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Signal-boost: the Great Migration
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jducoeur
I suspect that many of my friends have heard about this by now, but for those who haven't:

The tl;dr is that the Sword of Damocles that has been hanging over LJ for several years is starting to cut. LiveJournal has been owned by a Russian company for some time now; evidence says that they recently moved the servers to Russia. That almost certainly means that the Russian government is going to begin actively listening to everything posted here (if they weren't already); knowing them, it is *extremely* likely that this monitoring will not in any way respect your privacy settings. On top of that, there are indications (not yet confirmed that I've heard) that they've begun actively censoring accounts critical of the Russian government.

siderea has made several recent posts about this; for more details, see this entry, and this one.

The upshot is that a *lot* of people are finally bailing from LiveJournal to DreamWidth, with various degrees of prejudice ranging from "doing primary posting on DW from here on out" to "deleting all traces of my LJ history". This is *not* paranoid: odds are good that the Russian spooks are going to read not just your new stuff but your history of private posts, so if that matters, you may want to take steps.

(For those who haven't come across it: DreamWidth is essentially an alternate LiveJournal -- one of many, but the best of the lot. It was originally based on the same code, although LJ and DW have begun to go their separate ways over the years. As far as I can tell, it's a deeply wholesome project: open-source, non-profit, non-commercial, supported entirely by memberships. While I don't use it much yet, I've been a paid member there for a long time -- they're good folks.)

Anyway: personally, I'm a bit less het-up about the change -- I've always been cynical about online security, and have been assuming for some years now that LJ was at best marginally more secure than Facebook (that is, not), so I generally don't post sensitive material. And I've been expecting this particular twist for some time now. I haven't decided whether to make the leap to DW-primary yet, although I might do so depending on how things progress.  Don't be surprised if this account becomes secondary, copied from the DW one.

So, putting that together: if you're an LJ user, and don't have one already, I recommend getting a DreamWidth account. If you care about your LJ history, seriously consider backing it up to DW. And if you haven't already friended me over there, I encourage you to do so. (Same account name, as usual.)

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OMG, you don't understand the difference between spooks and narcs, do you?

The fact that the NSA is reading all your emails doesn't mean they're sharing them with the FBI.

Nothing has changed about whether NSA's Russian colleagues are reading your friends-locked posts. What's changed is that now the Russian FBI-equivalent are too. And, indeed, so are anybody who shows up at the right network closet/colo in person and points a gun in somebody's face.

Frankly, I've been assuming for several years that there was a significant chance that all of the above were effectively already true. I don't distinguish because I've seen little evidence that the lines between Russian government agencies are anywhere near as sharp as those in the US. So while I understand the difference, I'm unconvinced that it's especially relevant in practice.

To the last point, I'm less concerned with physical security of the servers, and more with the odds that the people with access/authority could be *coerced* into providing it to random bad actors -- that's both more effective and more in the wheelhouse of said bad actors. Ever since ownership moved to Russia, I've figured there was a growing chance of that happening. That hasn't *much* changed: I'm still less worried about somebody breaking into the cage than I am some manager's wife being held hostage, which seems the more likely threat profile.

Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if the only *real* change here is that, since the service is now entirely Russian, they can censor it much more blatantly without any other government having any basis to complain: that diplomatic fig leaf might well be the entire reason for the move. The rest was always moderately likely...

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