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The Powers that Be - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
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The Powers that Be
There has been a bit of a rush off of Livejournal of late, with the revelation that the LJ servers have been moved to Russia. The thing that slightly perplexes me about this is why having your data stored in Russia is necessarily worse than having your data stored in America. In both cases, your data is at the mercy of a large foreign power with a questionable record on privacy. In the case of America, however, there are a whole bunch of mutual co-operation treaties that are likely to make it easier for the UK government to get their hands on the data.

Now I don't suggest that the American government is as totalitarian as Russia (yet), but I am honestly having trouble seeing a qualitative difference in the risk profile of using LJ now it's a Russian rather than an American service. Is there some sort of cognitive bias at work here?
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emperor From: emperor Date: January 4th, 2017 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I commented to this effect on a post of an LJ-fiend moving to DW; if one or other was in the EU, then I'd see a plausible benefit to moving.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: January 4th, 2017 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
It all just seems a bit ... knee jerk. "The Russian government are bad, therefore having the servers within their control will be worse for me. But I'm not exactly sure how."
simont From: simont Date: January 4th, 2017 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can see where you're coming from in our case. But surely, for at least some of the people migrating, only one of those two countries is a large foreign power?

If you're in the USA, then having your data stored on an American server at least doesn't put your stuff at the mercy of any more questionably benevolent governments than you were at the mercy of already.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: January 4th, 2017 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yep, the cost benefit is different depending on where in the world you are. But everyone I've seen quitting is from the UK.
From: pir Date: January 4th, 2017 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Russia is more of an unknown in some senses. What we do know is the totalitarian part is more likely to get journals deleted if they show support for the Ukraine, for example.

I can see benefit to the possible risk of not having your data just deleted rather than going to one government or another. It may also just be a prompt for people who had been meaning to get around to moving to a place that's supposedly run more reasonably?
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: January 4th, 2017 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only company ever to do this to me was .... Facebook, for not giving them my real name. I'm pretty sanguine. Realistically we're at the mercy of semi-arbitrary deletion policies where-ever we put our online data. Maybe I should just go back to Usenet.
aldabra From: aldabra Date: January 4th, 2017 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
In my case, work's firewall automatically blocks anything based in Russia, so I can't actually see it any more.

They did break various other things in that upgrade too, which suggests incompetence as well as a certain level of not telling their user base what it is that they're thinking. But that hasn't, in the past, been enough to persuade me to jump.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: January 4th, 2017 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think we can all agree that LJ has been limping along in a semi-functional state for a while now. Bit of a bummer about your work firewall though.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: January 4th, 2017 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Idle thought - is it more or less intrusive to have your journal visible to a foreign power, or to have it publicly associated with your real name?
ewx From: ewx Date: January 5th, 2017 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the Russian Federation remains more likely to abuse personal data located within its borders, and to do so more aggressively, and more likely to successfully keep it secret when it does so (if it wants to; some forms of abuse aren't meant to be covert).

Dreamwidth has https; LJ does not[1]. So any entity which can arrange a fiber tap or router compromise between you and LJ has full control of your LJ anyway. (https is not perfect, and regrettably is off by default in DW, but it does materially improve matters.)

[1] Except for logins, which is almost completely futile since the session cookie is subsequently used on unencrypted connections.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: January 5th, 2017 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm honestly not sure what the Russian government could do to abuse the personal data I put on LJ, secretly or otherwise.

The https thing is a problem, I agree. Is that a new thing?
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