As you know, one of the main tasks we do is to serve as an anonymous platform for folks who decide to take action but want to remain anonymous. Be it the liberation of animals from a p[lace of exploitation to the sabotage of infrastructure or tools used to abuse animals and the earth, Unoffensive receives reports from around the globe to be published anonymously.
With it, there is the question of how to send those reports securely. Whilst in reality, any form of internet communications is never 100% secure, folks can take steps so they are safer online in order to ensure they can keep working without the burden of prosecution by the law. In this post we want to briefly cover the ins and outs of report sending.
Let us start with the most basic of all. You should NOT send reports online over instagram or Facebook private message. It is not private and it is in fact very easy to track down. This might come as a surprise to many, but we have received reports over social media before, and we suspect it to still be a thing in the future. We do not want to know who you are, and if you do not want folks to know who took action, you should not be using insecure platforms. If, on the other hand, you want to publicise an open rescue, that is for you to choose, but we rarely platform that kind of action as it already carries traction in other social media groups.
So how do you actually send a report? We have an exhaustive explanation on our website under the “Contact Us” tab, but we can quickly explain over here. There are two main methods that you can chose from, one being the form within our website and the other one, using a spam email address. Regardless, both of them require a couple of steps before you do any sending.
The first step would be to connect to a VPN. VPN serves as a mask between your computer and the Internet Service Provider. Instead of you asking the questions to the Internet provider, you tell the VPN to ask those questions for you. You NEED to understand that using solely a VPN does not equate to being secure, anonymous or private online. In this case, we only need the VPN to not let your internet service know you are connected to a TOR network (we will explain this shortly!). You can download and use very intuitively RiseUp VPN or ProtonVPN.
Once you are connected to a VPN, you want to open TOR. TOR is like any other internet browser, but it uses multiple jumps (or nodes) to go from the request to the answer. For that reason, it is a lot more difficult to track down your internet activity. It also comes packed with tools that help with privacy and don’t let websites spy on your behaviour. You can download and install TOR (for free!!) in torproject.org
Once you have connected to a VPN and opened TOR, you have two choices. One is to simply fill the form in our contact us and click send. We have it configured so that it is encrypted and only us holding the private key are able to understand the language of the email.
If you do not want to fill up that form, you can instead use a spam email address (never your personal address!) to send a report. You can go to any spam email service like tempr.email, which creates a disposable address without any details where you can compose an email and send it to unoffensiveanimal(at)riseup(dot)net.
If you need to send media (photos or video) you should be aware of metadata. You can read more about it on our website. Once you got rid of metadata, you can simply attach it (whilst still using TOR and a VPN) to any file sharing service (like WeTransfer, also free) and then paste the link to download the files in the same email as the report.
The report should not include any personal details or anything that can give away your identity. We don’t need to know, and we (almost always) simply copy and paste the report without any editing. Be mindful about what you are writing.
It is as simple as that! You can read more about it on our website www.unoffensiveanimal.is/contact-us
LOVE AND RAGE.