Temporarily disabling the Matrix Bridge

by Allie and el

Update: We no longer have an official Matrix bridge. Please see our FAQ about Matrix for more information about using Matrix on Libera.Chat.

Hello Libera users,

As you know per previous blogs, we have been liasing with Element Matrix Services (EMS) as they transition the Matrix bridge to an opt-in configuration that aims to allow plumbed channels (channels that opted in to being accessed by Matrix) while deactivating portalled channel access (where Matrix users could roam freely on the network). This process was undertaken at our request due to various security and privacy concerns that EMS have been unable to address to our satisfaction due to time constraints. During this transition period, a number of new issues have arisen, and we have already extended the deadline for the deportalling transition by two weeks, at the request of EMS. Some of these issues are specific to the bridge operated for Libera.Chat and may not affect bridges on other networks.

When we agreed to accept the Matrix bridge onto Libera.Chat at the request of a few projects early in 2021 part of that agreement was the following clause:

the bridge may be subject to temporary closure (on your side or ours) in the event of future privacy issues, dependent on severity and predicted resolution timeframes, with honest public-facing explanations.

On August 2nd, we notified EMS of a serious regression in our coordination channel after close of business London, UK time (where EMS is based). After no response we requested acknowledgement 24 hours later on the 3rd. At this point we were informed that no attention had been or could be given to the issue. Having subsequently investigated and confirmed the issue was still occuring, today, Friday August 4th at the start of business hours, we notified EMS that they had until 1400UTC Saturday August 5th to address the issue.

Unfortunately, EMS have informed us that they cannot satisfy this deadline.

In order to protect our users and our IRC-first communities from mounting stability, security, and privacy issues, we requested that EMS remove the Matrix bridge from Libera.Chat until this serious regression can be fixed, and all other outstanding issues are likewise resolved. EMS agreed to shut the bridge down by 1400UTC Saturday August 5th. We cannot anticipate a timeline for the bridge’s return, but we hope it will be soon.

We will put together a more complete retrospective for publication in the near future, and we invite projects to make alternative bridging arrangements in the meantime. There are various options available, such as catircservices and heisenbridge.

As always, Libera.Chat staff will be on hand via PMs, and in #libera-matrix to answer any questions.

Regards, Allie & el on behalf of the entire Libera.Chat staff body