To All Forum Readers: How To Stay In Touch If .gov Closes Y2K Sites : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Stupid, maybe. Paranoid, perhaps. But what if you were to go to this site or any of your other favourite Y2K sites one day soon and find them shut down?

There have been literally thousands of messages concerning the government "cover-up", scheming, whatever you want to call it. Maybe it's true, maybe not. What if it is and they then set about closing down sites which they feel "are not suitable for the general public"?

I'm sure many of us would like to stay in touch both before and during Y2K. But how would we - most of us (not I) seem to use pseudonyms and fake e-mail addresses. Funny they may at times be, but nevertheless useless.

Any suggestions for keeping in touch after a shutdown? A list of contact details (telephone, e-mail, postal addresses) maintained by a trusted representative who would only give out these details should it become necessary?

Like I said, maybe I'm paranoid. But I always like to have plan 'B' ready.

-- Y2KGardener (, September 22, 1999


I don't think your paranoid, I think you have a valid concern. If the government shuts this place down, then they'll have to shut down the whole internet. If it comes to that, we are in a real world of hurts. I don't know how we would keep in touch because telephone calls can be easily intercepted and who can you really trust if it comes down to censorship? I guess we'll meet each other on the other side or by ham radio maybe?

-- bardou (, September 22, 1999.

A sound idea. We will need a data resouce that could be downloaded and used. Telephone numbers, areas of expertise, resouces and location would all be important. Some have al;ready done this as small discrete networks, but the more the better.

A central clearing house is needed to screen those who would do harm.

Bob P.

-- Bob P (, September 22, 1999.

Cyber-terrorism might be a convenient excuse!!


-- Ray (, September 22, 1999.

I am a member of a small chat room group. we have all downloaded icq and exchanged numbers. due to various rooms crashing or being shut down for some reason, we are in our fifth chat room. icq, IM (aol) and e-mail allows us to stay in touch.

some compromises of identity are required of course. but then again, you are not as unknown here as you might think you are. if TPTB wants to find out who you are, they can.

this may work if you would like to download icq.

if that doesn't work, i'm sure Hoffmeister, Flint or maybe Buddy can furnish a hotlink. Sure they will, they are nice guys. They like to help

my email addy is real. questions, ask.

-- JR (, September 22, 1999.

A number of us, some from this forum and some from other places, have already thought of this as well as a number of other communications problems. We are working on a mechanism to allow some sort of communications next year no matter what happens. The details are available on a thread on this topic on the preparations board, which also has several other related threads.

-- Steve Heller (, September 22, 1999.

If you want to be paranoid about it, putting names, phone numbers and/or addresses in a consolidated list might not be a good idea.

I would venture the guess that if the net stays up, but this or some other few sites "close", we could find another place to gather, although it might take a few weeks for word to get around.


-- Jerry B (, September 22, 1999.

Thanks for the input so far...

I'm not so concerned about the means of communication used by the masses (telephone, postal service, Internet) being taken down since this would surely produce an uproar comparable to Y2K iteself. (Maybe a good topic though - would the .gov even consider purposefully shutting down these media to keep everyone in the dark?)

Like I suggested, real names and contact details would be kept secret by a trusted set of individuals unless and until something like this really happened. I, personally, am not too concerned about the possibility of someone hauling me away after tracing me through my ISP or phone number - but I'm sure there are those who are. The fact remains: if no one has your contact details, no one will contact you - not your Y2K buddies, not the FBI, no one.

I don't know what the statistics concerning HAM radio ownership are, but I'd be surprised if more than 0.001% of the population have access. I certainly don't. What about repeaters? Don't they need to be functioning?

Some might be asking "What's the point of trying to keep in touch if TSHTF? We would all be trying so hard not to become toast that there would be little time for any contact."

In the extreme even of *all* communication being down, either intentionally or by accident, how would one go about contacting one's family and friends? Although most of the other contributors to this forum are simply "interesting acquaintances", all of us have much closer relationships to maintain elsewhere. The only solution which I can think of is arranging in advance a fixed future date and place to meet. Whether the transport would exist for travelling there is another question!

-- Y2KGardener (, September 22, 1999.

I don't know what the statistics concerning HAM radio ownership are, but I'd be surprised if more than 0.001% of the population have access. I certainly don't. What about repeaters? Don't they need to be functioning?

There are about 650,000 hams in the United States, which is about a quarter of a percent, not .001 percent. As for repeaters, they aren't needed for long distance communications, which use the ionosphere to bend the radio waves back to earth. Some repeaters, by the way, will be functioning next year for local service, as they are backed up with batteries and solar panels.

-- Steve Heller (, September 22, 1999.

"In the extreme even of *all* communication being down, either intentionally or by accident, how would one go about contacting one's family and friends? Although most of the other contributors to this forum are simply "interesting acquaintances", all of us have much closer relationships to maintain elsewhere. The only solution which I can think of is arranging in advance a fixed future date and place to meet. Whether the transport would exist for travelling there is another question!"

Unless that fixed place to meet is very close to all concerned, attempting to gather there while all communications are down could be highly risky. If all communications were down for a considerable length of time, the odds would be that many other serious problems would also exist, but without communications, knowledge of conditions at the gathering place, as well as along the way to it, would not be available.


-- Jerry B (, September 22, 1999.

If that happens I think we should grab all our food and head for Uncle Deedah's in Florida. I heard a rumor he has invited everyone from the forum.

-- bb (, September 22, 1999.


-- BB (, September 22, 1999.

During WWII, members of a re sis tance group wore a straight pin in a lapel. Perhaps a visual signal might be good, or a question with a response. How to let all of us GI's know, without letting the bad guys know? That's the problem.

-- (, September 22, 1999.

Any time there's a major event, especially a crisis, the telephone system gets jammed up. An aquaintance of mine who lives in NC related a story of having to outrun Floyd, he in one vehicle and his wife in another. They got seperated and he was able to communicate via CB radio. They couldn't get through to each other on their cell phones. I expect the net to be equally jammed up and unavailable, possibly starting in early December. Hell, ya have a hard time getting into this forum during the day NOW!! It would be nice if someone could come up with an alternative way of getting info just in case!

-- Don Wegner (, September 22, 1999.

Nobody - presumably only the GIs will be left if TSHTF! No pins needed - except in hand-grenades.

As for my original question, no one seems to have an answer. It's just like backing up your hard drive - everyone thinks "That's a good idea" but few do anything about it. So I guess we'll just keep on happily communicating with each other until someone pulls the plug.

Going back to HAM radios, let's be optimistic and assume that Y2K- heads are 10 times as likely to be interested in them as Joe Sixpack. That still leaves only 2.5% of us. Not much of a communications network! I'll bet most people on this forum wouldn't even know where to find a HAM radio + operator... unless they were silly enough to put a 40-ft antenna on their roof!

-- Y2KGardener (, September 22, 1999.

Just a thought-when I bought a hand held police radio,a neighbor gave me the normal numbers for the police,sherrif,etc.also the numbers for the ham radio channel.

I also have a hand held CB to use in case of an emergency to be able to talk with others.

This might sound nuts but,could we talk (by CB) to the ham radio operators(who have a CB home base)and they pass on info to others by their ham radios and we could listen via police radio's on the ham radio channel?Am I making any sense?

That could be done at agreed upon day and time,setup in advanc.Like I said just a thought.

-- maggie (, September 23, 1999.

The internet was designed to stay up even in the case of war. If it goes down TSHHTF. Or the power or phones have gone out for at least large chunks of the country. If that is the case our focus will suddenly become much more local. It will be time.. if we haven't already.. to identify like souls around the corner, not around the country. This lovely long-distance communication between like minded individuals is a luxury brought about by the very things that are at risk from Y2K. If things go badly, what will be needed is short-distance community. But.. that said, perhaps we could devise a system like household firedrills. Arrange a meeting place and time so people could check in. Multiple web forums or newsgroups (in case one or several are down) or ham radio messages, perhaps at certain times... the 10th, 20th and 30th of the month lets say. Or meet at the hardware store 15 min. before opening the 2nd Saturday of the month.

Synchronize watches fellow tin foilers. Hats straight. Heads high.

-- Linda (, September 23, 1999.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California

I can imagine a situation in which pressure is brought on individual ISPs to shut down "terrorist" forums. The powers that be could be very persuasive. I wonder if they would take down IRC at the same time. Perhaps.

I would be willing to set up a 24/7 channel (AKA chat room) on Efnet (the largest Internet Relay Chat [IRC] network), and staff it with highly skilled operators who could probably prevent it from being hacked. In case of a situation, people could check there as a backup plan. IRC is free. There is a number of programs for using IRC, some free, some decidedly not. My particular favorite is mIRC

I would also encourage everyone to get a ham radio. This is something that should be done sooner rather than later. You'll probably want to get licensed, which I'm working on right now. It doesn't seem to be a huge time committment, though it's hard to say, at this point, since I'm not through. Even if you don't manage to get the license, it is allowed to use a radio without a license in case of emergency. I can imagine some cases, though in which one would prefer to lay low, though, rather than draw attention to themselves by emiting radio signals.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), September 23, 1999.


After writing the above, I realized that it would probably be a good idea to go ahead and set up such a channel, in case it should turn out that folks wanted to have this backup plan in place. I've parked a few trustworthy friends there, and will get a few more. We'll stick around until it becomes clear if anyone is interested or not.

If you'd like to check the place out, download some chatting software, such as mIRC from the link in the previous post. After installing, Choose File | Options | Connect from the menu. Select one of the Efnet servers provided. If you don't know which these are, it will be one of the ones listed at this Curr ent List of Efnet Servers. I chose Efnet because it is the most international of the networks. There is good representation of US servers, but people can reach Efnet from anywhere in the world. In a censorship situation, the more countries involved, the better.

Once you're connected, click the manilla envelope icon and type in #TimeBomb2000. If nobody responds to you, it means I'm away from my keyboard. I'll be back, eventually.

For those unfamiliar with chat, it's a slightly different animal from what you're used to at this forum. Instead of having various threads, there is just one. People communicate in real time. Only those actually present will be able to see what you say. People who come later do not have access to it unless someone records it and provides it.

Chat couldn't begin to handle the full bandwidth of information available in this forum. But it may be useful as a backup measure in case of something happening to Greenspun, until something else can be arranged.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), September 23, 1999.

Dancr, alot of the folks here already are set up on aol for the chat seccions. LOL, I just tried the IRC and had no luck...but I am so used to that on this computer! :-)

Now here is my thoughts on some sort of networking, for what they are worth:

We used to say Y2K was some sort of great unknown, well as each day passes, I think we can get safer at predicting more and more of these "local" disruptions are going to happen.

I can see a couple of challenges that networking can assist with. One being telecommunications if the phones and/or internet is down. We have some folks working on a termendous project with the ham radios. Most of this work is beyond my understanding, but I am very impressed with the effort and looking forward to watching it evolve.

The other challenge is physical travel post Y2k. Several reasons for travel would be to rescue loved ones stranded in "localized problems" or to flee from problems effecting ones own family. (chemical accident, power or utility outages, civil unrest, etc.)

Also included in this list might be what is today considered normal travel for essential business or medical appointments, but due to problems, normal travel by car, bus or air would be considered much more hazardous.

And of course also to be added to this list would be the permanant fleeing from cities to more safer locations. I personally don't forsee that on a permanant basis, but I am not nieve enough to rule it out entirely, based on the possiblity of a chemical accident alone.

The realm of problems one can imagine with physical travel post Y2k is long, and needs no review here. My husband works out of town during the week and stays in motels all across the southeast. This type of travel is dangerous during the best of conditions; how it will be past Janurary, 2000 can only be worse.

Thus my "vision" of a network would be a structure where contacts can be made, and folks can have prearranged "layovers" during travel. I will use Dancr as an example, because I don't think she will mind, although we are on separate ends of the county:

Dancr has to travel past my location to take a loved one to a medical specilist, or even routine treatment if her local hospital turns up non-complient. She has enough to worry about securing bug-out-bag, petro, plus worrying about her loved one. Now she also has to worry about an overnight stay midway to her destination. Will she be forced to take one exit ramp after another looking for a Holiday Inn that is safe and functional? or stay in her car in mid January?

If I or another person of a network, is mid-way to her destination, there is no reason something cannot be prearranged...but for the effort to put such a network in place now, ahead of the fact.

I don't think the majority of us thinking network, and some of us have been talking about it, are visulizing it as a permanant house guest situation, but as a temporary refuge.

My thoughts are of smaller state networks, with a contact person (persons)possibly with that person having access to the ham radio set up. This contact keeps listing of people, trades, accomadation offerings and talents of persons in their state/region. Through ham, or other means, this state (or regional) person would be put into contact with the designated person in neighboring states, and so on...and thus Dancr ends up with a map to my house, and I know when/whom to look for.

So in essence, creating smaller networks, and having contact points between them. Thus "confidentiality" is, at least limited. Also, within these smaller networks, opportunities for barter and other resources can emmerge.

I only wish I had the ideas to accompany my thoughts. :-)

-- Lilly (, September 23, 1999.

Linda -- you are wise. I have enjoyed and appreciated so many of your posts.

All -- when the "unable to connect" message comes up to the MIT/Greenspun server, I wonder just that: how am I even going to find out what happened to our forum, whether it will be back online tomorrow or ever, and where to rendezvous with you all. Let's get on this and get it right -- a backup site, a chat location, and a telephone voice mail announcement to cover all possibilities.

-- jor-el (jor-el@krypton.uni), September 24, 1999.

BTW, "" seems to be held in someone's web name inventory. "" hasn't been reserved. But maybe the "b-o-m-b" word is not a great one to hang out there for certain .gov searchmeisters? They might think we were one of those do it yourself McVeigh types?

-- jor-el (jor-el@krypton.uni), September 24, 1999.

Jor-El, there's an eMail list, and Cory's ListServ, which has several Yourdynamites writing to it ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 24, 1999.

For the unconventional communications challenged...

Converge on Ed Yourdon's web-site... or New Mexico... in the physical? It's centrally located.


Let's just hope Boston and MIT stay "up."


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 24, 1999.

Anyone have the subscription link to Cory's listserve?

-- Stan Faryna (, September 24, 1999.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California

If we find ourselves in a censorship situation, I think we can safely assume that the shit will have hit the fan, whether John Q. Public will have realized it, yet, or not. At this point, we might be able to move to another friendly host, but this would likely be shut down soon, too.

I sincerely doubt that many of us would be willing to submit our Y2K-prepared addresses to any system. I'm not so naive as to think that we couldn't already be easily tracked down, but if the computers go down, that would provide some protection. It would be best if the information weren't already listed in mailman-friendly form.

If the USPS survived (which some consider unlikely), and all of us got PO Boxes, which we classified as "not doing business with the public," so as to give the public no right to know our physical address, still the government would have access to the information. This pretty much rules out mail for receipt of mass mailings, although individual letters could come to them, if there were a way to securely communicate the addresses to potential correspondents. And, I think there is.

For what follows, keep in mind that I haven't actually done this, not having yet earned my license, even. It is complete armchair philosophizing. I would appreciate any feed back as to whether it even makes any sense at all.

What is needed is a ham network, where some of the participants have the ability to send and receive digital messages. Some ham operators have even rigged ham "answering machines" which record incoming data for later perusal, in case nobody is attending at the time a message is broadcast. Of course, this would entail a continuous energy outlay, which may not be affordable for those relying on solar power.

Such a channel of communication could never handle the massive volume of information that courses through the Greenspun TimeBomb2000 forum (apparently "baud" rate is dismal), but it might be helpful for reporting local news to distant points, and ideas of how to deal with developing situations. It would probably be best if such a communications network did not have a hub or even a backbone, in order to be less vulnerable to glitches or attack. Perhaps the bulk of messages could be for public consumption, just as the Greenspun forums are today. These would be available to be heard by all, not necessarily only those who were interested in Y2K before any cataclysm.

Public messages would probably be best broadcast as voice messages, with a short unencoded ascii transcript follow-up, for archival purposes. For those who have one, they might add a PGP signature. We might choose to call ourselves TB2K to avoid using the "TimeBomb" string, which may attract undue surveillance attention, due to its real life referent.

It would not be possible to limit who could broadcast. We wouldn't be able to delete messages as is done today. How would we prevent trolls and others from posting messages, which would discredit us all by association? How do we carve out a space of our own, so people will know where to tune, and yet not have to be responsible for whatever some stranger may decide to say? Some ideas about these issues appear below.

In case of martial law, war, or other such catastrophe, I'm thinking, that there may be some wish or need for a method of private communication among us. Those messages would need to be encoded with a good encryption program, such as Pretty Good Privacy. We should first do some serious thinking about whether encoded communications might create an invitation for harassment, on the theory that encrypted communications might be generally assumed to be originating with terrorists. The source of a radio emission can be easily triangulated.

Private communication could be accomplished by having users encode such messages with their private PGP key. Recipients, knowing whom the message is from, would use the sender's public key to decode the message. This is probably counter-intuitive to those who are already used to using PGP for interpersonal communication. In an e-mail context, when dealing one-on-one, the sender uses the recipient's public key to encode the message, and the recipient uses their own private key to decode. The reason for the difference is that the broadcast situation demands a single encoding, not personalized ones.

This could actually be secure, though, if the "public" keys were in fact not so public, but were instead exchanged between participants in advance. From now on, I'll refer to this key as the "so-called public key." The pre-exchange of the so-called public keys could happen today, via secure e-mail, or it could be broadcast over radio, via a secure communication using the recipient's public key to encode the message which contains the sender's so-called public key.

Someone might suggest that in order to cut down on administrative red tape, we should settle upon a single such key that all users would keep secret. I believe this method would be unnecessarily insecure. Someone intent upon breaking the entire system could hack at a single user and get the code, via home invasion or intimidation. Fortunately, once we got to know each other's voices, it would probably be difficult for someone to pass for one of us, so they would have difficulty originating messages. But we'd still have to rebuild the system from the ground up (using the targeted messages described above - which I'm guessing would be unwelcome behavior in the radio community).

With the individual key method, only those users who have shared their so-called public key with the victim will need to regenerate a key pair, and repudiate their old keys. So, only the collapsed portion of the network would need to be rebuilt. The communication of the new keys could happen securely using individually targeted messages encoded in the traditional way. If secret messages ever became the usual method of communicating, care would have to be taken to be sure to continue to occasionally communicate by voice, so that we remember how everyone's voices sound. Some method would need to be established for folks to repudiate compromised keys. Key verification functions are currently provided at a web site, which presumably would not be available.

Another advantage of using individual key pairs as compared to the group key method is that the person doing the broadcast, then, has ultimate control over who may receive their private messages. They could give their so-called public key to only those users who they considered to be trustworthy, and who they could count upon to share it no further. Then, only those users who possess their key can decode the message.

So, for example, one broadcaster may decide to never share their so-called public key with anyone who they consider to have been a polly. Another broadcaster thinks the first one's polly is really, in fact, OK. There would be no need to argue over whether that person should or should not be included in the group. The "polly" wouldn't see messages of the first broadcaster, but would see the messages of the second broadcaster. This might hurt the ability of the "polly" to follow a conversation, but only for those secure messages.

At this point, it might seem as though it would be excessively complicated to keep track of everybody's keys and apply them each time a secure message is received. Actually, though, the keys are handled automatically by the software, transparent to the user. When a letter is opened, if it is locked, the software checks whether the key is available. If it is, the key gets used to decode the letter.

When a participant hears a relevant voice message, hopefully they will have recorded it. It would be helpful if the recipient would acknowledge having received the message. The originator could then relax their sending routine, once most of the people who typically respond have heard it. If the originator does not append an ascii version, perhaps the recipient can transcribe it. This would prevent a gradual degradation of the signal as the message expands outward through the network.

The recipient would evaluate the message and determine if it is worthy of being repeated, and if so, for how long, and how often. In this manner, messages would propagate throughout the network in approximate proportion to how important they are perceived to be by those who are doing the work of getting the message out. Some righteous participants may suffer unfortunate fate of having all of those who are within earshot think of them as a nutcase. Messages from those individuals would tend to not get heard. C'est la vie.

Apparently ham radios can be obtained for just a few hundred dollars. I saw one about the size of last year's cell phones. They run on batteries. It's not absolutely necessary to have one of those "attractive" ham radio antennas. You may be able to get away with stringing up some wire in your attic. Ask your local Radio Shack to put you in touch with the local ham club president, where you can get the scoop on when and where to take the next test. The textbook: Now You're Talking sells for about $19, and is 8.5 x 11 x 1". I don't recall if there is a testing fee, but if there is it was negligible to me.

What can we do in advance to make this idea more likely to work? We could share information on specific makes and models of equipment that make sense for different situations. Then, we could perhaps settle in on a frequency, and some introductory words by which we might recognize each other when we hear a qualifying broadcast. Maybe we could plot out all the participants on a nice map so we could see where we have gaps, and so everyone has an idea of who is near to them and has a potential to hear.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), September 24, 1999.

Stan, here's the Link to Cory's ListServ:

http://www.onelist. com/community/dc-y2k-WRP

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 25, 1999.

OMG, how did I get here

-- (cin@cin.cin), February 19, 2004.

Shut up cin, you dumb polly,

-- (, February 19, 2004.

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