freedom of the new
world brought upon us bye these technologies. This time Trade
Agreements are the threat, these are being negotiated in secret . . .
. . . so we must rely on leaks and laborous work to analyze them.
(PDFs are the tools of the evil and printing companies)