Antenna-NL.info

Support Transparency: A look on Stichting Antenna, Antenna Technologies – and www.securepayment.org

„Not for profit, but for progress“?

Not for profit, but for progress“ – this is Stichting Antenna’s (Nijmegen, The Netherlands) published motto.  But what kind of foundation is it –  located somewhere between Wikileaks support and the secretive world of the truly wealthy, conservative churches and cults but also emancipatory movements, host of „oxfamnovib.com“ and „www.securepayment.org“?

Stichting Antenna operates under many names, offers many programs, and sends its signals on many channels. The signals can be hard to understand. In the organizational analysis presented on this website I want to shed some light on Antenna’s signals.

Stichting Antenna shares with all units of „Antenna Technologies“ impressive marketing competencies. But what is really promoted here? As benevolent as the entities look at first sight, as intransparent are the structures. None of the entities is a member of the many transparency initiatives in this field – and Stichting Antenna does not shy away from sending derogatory letters and legal threats if you want to have a closer look into the books.

The analysis should not be misunderstood as one of the users of services provided by business units of Stichting Antenna. Some users are certified in their contribution to public benefit, some are private persons or small interest groups. Stichting Antenna is however not an „Internet Service Provider“ (ISP), but a complex and intransparent private foundation also offering services like an ISP.

The analysis follows the standards of the  International Committee on Fundraising Organizations (ICFO.org), which are used in many local variations to  establish trust in a public benefit organization.  These criteria may not completely fit for Stichting Antenna, because the foundation only presents itself but is not recognized as a public benefit organization in the Netherlands. But in essence the standards formulate something you expect from every organisation with good governance: A maximum of transparency and information.

One reason for this analysis is that I received special signals being perceived as not „friendly“ to Stichting Antenna. In fact, close observation of the Stichting lead to a variety of questions.  As I wrote to its directors lawyer, I felt threatened when I received an obscure and false letter and this site was repeatedly  visited by „securepayment.org“ in its emergence. In fact, to receive a surprising threatening note containing (at least) one defamatory lie from a person before so soft spoken and overtly friendly is alarming. Mr. Polman certainly does not like research into his Antennas activities and finances.

I indeed think legal constructions like Stichting Antenna should be scrutinized because to know who profits is progress.

What can you do? Get a very cheap, possibly free, website and hosting from Antenna qualifying as a friend and supporter. Ask the management of Stichting Antenna to openly publish (1) the financial data for the past five years and (2) to explain why Antenna did not apply or did not qualify as an ANBI in the Netherlands. You may (3) also want to be very watchful when it comes to religious or ideological affiliations of your business partners – and externally verify corresponding claims.

Finally, if contacted, you may support this research on willful organisational intransparency.

Please be aware that this is a website about an internet provider and you will follow it on the internet – a medium in which things can be changed very fast. Please note also that this website is frequently targeted.

 

 

Questions to Antenna

Stichting Antenna as a webhoster: An exploratory analysis of the “Antenna index”

To test the accuracy of claims about its activities as a webhoster a sample of 94 websites 
categorized by Antenna as "from Antenna" out of the “Antenna Index” was analyzed. 
Only 34 passed the test.

How accurate and truthful is the information Stichting Antenna presents on its Website? Since the projects on front-pages of foundations regularly serve marketing and self-presentational purposes, an overview can only be won by looking deeper and wider. Within its “Index” Antenna lists the wide variety of its hosting activities. Are these organizations really related to Antenna, what is their state?

Antenna stresses that this index is „under development“, but even with this disclaimer the index is besides a frontpage the most elaborated and only further information Antenna presents to the public. If „under development“ implies „outdated, unreliable, and partly false“ Antenna should state that.

Standard 5 of the ICFO requires besides „regularly“ preparation of information that the information should be comprehensive and presented in easily understood formats.

Both is not the case. Within the categories standardization is lacking. In addition, Antenna hosts in several countries. The customer base making this necessary is not evident or laid out by Antenna.

Question:

How accurate is the information Stichting Antenna gives about its hosting activities in its index?

Method

A sample of the Index was taken out of those categories in which Antenna differentiates and states explicitly by subcategorizing that the websites are „from Antenna“.

The websites were visited and the corresponding who-is information was looked up. The websites were then categorized into three classes:

  • ok (associated to Antenna by who-is, maintained)
  • defunct (Error 404, does not work, is empty, changed content completely)
  • no(is not associated to Antenna by whois) or routed (rerouted to an outside host)

It was sufficient to get an „ok“ if Antenna was named as host or provided the DNS-server. Further involvement into the development of the websites was not checked, but the majority of the websites seemed not to have been created or designed by Antenna.

We checked 94 sites named and categorized by Antenna. They represent the majority of all sites named in the “Index” of the website of Stichting Antenna under the explicit label „from“ Antenna. Multinational hosting and multiple domain names for customers (or entities of Antenna) make it difficult to assess the number of domains hosted by and customers of Antenna exactly.

For Antenna.nl the analysis tool “robtex.com” lists 140 domains using its mailserver. Analysis tools “dnsdigger.com” and “dnslist.com” list a much higher number, namely several hundred domains for each of two identified name servers. The cause of this big discrepancy cannot be explained by the author. Many customers seem to route their mail not with Antenna possibly for pricing reasons. A small sample taken indicates however that the data of “dnsdigger.com” seem reliable.

In consequence, the representativeness of the sample for sites hosted by Stichting Antenna as a whole cannot be established. The sample reflects however the presentation of Antenna on its website.

Results

The results are shown in Table 1.  For our sample overall 36.17 percent of the websites passed the criterion „ok“. The category “consumer issues“ fared best, the category “human rights” worst.

Category Sites checked

Antenna (Host, DNS)

Defunct

Not associated

Percentage ok

Index Consumentenbronnen

14

7

4

3

50,00%

Index Gezondheidsvraagstukken

18

8

5

5

44,44%

Index Mensenrechte

20

5

7

8

25,00%

Index Religie

42

14

13

15

33,33%

Sums

94

34

29

31

36,17%

Table 1: The status of websites Antenna claims to be “from” Antenna.

Interpretation

All error here should be attributed to Stichting Antenna, since adherence to Standard 5 would have made this exploratory analysis unnecessary. In fact, perfection is hard to achieve and some human error is permissible. In addition, sampling and the fact that indexes often lag a bit behind have to be considered.

However, these results indicate that false claims in the category „from Antenna“ are certainly not just isolated events. In contrast: Close to 66 percent of the sites failed. Therefore it seems warranted to say that a significant part of Antenna’s claims with regard to website hosting is not correct.

It is up to Stichting Antenna to explain the reasons which might reach from pure negligence to marketing considerations. With regard to negligence Antenna states, however, to have changed its frontpage over 500 times in the last 20 years. At least three prominent organizations are displayed as part of the portfolio which left for long: Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and the Doctors without Borders.

A detailed analysis is not necessary to support the claim but also the index for users of “Antenna Cobra” is certainly not state of the art with regard to customers using or being coupled to it. In fact, the system seems to have only a few users left most likely because free open source advances outdated this licence fees oriented approach