Friendly reminder that your DMs and "followers only" posts are all visible to your instance administrator, who (in addition to their hosting provider) can be compelled with a warrant to disclose the contents to law enforcement.

If you want to organize political protests or engage in activities that law enforcement would take an interest in, fediverse servers are not the right place to do that.

Banning cop/law enforcement accounts literally does nothing to help you, just FYI.

And yes, that post is *very* meta.

For those who haven't spotted the discourse, apparently Bellam Police setup an account on and people are freaking out about it. 😅

Oh, and for the "I always block cops!" crowd, there is no law that says an off-duty or undercover cop has to tell you they're a cop. That is a myth propagated by people that don't understand what entrapment is.

As people keep making the same point... 😂

That last sentence was intended to mean "banning cop accounts does not help you evade law enforcement".

I am not telling you not to boycott cop accounts for political, moral or self-care reasons if that's something you want to do. The whole point of being on the fediverse is you have the freedom and flexibility to do that 🙂

@trechnex first of all, i doubt law enforcement in any given country can demand data from an instance hosted in any given other country

second, a cop account being banned from the flagship instance obviously sends a strong message about who is welcome here. it doesn't mean cops can't see me, but it will probably mean fewer cop fans on here

third, banning cops absolutely helps in the sense that i don't want to see cops

@em that first point is not correct. Interpol and data sharing/cross-border policing treaties mean if there's a will there's usually a way.

Unless of course your server and hosting provider are both based in Switzerland, and you're planning to move there too. 🙂

The other two points are "fair enough". The point I'm making is that blocking/suspending those accounts has limited practical usefulness.

@trechnex In reply to your last sentence, it does (a) send a message and (b) make it more difficult (though still not impossible, natch) for them to engage in passive monitoring. I’m not typically supportive of the idea that a safety action must be 100% effective to be worthwhile.

That said, the rest of your point is good information for folks to keep in mind.

@zigg @trechnex Very this. I think most people get that it's mostly symbolic.

It's about the cops who are very open about hating "the ess jay double yous" and making trouble in any community they join. Bans stop them. They won't bring all their cop buddies over and start pushing marginalized people out if they know the admins and mods won't tolerate it.

@Kye @zigg tbh I regret my hyperbolic final sentence. 😅

I basically agree with the premise that if you want to send a message about the community you want to cultivate or do what's necessary for self-care then banning is necessary and desirable.

What I'd *meant* was that banning/suspending cop accounts does not have much impact on passive monitoring or their ability to use peoples toots against them.


Annoucing my new instance where I burn everything and kill myself at the first sign of trouble.

@trechnex but banning those accounts does help create a hostile environment for cops, make them feel unwelcome and shamed and hated, which is good

@trechnex anyway what's their actual account address so i can ban them from this instance

@kittybecca I believe the mods on have since suspended the account because of the ruckus it caused 👍

@kittybecca this has been brought up and discussed in the subsequent thread 🙂

tl;Dr: that last sentence was intended to mean "banning cop accounts does not help you evade law enforcement". If you want to boycott them for political/moral/self-care reasons, then you're welcome to do so. 👍

@trechnex While it doesn't protect anyone explicitly, I can't see a single benefit to allowing accounts nakedly affiliated with security forces on the platform?


Ban all cop accounts out of principle and because pissing them off is fun,
not because it actually makes anything we write here safer.
It's a public medium. Hide your identity and don't organize from here.

@queeranarchism *points at later clarification after several people made the exact same point* 👉

@raining_night @freemo my suggestion is moving to Switzerland and hosting all your infrastructure there.

I also hear Cuba is quite nice this time of year 😂

@raining_night @freemo sorry if that response is a little flippant.

In my own country (the UK) you can actually be prosecuted for not handing over data and any required decryption keys.

Less scrupulous countries would probably use the xkcd method 😅


I mean, these aren't mutually exclusive

we can both understand that this isn't a place to discuss things securely and also block/ban cops because fuck them lol

small uspol mention, surveillence 

@trechnex If you are inclined to organise anything that could get you in trouble, something with strong end-to-end encryption - that isn't owned by a hostile company like Whatsapp is - is the way to go.

I'd suggest XMPP with OMEMO.

@trechnex I just would like to point out that, on Mastodon, an admin can't directly access followers-only and direct messages unless they have been reported. Of course, if they are also the sysadmin, that can just look into the database.
Your point still stand though. I just wanted to precise this, since I often see people confused about that.

@trechnex on the other hand you only need to give an email address for registration, and could use most instances over Tor, so the amount of identifying information can be kept very, very low!

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