After more than one year planning, we’re finally moving to Europe. Well, the blog, of course.
Ever since the exposure of the worst conspiracy theories we all knew existed, but were always called crazy, from Snowden’s documents about the NSA and later from many other countries, we’ve been trying to find a place where there would be less risks. Defining risk is hard, and that’s why it took us so long.
As followers of Bruce Schneider know all too well, humans are very poor at defining risk. The fear of the NSA can put you close to other players (like Russia) or other kinds of risk (like incompetence), and you wouldn’t be safer overall, just safer from the “monster” you fear.
So, I had to list all things that could go wrong with a blog, and try to rank the alternative places and then add up as see which one had the less overall risk. This are some of the risks I evaluated:
- Freedom of speech: This is not only what the law says, it’s what the government or the corporations on that particular country have the ability to do. Despite that been the first amendment to the US constitution, while the government has the ability to legally block your website, arrest you, defame you, spy on you without your consent or a court order, the constitution means absolutely nothing. The US and Russia are probably the worse, here.
- Privacy: While the government is concerned with what you say and share from a national security point of view, hosting services are interested in selling you stuff, or maybe even selling your stuff to the high bidder. Given how mainstream cloud computing has become and how your data does not belong to you any more, I fear that this worry will become less and less important and providers will sell more and more of your data. This item is more to do with the providers than the country they live in, since not many countries have laws against that kind of consensual abuse.
- Network stability: Not only good quality hosting, but good quality country infrastructure, back-bones and country-wide investment on interconnectivity. While the US ranks very high on this item, the cost of high quality hosting it higher than the European counterparts, and the cheap hosting solutions are very, very poor.
- Competence: Some countries have a much higher tolerance for incompetence than others, and the countries in the BRICS group, as well as the US are the ones that top the list. This is not just about legislation, but as the culture of the people. Europeans tend to be less understanding when it comes to incompetence, either from commercial or governmental enterprises.
- Price: All that comes with a price, of course.
I did some finger-in-the-air estimates of the ranks and came up with this:
- USA (where our blog was), ranks 0 for freedom and privacy, 7 for network stability and 5 for competence, giving it a paltry 3 score. Cheap hosting is cheap in quality, so you get what you pay for.
- Brazil, another alternative, ranks 10 for freedom of speech (because the government doesn’t really care), 7 for privacy (because few companies have the ability to eavesdrop, most don’t care), 3 for competence and network stability, with a higher score of 5.75. The price is cheap overall, but the level of quality varies greatly, even on the same company over the years, and that’s a constant source of headaches.
- UK is as bad as the US on freedom (about 1), but a lot better on privacy, say 4, because of European laws. The network stability is probably as good as (7), and the competence is a lot higher (about 7, too), but also a lot more expensive, resulting on a good, but expensive, average of 4.75.
- Germany was our final option, with the European laws and the German people being what they are, and how they felt about the NSA, I’d say we’re pretty safe here. At least for now, freedom and privacy matters are probably 7, if not more. And even though some do comply with Russian demands, the Russian government (like other BRICS) has a very incompetent public service, as well as being worried about other more important things than spying on international blogs. Stability and competence are probably similar to the UK, averaging out at about a good 7 score.
So, we ended up in Germany and so far it’s been uneventful. The migration was pain-free, too from both sides. We also have a new domain, systemcall.eu, which will be our main domain, with the systemcall.org as an add-on. Please, let us know if there are any glitches or missing things.