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It’s needless to say that GMAFIA & Friends are tracking everything you do. They know what you like, what you dislike, what you need in life, where you come from, where are you going, and many other details. They probably know about you more than you yourself. One of the biggest parts of GMAFIA, is the G, Google.

Google is one of the biggest parts of our lifes. People are depending on Google more than anything. They use Google Search to find stuff, GMail for their email service, they use Googlized Android OS, Google Maps for navigation, Google Drive for cloud storage, and other privacy-violating stuff. This is wrong.

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Riseup announced that its fundraising campaign for year 2020 is done successfully. This doesn’t mean you can’t donate. You can still donate to help Riseup increase its service quality

Our fundraising campaign has been a little nontraditional this year. We are wrapping it up with this email and want all of the people and movements that use Riseup’s services to rally and appreciate the things that we are accomplishing together.

So far, 2020 has proven to be a pretty intense year… It is heartening to see people come together and engage in mutual aid and solidarity. We see a silver lining in these difficult times. In a time where most of us are being left behind by the rich and powerful, we hear serious talks of a general strike. Together, people are moving to stand up to them.

We know this comes at a hard time for many people and some of you need to keep your own efforts alive. Riseup would not be possible without you all, or without the hard work that our communities do in movements around the world. We want to thank you all for your dedication and focus on making the world a better place in all the various ways that you do. If you are someone who is less affected, please consider helping keep activism alive as the daily struggle becomes more difficult.

Our goal to reach 600 monthly donors by the end of March not only succeeded, but we made it to 650. A heartfelt thank you to the folks who have committed to sustained support throughout the year. Our goal to enhance our VPN services succeeded. All in all, we raised 25% of the funds it requires to keep Riseup’s lights on.

It’s never too late to donate! The funds you send us are directly used to increase our services’ quality and help the activist community.
https://riseup.net/donate

Thanks to the people who mail nice letters when they send in money, you spread joy in our collective and inspire us to keep going.

Thanks to the people who are making recurring donations, you help us know that the servers will keep running.

Thanks to the people who run services like ours, we are in this together.

Thanks to the people who manage mailing lists, you spread the word.

Thanks to you! (Except the spammers, nobody likes you…)

Riseup’s email message – May 13, 2020

It’s not a long time that I’ve been using Nextcloud. Before that, I had to host everything locally on encrypted drives. Google Drive (and apps) were available all the time but I didn’t want to use them because not swimming at all is much better than swimming in pool full of shit.

The situation remained the same until I found out about Nextcloud. Nextcloud is a complete solution for people like me who are careful about the software they use and how their privacy is affected.

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Almost all of our Android phones come with a modified Android OS that uses Google services. As you (probably) know, Google is not much of a privacy-respecting company to trust. I personally suggest deGoogled operating systems such as /e/ or LineageOS but if you can’t replace your Android phone OS with such operating systems, you can at least start using software libre apps on your phone and get rid of Google.

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When I talk about how Google is violating people’s rights over privacy, some people claim that Google is providing service and in return it gathers information. It’s true, however, Google doesn’t provide service, Google gets service from us. Google made some platforms and apps to collect personal information from you and you’re providing your service (which is your information) to it.

I can’t force anyone to use privacy-focused stuff, even if I could, I wouldn’t. I believe people should at first understand the true value of their freedom and privacy, then choose to use a service. Currently, due to wrong education systems, people are forced to use proprietary and privacy-violating stuff. Our schools are using Microsoft apps and teachers only teach proprietary software.

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In 2006, the United Nations established World Migratory Bird Day to be held on the second weekend of May every year. The event was founded as an effort of the UN’s Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds to raise awareness of the migratory linkages between regions of the globe. World Migratory Bird Day events have been held in 118 nations. Each year, the United Nations announces a uniting theme for official events.

It’s important to raise people’s knowledge about migrant birds as many of them are in danger of extinction or at least the loss and destruction of their habitats.

For example, “Omid” (literally means Hope in Persian) is the last Siberian crane that wings his way to Iran for years in the first week of the Iranian calendar month of Aban falling on the last week of October. Every year, there are concerns about the extinction of this very special migratory bird as it’s the only survivor of this species.

I’ve had many blogs in my digital life. I don’t remember my first blog but it was the time that only famous websites could have a SSL certificate. I remember people were talking about how writing blogs is dying and people are moving to social networks. Back then FriendFeed was rising and It was the first year of Twitter.

I remember tech people people were obsessed with 140 character writing. Since then, many people joined social media and many left their blogs. Facebook and Twitter were new blogging platforms but no matter what people say, they can’t compete with blogs.

I still search between blogs if I want to learn something. I still check people’s blogs if I want to know them. I’ll never take a tweet or toot as serious as a blog post. I’ll accept a blog post by someone as a reference but I’ll never accept a tweet or toot as a reliable reference.

Even social networks such as Mastodon, Twitter, and Facebook own a blog. They know if they want to announce something officially, they have to write a blog post about it. I don’t think blogging is dead. What I do think is that blogging is much more important than social networks.

That’s why I’m beginning the #100DaysToOffload suggested by @kev@fosstodon.org.

UPDATE: I Moved to WordPress

Since few years ago, I’m building my blogs using Jekyll static site generator. Now, after some years, I’m deciding to move to a WordPress blog as I travel a lot and I want to be able to update my blog using different devices. As I explained on some toots, I can’t pay for a service based outside of Iran as my homeland is under heavy sanctions from U.S. and its allies. We can’t even open a bank account outside of Iran.

I don’t want to use a hosting service based in Iran as all of the providers have to follow rules/laws and it can be led to closing my blog if I write something that the government doesn’t like. I’m searching for someone or a foundation that can provide a host that I can install WordPress on and connect my domains to it.

My current website is kindly hosted by amazing Autistici/Inventati and they’re privacy-focused and use software libre. It’s important to that the hosting service uses software libre and doesn’t violate people’s rights about privacy.

If you’re interested in helping me, please drop me a message.

In a stunning victory for nonprofits and NGOs around the world working in the public interest, ICANN today roundly rejected Ethos Capital’s plan to transform the .ORG domain registry into a heavily indebted for-profit entity. This is an important victory that recognizes the registry’s long legacy as a mission-based, non-for-profit entity protecting the interests of thousands of organizations and the people they serve.

We’re glad ICANN listened to the many voices in the nonprofit world urging it not to support the sale of Public Interest Registry, which runs .ORG, to private equity firm Ethos Capital. The proposed buyout was an attempt by domain name industry insiders to profit off of thousands of nonprofits and NGOs around the world. Saying the sale would fundamentally change PIR into an “entity bound to serve the interests of its corporate stakeholders” with “no meaningful plan to protect or serve the .ORG community,” ICANN made clear that it saw the proposal for what it was, regardless of Ethos’ claims that nonprofits would continue to have a say in their future.

The sale threatened to bring censorship and increased operating costs to the nonprofit world. As EFF warned, a private equity-owned registry would have a financial incentive to suspend domain names—causing websites to go dark—at the request of powerful corporate interests and governments.

In a blog post about its decision, ICANN also pointed out how the deal risked the registry’s financial stability. They noted that the $1.1 billion proposed sale would change PIR “from a viable not-for-profit entity to a for-profit entity with a US$360 million debt obligation.” The debt was not for the benefit of PIR or the .ORG community, but for the financial interests of Ethos and its investors. And Ethos failed to convince ICANN that it would not drain PIR of its financial resources, putting the stability and security of the .ORG registry at risk.

“ICANN entrusted to PIR the responsibility to serve the public interest in its operation of the .ORG registry, and now ICANN is being asked to transfer that trust to a new entity without a public interest mandate.”

ICANN was not convinced by the token “stewardship council” that Ethos proposed in an attempt to add an appearance of accountability. Echoing EFF’s own letter, they noted that “the membership of the Stewardship Council is subject to the approval of PIR’s board of directors and, as a result, could become captured by or beholden to the for-profit interests of PIR’s owners and therefore are unlikely to be truly independent of Ethos Capital or PIR’s board.”

Many organizations worked hard to persuade ICANN to reject the sale. We were joined by the National Council of Nonprofits, NTEN, Access Now, The Girl Scouts of America, Consumer Reports, the YMCA, Demand Progress, OpenMedia, Fight for the Future, Wikimedia, Oxfam, Greenpeace, Consumer Reports, FarmAid, NPR, the American Red Cross, and dozens of other household names. Nonprofit professionals and technologists even gathered in Los Angeles in January to tell ICANN their concerns in person. The coalition defending the .ORG domain was as diverse as .ORG registrants themselves, encompassing all areas of public interest: aid organizations, corporate watchdogs, museums, clubs, theater companies, religious organizations, and much, much more. Petitions to reject the sale received over 64,000 signatures, and nearly 900 organizations signed on. Joining them in their concerns were Members of Congress, UN Special Rapporteurs, and state charity regulators [pdf].

A late development that affected ICANN’s decision was the letter [pdf] from California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra. Citing EFF and other members of the coalition, Becerra’s letter urged ICANN to reject the sale. Although ICANN received many last-minute appeals from some parts of its policymaking community urging the organization to ignore Becerra’s letter, ICANN acknowledged that as it is a California nonprofit, it could not afford to ignore its state regulator.

Because PIR is incorporated in Pennsylvania, that state’s courts must approve its conversion into a for-profit company. Pennsylvania’s attorney general is investigating the sale, and may also weigh in. In its rationale, ICANN states that it will allow PIR and Ethos to submit a new application if they are able to get the approval of this other body with authority over the deal. But all of the reasons behind ICANN’s rejection of the sale will confront Ethos in Pennsylvania, as well.

This decision by ICANN is a hard-fought victory for nonprofit Internet users. But the .ORG registry still needs a faithful steward, because the Internet Society has made clear it no longer wants that responsibility. ICANN should hold an open consultation, as they did in 2002, to select a new operator of the .ORG domain that will give nonprofits a real voice in its governance, and a real guarantee against censorship and financial exploitation.

(original post)