Happy 5th of July – some updates

It’s the 5th of July 2016 today, and it’s been four years since the UN Human Rights Council adopted the “Resolution on the Promotion, Protection, and Enjoyment of Human Rights on the Internet”.

The 5th of July Foundation took its name from the day that bore those great aspirations:

Let’s promote, protect and enjoy human rights on the internet!

New podcast on internet politics

Our latest project to do this is a podcast, which covers internet politics in a broad sense. It’s in Swedish (so far) and we call it “5 juli-podden”. You can listen on Itunes, Soundcloud, Youtube, and, of course, on our own server, where the podcast is presented in more detail:


Blog anniversary

Today also marks the two year anniversary for our resident blogger HAX, who is also co-host of the podcast. We’re celebrating by giving hax.5july.org a little facelift. As always, it’s somewhat of a challenge to make a blog work smoothly and look tasty without letting third party companies (read: Google) put their code on your pages.

Expanding our services

So far the “promotion” of human rights on the internet. What about the “protection” and the “enjoyment”?

It’s for those purposes that we run our privacy services: A free disposable email service (still beta), a free encrypted Jabber chat server, and our paid VPN service Integrity VPN, which we are now expanding, so that customers of more internet providers will have the choice to enhance the security, privacy and liberty of their everyday communication.

So that’s a brief update on our doings. We look forward to many interesting developments in the coming year. Cheers!


Bahnhof vs. Data Retention

There is an important legal battle going on between the oldest independent ISP in Sweden, Bahnhof (which has always stood up for privacy on the internet) and The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS).

Our sponsored blogger, writer and thinker HAX comments the latest installment in this battle: Bahnhof won a temporary injunction which allows them to refuse to hand over certain data to authorities. Read about it here.

5th of July Foundation is happy that its board member Wilhelm Dahlborn wrote the appeal that the court now listened to.

There is also a legal case going on between Swedish telecom/internet provider Tele2 and that same authority, PTS, about data retention. The second highest administrative court in Sweden has sent that case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in Luxemburg. On April 12, there will be an oral hearing in this case.


“Let’s Encrypt” now used by 5July.org

5th of July Foundation firmly supports the right to use encryption technology without backdoors or interference. Ideally all communication via the Internet should be encrypted.

We are therefore happy to announce that we have just started using Let´s Encrypt to issue the certificates that we use on our https web servers. Let us cite from their own presentation:

“Let’s Encrypt is a new Certificate Authority:  It’s free, automated, and open.”

Let’s encrypt is supported by Electronic Frontier Foundation and many major Internet corporations and organisations.

P.S. Our resident blogger HAX often comments on the politics of encryption and questions relating to freedom of communications. Read him! And yes, “he” uses a certificate from Let’s Encrypt since today also!


Support for EDRi.org

There is a very readable, informative and well-researched newsletter that the chairman of this foundation always reads when it appears in the mailbox: The EDRi-gram. It is a round-up of news from all over Europe from European Digital Rights, an organization based in Brussels. EDRi defends civil rights in the information society.

5th of July Foundation made a donation to their crowdsourcing campaign today, albeit small since our economy is very limited so far. We believe it is a worthy cause so do not hesitate to give something.


Glenn Greenwald to Sweden?

5th of July Foundation considers whistleblowers and independent voices and journalists to be important catalysts for building a free society.

There is now a Kickstarter project to bring Glenn Greenwald to Sweden for an important media conference, together with Peter Sunde of the Pirate Bay and Julia Reda, Member of European Parliament for the Pirate Party (Germany). The topic is internet freedom. Greenwald is, as you may know, the journalist that was chosen by Edward Snowden to be his confidante and messenger.

Today this foundation has pledged 15.000 SEK (Swedish kronor) to bring Glenn Greenwald here. We believe that the media focus this would bring to these issues is exactly what this foundation wishes to promote.

We would urge other actors to contribute in order to make this event possible!


5July nominee Snowden accepts Prize

5th of July Foundation nominated Edward Snowden to the Nobel Peace Prize, through its board member professor Love Ekenberg. Snowden did not get it.

Instead he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, also called “the alternative Nobel Peace Prize”. Today on December 1, 2014, he accepted the Prize, at the ceremony that was held in the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm. Not in person of course. We take it as a proof that we were right!

Here is his reaction to the announcement that he would receive the Prize, in late September 2014.


LEX Integrity

Today Bahnhof, the Swedish “Free Speech” Internet carrier, announced that they have a Plan B against what they and this Foundation consider being illegally enforced data retention in Sweden.

Yes, we have developed a service for Bahnhof called LEX Integrity which permits its customers to create a free account and surf via the VPN servers that are owned and managed by 5th of July Foundation.

Bahnhof will have to log data about their clients from November 24, i.e. what IP-address each client on their network is allocated each time the log on.

When a Bahnhof customer wants to surf via our servers they connect via PPTP. We at the foundation have no idea about who these customers are. We do not have any information about them, no name or address. We just check whether this (for us) unknown surfer should be permitted to connect via our servers.

When they surf via LEX Integrity they share IP addresses out towards the Internet. Many users can have the same address at the same time. As a provider of this service we do not have to retain data. Even if we would have to, there would be no useful information to be had from us.

The Foundation uses its own hardware and own technicians. Bahnhof has no access to our machines, they have no way of knowing what their customers are doing after handing them over to our servers.

We hereby invite other ISP:s to use similar bulk services. Please contact the chairman of the 5th of July Foundation for a quote. 

We have already been running more advanced VPN services since summer 2013.

The Foundation also runs a free public safe chat server that is open for anyone to use. You and your friends just have to create accounts and start chatting. Please use OTR encryption. 


Complaint against Sweden: Receipt from EU

5th of July Foundation has now received a written and signed confirmation that EU has registered our complaint against the Kingdom of Sweden for enforcing data retention, thereby being in breach of The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, articles 7 and 8, ‘Respect for private and family life’ and ‘Protection of personal data’.

Here is the confirmation letter from EU (PDF) with a case number (in Swedish).

Read about our complaint here: We urge EU to act against Sweden’s illegal data retention!


5July sponsoring Liberty, Privacy and Security around the world

5th of July Foundation uses income from its paid services, like Integrity.st, to pay its technicians, for hardware, and so forth.

Those who use our paid services can rest assured that they do indeed contribute to the causes of the foundation. We are not here to make a profit: Instead we use all incomes and resources to contribute to a better and freer internet.

Sometimes we get requests for help and for obvious reasons we do not publish exactly whom we are helping with what. But this is an authentic request for free Integrity.st accounts that was handed to us via our board member Professor Love Ekenberg, who has wide international contacts.

We were happy to help these university students in a country with restrictions on internet use, and in fact it is our paying customers that makes this possible:

I am sure prof. Ekenberg he has explained to you the difficulty we are having here accessing scientific journals, education materials, and many other resources. He has informed me that you are willing to help us out by setting up and sponsoring some accounts. We are really grateful and appreciate your kind support and generosity. We have about ## PhD and more than ### Masters students. Our financial resources are very limited and your support of some accounts is of immense help. At the same time we don’t want to burden you, so we welcome your help even if it is for a few accounts and we can discuss means to have access for all our students.

Our technicians set up and manage free, public services like our secure chat server. Read about it and follow the instructions here at https://5july.org/jabber/ and start chatting!

5th of July Foundation has recently accepted donations of used hardware from trusted sources, something we appreciate very much. This will make it possible for us to offer more public services. We hope to announce several of those here later.

5th of July Foundation is also proud to provide sponsorships that makes it a little easier for activists to do what they burn for. Our first sponsorship is to give HAX some freedom to be “Your Watchdog on Privacy, Liberty and Human Rights” at https://HAX.5july.org/