Thursday, July 24, 2003

As a believer in pseudonymous commentary, I'm really interested in this new blogging service called invisiblog, which takes privacy and anonymity to the point of collecting no information about the bloggers in question and sending all the information through PGP and an anonymous remailer in order to keep one's identity secret. They believe they have good reasons to provide this service, and provide numerous examples:

q: Who needs that much anonymity?

a: Here are some examples of bloggers and web publishers whose life or liberty has been threatened, or could be endangered in the future:

* Salam Pax, a pseudonymous blogger claiming to be from Iraq, who posted a diary during the recent war. He has not posted since March 24; some suspect he was captured by Iraqi secret police before US forces reached Baghdad. Journalist Paul Boutin was able to trace Salam's emails to an ISP in Lebanon.

* Iranian blogger and journalist Sina Motallebi was arrested on April 19, and faces charges over the content of his weblog and interviews given to foreign media groups.

* Tunisian web journalist Zouhair Yahyaoui was arrested and imprisoned for publishing political commentary on his web site. Authorities allegedly used torture to force Yahyaoui to reveal his access passwords.

* Cuba recently imprisoned 75 dissidents and democracy activists, including a number of online journalists, for writing articles critical of the government. Many of them were turned in by informers amongst colleagues and even family. Some of their associates continue to publish on the web.
right now the whole thing is relatively primitive, but I'm very hopeful that they eventually create something whose services can (at least) rival Blogger. Here's hoping: although I like Blogger's minimal invasion of the privacy of users, they simply aren't set up for bottom-to-top privacy protection. Invisiblog is, and I'm looking forward to see what they come up with.

(There are already blogs on the site, but most are either tests or fairly banal. No matter. If the service is worth it, people will come.)

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