Letter to the community

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The following Letter to the Community was published to the AllStarLink Community site, app_rpt-users mailing list, and Reddit on Sunday, 3 January 2021:

The groundwork was laid for what was to become PTTLink on 29 December 2020 after the unannounced and uncoordinated actions taken by the AllStarLink Board of Directors.  At approximately 5:00 pm Pacific (0100 UTC, 30 December), the admin committee became aware of multiple catastrophic system outages.   Attempts to login to systems to remediate were presented with new IP addresses and messages that the host keys were unknown.   Further investigation revealed that the DNS zone record was updated at the registrar for allstarlink.org moving it from the long time home of caustic-sea.allstarlink.org to Cloudflare.  In addition, an investigation into the IP addresses being presented revealed that they belonged to Google.  (For more information on the AllStarLink admin committee visit: https://wiki.allstarlink.org/wiki/Admin_Committee[1]). Since the admin team was not previously granted access to the DNS control panel, it was unknown at this time if this was the board, or a bad actor.

The lead system administrator, Stacy Olivas (KG7QIN) immediately posted to the AllStarLink Slack #operations channel upon notification of the outages asking if anyone was messing with DNS to which he received no replies.  At that time all members of the AllStarLink Board of Directors were present or available on Slack as well as those working on their behalf and are believed to have precipitated the outage.

Due to this catastrophic outage, actions were taken by the long-time administration and development teams to stabilize the network and this required the use of Jim Dixon’s lapsed domain -- pttlink.org.  Due to there being zero coordination regarding what was happening, all the existing data and systems remained in place and merely needed minor updates and configuration changes to use the pttlink.org domain to ensure continued operation of node registration services.

The shocking and unprecedented actions taken and continue to be taken by the AllStarLink Board of Directors which include (but are not limited to):

I. changing of DNS without advance notice, coordination or explanation to the admin and development team causing an outage

II. termination of the AllStarLink Slack accounts for several members of the development and admin team without notice or explanation

III. revocation of node numbers and user access of members without notice or explanation

IV. continued sending of unsolicited email to users registered with PTTLink.

This is considered by the undersigned members of the admin committee to be indicative of poor judgment and a lack of foresight by the AllStarLink Board.

There have been several posts made alleging theft of data from the old AllStarLink system.  No such actions have been taken by the admin committee and we repudiate these meritless allegations.  As previously stated, due to the action of the AllStarLink Board of Directors, all existing data and systems (to include user data) were abandoned in place.  In addition, and contrary to statements published by the AllStarLink Board, all servers under control of the admin committee have and shall remain housed in secure commercial data centers.  Additionally, we have received commitments from donors of these resources that PTTLink may continue to utilize them.  These resources, which were formerly donated to keeping the AllStarLInk Network running for the benefit of the thousands of users worldwide, will continue to be available and keeping the PTTLink systems running in the same manner.  The safeguarding of data has been and always will be of the utmost importance to the admin committee and PTTLink team.

The admin committee understands that there are many unanswered questions regarding the events surrounding the outage of 29 December and the subsequent migration to the PTTLink Network, which was officially formed on 30 December 2020.  In an act of good faith and to assuage any concerns users may have regarding their data, the PTTLink team commits to the following:

All users who were registered with the AllStarLink system have the opportunity to OPT IN to remain registered with the PTTLink network.  Users only need to point their nodes at the PTTLink registration server before 3 February 2021 to have their user and associated node data retained.  This applies to all nodes that a user may have.  On 3 February 2021, any nodes which have not been registered with PTTLink after 2 January 2021 will be removed.  Any user accounts that no longer have nodes associated with them as a result of this removal will also be removed from the PTTLink user database.

Users can accomplish this by adding to the /etc/asterisk/iax.conf file an additional registration line, duplicating their existing AllStarLink node number and password and changing the registration server from register.allstarlink.org to register.pttlink.org similar to the following:

register=<node number>:<password>@register.pttlink.org

Any registered user who does not wish to wait until 3 February to have their registration information removed from the PTTLink database can submit a written request (from the registered email account on file) with the subject line of “Request to remove my user and node data from PTTLink” which also contains within the body your callsign and a statement from you requesting to have your user data removed.  Send this email request to helpdesk@pttlink.org.   You will receive an automatic reply with a ticket number assigned to your request.  Your request will be processed within 7 days upon receipt and you will receive confirmation back that your account and data have been removed (if the requirements of this request are met).  This is limited to one email per user and one callsign/user account only.  Emails with requests for removal of multiple user accounts/callsigns (bulk requests) will be rejected without further action taken and will require resubmission as individual requests.  Requests to remove data that do not match the email account on file will also be rejected without further action taken.

Additionally, no node number assigned as of 3 February, will be reassigned in the PTTLink network for the period of 1 year, such that should someone wish to acquire their original AllStarLink node number after the removals, they can.

PTTLink’s Pledge to the Community
  1. PTTLink is committed to the fair, open and equitable treatment of all volunteers and users, without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
  2. PTTLink is committed to the principles of open-source software and adherence to the licenses which have fostered tremendous innovation within the ham radio community.
  3. PTTLink is committed to fostering and furthering innovation and the development of the app_rpt and related programs, and all forms of Voice over IP, Radio over IP and associated communications and telecommunications systems and technologies for the benefit of the ham radio community.
  4. PTTLink will adhere to the safeguarding of all data on PTTLink systems and respect users wishes with regards to the storage and handling of this data.
  5. PTTLink recognizes the free exchange of ideas is necessary to a healthy, functioning organization. As such we are committed to open communication and pledge to never censor discussions between our users.
  6. PTTLink will not revoke credentials or users without notice, and without the ability to challenge this for review.

To request more information regarding this statement or for assistance with the use of PTTLink, you can send an email to the PTTLink Helpdesk at helpdesk@pttlink.org

Additionally, the following resources are available:
User management and registration portal: https://www.pttlink.org[2]
Wiki: https://wiki.pttlink.org[3]
Statistics server: http://stats.pttlink.org[4]
System status dashboard: https://grafana.pttlink.org[5]

Signed the PTTLink Team, Developers, and Supporters on 3 January 2020.

PTTLink Team:
Juan Carlos Pérez, KM4NNO (XE1F)
Bryan Fields, W9CR
Jeremy Lincicome, W0JRL
Stacy Olivas, KG7QIN

PTTLink Developers:
Jason Kendall, VE3YCA
Jeremy Lincicome, W0JRL
Stacy Olivas, KG7QIN
Juan Carlos Pérez, KM4NNO (XE1F)

PTTLink Supporters:
Oscar Flores, XE2MFT
Pablo Mejia, XE2PMP

Note: In addition to the individuals listed above, there are many others within the community who have expressed support for the information contained within this letter. However, they have elected to not sign their names to it out of fear of retribution from the AllStarLink Board. This retribution includes (but is not limited to) the revocation of their assigned AllStarLInk nodes and servers, and the censorship of posts made on the AllStarLink Community forum.

Also posted to:

External Links