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Censorship Government Politics

Iranians Outwit Censors With Falun Gong Software 171

Posted by kdawson
from the routing-around-it dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that since last year more than 400,000 Iranians began surfing the uncensored Web using software created for the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that has been suppressed by the Chinese government since 1999. More than 20 countries now use increasingly sophisticated blocking and filtering systems for Internet content, according to Reporters Without Borders, including Iran, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. The creators of the software seized upon by Iranians are members of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, based largely in the United States and closely affiliated with Falun Gong. Interestingly enough, the United States government and the Voice of America have financed some of the circumvention technology efforts, and a coalition is organizing to push for more Congressional financing of anti-filtering efforts, bringing together dissidents of Vietnam, Iran, the Uighur minority of China, Tibet, Myanmar, Cuba, Cambodia, Laos, as well as the Falun Gong, to lobby Congress for the financing. 'What is our leverage toward a country like Iran? Very little,' said Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the Hudson Institute. 'Suppose we have the capacity to make it possible for the president of the United States at will to communicate with hundreds of thousands of Iranians at no risk or limited risk? It just changes the world.'"
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Iranians Outwit Censors With Falun Gong Software

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  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:07PM (#27788287)

    Hopefully the citizens of Britain and Australia and Germany can get a hold of this software so that they can use the Internet without government censorship impeding them.

    • by KibibyteBrain (1455987) on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:01PM (#27789283)
      Heck, It would be prudent for everyone to keep a copy around just in case...
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Heck, It would be prudent for everyone to keep a copy around just in case..."

        I agree.

        Actually don't you find it a little ironic, that the US is apparently helping fund ways for other countries' citizens to circumvent their governments' censorship, all the while trying to clamp down and crack down on our own citizens usage of the internet?

        • by rts008 (812749)

          Exactly what I was thinking as I read the summary.

          If some other country tried something like that in the USA, it would be labeled as a terrorist threat/plot.

          • by janrinok (846318)

            Quotes from US Government and European Parliament documents. "It is U.S. policy to ... use all appropriate instruments of U.S. influence to support the free flow of information; deter U.S. businesses from cooperating with Internet-restricting countries in effecting online censorship." - The Global Online Freedom Act

            I have to agree with you! The above quote comes from the GIFC (http://www.internetfreedom.org/) web page. How do they square that statement with the other Government policies that aim to restrict an individual's access?

          • by icebike (68054) on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:59PM (#27790217)

            I doubt the terrorist plot claim hold much water in the US any more.

            No, these days you can hear the plaintive wail of "Won't someone please think of the Children" anytime someone speaks out against censorship.

            Child porn is the major excuse for excessive censorship today, but Australia proposed to block thousands of legitimate sites in the pursuit of child porn, and Minnesota wants to block gambling sites.

            Most censorship in the US is not done by the Federal Government, but rather by over zealous ISPs, Schools, and in the work-place.

            The US government is large enough that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

            However, don't expect this inconsistency to last if those pushing for more censorship gain the ear of the current administration.

            That being said, I will bet you Dollars to Donunts that government censorship will arrive in the EU before it arrives in the US on any comparable scale.

            This is because, when you strip away the rhetoric, the EU is based on the notion that people can not govern themselves, and the elite must assume this burden. The US has historically espoused the concept of self government.

            How long either can be true to their founding principals is anyone's guess.

            • government censorship will arrive in the EU before it arrives in the US on any comparable scale.

              [...] the EU is based on the notion that people can not govern themselves, and the elite must assume this burden.

              Speaking as a citizen of a member country, my country isn't based on that notion, but one similar to the US: that the people governs itself (through representatives, of course). On paper, the crown still has power, but in practice that power is irrelevant because it isn't wielded.

              If we let the "EU Elite" govern us too much, it's because we (The People) failed to step out of a system which doesn't respect our need to govern ourselves.

              In unity lies strength, but in false unity lies divisiveness.

      • by Starayo (989319)
        I already keep several programs that would defeat any filter that Conroy is competent enough to implement, as well as a simple list of proxies... If censorship in Australia happens, it won't affect me, but I'll be damned if I don't fight it every step of the way.
    • Interestingly enough, the United States government and the Voice of America have financed some of the circumvention technology efforts

      Oh right, because their censorship doesn't match our laws, we would like to pass this on to them so they can break their own laws, because they aren't "free" (AKA not like "us").

      But when other countries governments interfere (importing drugs, prostitutes, etc.) that don't break their countries laws, but ours. We see it as a problem?!

      Isn't this a bit behind the back? Or did I mis-read something/not get enough details? I'm not saying free speech is bad (or drugs/prostitutes are good), I'm saying the doubl

  • As Always (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechForensics (944258) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:08PM (#27788297) Homepage Journal

    "The internet interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it". People can do so too.

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:08PM (#27788303)
    ... of a world without frontiers or lines, united through their common love of pirated games and porn download torrents.
    • Re:I have a dream... (Score:4, Informative)

      by PingPongBoy (303994) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:27PM (#27788661)

      And the world has not been driven to dysfunctionalty by the freewheeling Internet, so censors and critics may as well get a life

      • by timeOday (582209)
        I bet a lot of "Dateline - to Catch a Predator" viewers would disagree.
      • And the world has not been driven to dysfunctionalty by the freewheeling Internet, so censors and critics may as well get a life

        You just have different standards from them. Sure, yours appear to be rational, wheras theirs are based on circular reasoning, but they see justification. What they're censoring is itself often taken as evidence that we need censorship: "People are looking at naked people online?!? We're in a state of moral decay!"

        If they were going to be rational about it, they'd realize that censorship doesn't have a great track record of doing much but annoying the victims.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:10PM (#27788361)

    Since the fall of the Shah and the rise of the Ayatollahs, Iran has politically regressed to a very dangerous stage. However, culturally the country is still very close to America. Despite the religiosity demanded by the mullahs, many consolations have been made to keep the populace from rioting.

    From simple things like not requiring a full hijab to really bizarre things like ultra-temporary marriages to allow single men the pleasures of prostitutes legally under Sharia. Iran is a country struggling to break back into the modern world.

    The faster we can get a strong secular leader in power there, the better the odds of Iran returning to the peaceful international fold.

    • by quantax (12175) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:37PM (#27788851) Homepage
      Not to defend the current theocrats, but you do realize Shah was a dictator and already "politically regressed to a very dangerous stage" which is why the revolution happened. The current government is learning that that fever of the revolution has died and people just want to live their lives. The progress will be slow but I have confidence Iranians will increasingly reject the cultural neanderthals within their current government.
      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        I too think it is wrong for one sect to have complete control of a country (as do most of the Ayatollahs in Iran). However, given what I've seen of Ahmadinejad's shoot from the hip, I don't care who I piss off, fiery rhetoric versus Khomeini's quietly cautious even though overly conservative and dogmatic style, I'm personally thankful that Khomeini has all the real political power, not Iran's duly elected president.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lanorien (1056426)
        Although it's true the Shah was a dictator of sorts, what the people of Iran wanted with the revolution was not an absolute theocracy. During the revolution there was a coalition of nationalists, communists, and others along with the Islamists. It just happened that the Islamists betrayed them all before the smoke even cleared and then wielded absolute power. I think anything to allow the Iranian people better access to the rest of the world is a tremendous step.
    • by MrMarket (983874) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:46PM (#27788995) Journal

      The faster we can get a strong secular leader in power there, the better the odds of Iran returning to the peaceful international fold.

      Hopefully the "we" is you and your fellow Iranians (wonder if /. can be read in Iran). We (as in the rest of the world) have countless examples why we should not be in the business of installing our favorite "leaders" at the heads of unstable governments. Supporting means for people to criticize, mobilize, and install a leader that meets their best interests (as determined by them, not outsiders) may take longer, but ultimately results in a more stable society.

    • by Nutria (679911)

      The faster we can get a strong secular leader in power there, the better the odds of Iran returning to the peaceful international fold.

      Which is why it was probably stupid of the NYT to expose the ability to circumvent censorship...

    • by julian67 (1022593)
      "The faster we can get a strong secular leader in power there, the better the odds of Iran returning to the peaceful international fold." That's what we said about the USA when Bush was in power....in fact any country controlled by authoritarian religious crackpots will benefit from replacing them with a liberal leader with secular leanings, though I have to admit that here in the UK we missed that opportunity when Blair slipped out of the back door.
    • by icebike (68054)

      > The faster we can get a strong secular leader in power there, the better the odds of Iran returning to the peaceful international fold.

      Its too late.

      We are well into the second generation of forced islam fundamentalism in Iran, and those that remember anything else are the "aging hippies" of their culture.

    • A strong secular leader like Saddam Hussein you mean?

      Unless you are an Iranian, you have no business getting anyone in power over there.

    • The faster we can get a strong secular leader in power there

      I would assume that the words would go together like this: "we ~ here" (if you were in Iran) or "they ~ there" (if you were to leave Iranian matters to the Iranian people).

      Oh well...

  • by azgard (461476) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:14PM (#27788423)

    Look at the military industry for example. There is a large market for guns, shells and missiles on one side, and also large market for bulletproof vests, armour and missile defense on the other side.

    This is a similar situation. Especially the makers of internet filtering software, such as Cisco, should take note of this emerging market opportunity.

    So, we should really keep the markets do their own thing, and the economy will grow and prosper.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >

      So, we should really keep the markets do their own thing, and the economy will grow and prosper.

      Except we end up creating useless products without a point, instead of using those resources for something that might be helpful.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by azgard (461476)

        Exactly! Maybe that was why I was sarcastic..

      • I wouldn't dismiss this progress out of hand. Both the problems faced by censors and the problems faced by those routing around them are very significant issues in the science of networks. The solutions, even the ones used by the "enemy" (the censors) will have wider applications: For example, the packet filtering algorithms could be useful against botnets.

        It's like spammers advancing OCR technology.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        Except we end up creating useless products without a point, ...

        If a company creates a product that people want to buy, evidently those people see a point and don't find it useless. If nobody wants to buy a product, it isn't made for very long, and the company moves on to something else. A growing, healthy economy is a two-sided sheet of paper. On one side there are producers, on the other consumers. Producers need to be free to make what consumers want to buy. If producers don't make things the consumers

        • E.g., people want cars that can carry more than two skinny adults and a bag of peanuts. They're called SUVs. They carry more stuff and people more safely than tiny little cars.

          Interestingly enough, they're only called SUVs because of CAFE laws getting passed in '75 following the Arab oil embargo. Before that we just bought big cars. Since SUVs and Minivans are classified as light trucks, they don't have to meet the same mileage standards...though I think this may have changed recently.

    • . . . free market sophistry makes when you stretch it almost to the breaking point.

      This comparison is NONSENSE. TOA details a case of a counter culture's home-brew counter measures being used to get around state censorship. It's not like Iranians went to Best Buy to buy a copy of Freedom Industries' new app.

      Not every problem in the world is amenable to "free market" solutions. Deal with it.

      • Not every problem in the world is amenable to "free market" solutions. Deal with it.

        I disagree, just about every single problem in the world is amendable with free market solutions, but usually the markets are not free enough. If Iran was a 100% free market economy, we wouldn't have this problem because ISPs would route around the government's servers. Problems that can't be solved with a free market solution are few and far between.

    • by copponex (13876)

      The market is only effective at maximizing profit, regardless of the consequences for human rights, or the environment, or whatever.

      For instance, if there's a market for selling drugs that kill people for enormous profit, the market will kill people, buy off scientists to claim that their product does not kill people, buy politicians who will support their operations, and sell those drugs to children in countries where there is no effective legislation. If you think that petrochemicals, genetically modified

  • by BigHungryJoe (737554) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:17PM (#27788493) Homepage

    Falun Gong/Falun Dafa have been brutalized by the Chinese government for years for doing nothing more than practicing a mental and physical discipline.

    They are experts in software like this because their leadership is almost certainly under constant surveillance.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vertinox (846076)

      Falun Gong/Falun Dafa have been brutalized by the Chinese government for years for doing nothing more than practicing a mental and physical discipline.

      From what I read about the Fulun Gong is that they are pretty similar to Scientology in beliefs and certain "practices". Now even though Scientologists can be a bit shady with their cult, I would still argue that it would be wrong to throw them in jail and beat their members much like the Chinese did to the FG.

    • Falun Gong/Falun Dafa have been brutalized by the Chinese government for years for doing nothing more than practicing a mental and physical discipline.

      That's what Falun Gong says, but it doesn't make sense. Why, exactly, would the Chinese government repress a particular school of mental and physical health?

      Unless it's more than that, of course...

    • The Falun Gong aren't really a great example for champions of religious freedom. It's kind of like Germany.. we all believe in free speech and free ideas but somehow can't get too worked up about Germany's laws against Nazi propoganda or their official condemnation of Scientology. In China of course it's horrible what they do to Falun Gong followers but Falun Gong is pretty stupid. It's all that superstitious, mystical, focusing-your-spiritual-energy BS that attributes sickness and pain with your mind force
    • Except they shut off service to the Iranians. For a religious movement they have pretty nationalistic scope. Blech!
  • Voice of America started as a radio network for broadcasting news that shows a different point of view from that by censors in the old Soviet Bloc.

    This just seems a continuation of the same mission.

  • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:21PM (#27788561)

    In the same way that an object does not "want" to fall when it is dropped, or a species does not "want" to evolve.

    But it will, regardless, simply because that is its natural state.

  • Cyber attack? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wiredog (43288) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:22PM (#27788565) Journal

    Interestingly enough, the United States government and the Voice of America have financed some of the circumvention technology efforts,

    Would that count as a cyber attack on Iran or China?

    • Look at it as the equivilant non-cyble technology. In this case, it would be like handing out encrypted radios to all the people in the target country. I don't know that that would constitute an attack, but it sure would piss off the powers that be.

    • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      Of course not, it's "cyber-liberation"! ;)

  • "'Suppose we have the capacity to make it possible for the president of the United States at will to communicate with hundreds of thousands of Iranians at no risk or limited risk? It just changes the world.'"

    Right, because those dumb Iranians couldn't possibly know anything until POTUS tells 'em about it. Obama will just do a two minute webcast on how many great jobs are available in the American auto industry, bookended by lolcats, and the government will fall!

    Sheesh.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Way to let your ideology block you from getting the point.

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      The major motivations for people who fight wars are pride, fear and access to resources. If you really want only one reason, its probably fear.

      Fear frequently is a result of ignorance of what the other side is really saying.

      The people of Iran and most populations in general, are not interested in wars. There's nothing in it for them except hardship and poverty. They will fight if they have to, however. The censorship of the media in Iran makes it possible for the mullahs to filter the information coming

  • by JimMcc (31079) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:23PM (#27788589) Homepage

    First, I'll state that I support this, worldwide.

    That said, I find it a bit whacked that on one hand we have part of our government demanding filtering and selective blocking of websites in public locations and schools. While at the same time a different part of our government is supporting and funding software to bypass filtering and blocking.

    Maybe we should drop the Politically Correct filtering efforts and quit wasting everybody's money. After all, isn't that what our government seems to be saying to other countries? Or is it just our country and our allies that are allowed to filter? Come on USA, get your story straight.

    • by JoeBuck (7947)
      Yes, and I'm sure plenty of Iranians are using this kind of technology to download software from US sites, despite attempts by those sites to honor US export control laws that require the boycotting of Iran. Not that any of this really matters from a security point of view, as the Iranian government would always be able to get what it wants.
    • by Xtravar (725372) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:43PM (#27788951) Homepage Journal

      It makes perfect sense.

      We blow up foreign infrastructure only to rebuild it.

      We give tax breaks while simultaneously starting new spending programs.

      We fight poppy growers, who fund terrorism, while simultaneously sustaining an artificially expensive black market for drugs. In a sense, we're both funding and fighting terrorism.

      So there's absolutely nothing inconsistent about our behavior here.

    • by MrMarket (983874)
      Dude. Everything is not black and white. I appreciate a little nuanced pragmatism if it keeps you and your homeless comrades from enjoying pron at the library.
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:33PM (#27788769)
    Suppose we have the capacity to make it possible for the president of the United States at will to communicate with hundreds of thousands of Iranians at no risk or limited risk? It just changes the world. You're assuming those thousands of Iranians would actually want to download messages from Obama, rather than downloading porn. As a general rule, the more repressed people's public lives are, the more sleazy their secret, private lives become. Iran has a huge surplus of educated but unemployed young men. I suspect that "free porn" is pretty high on their list of motivations for defeating filters, while "hearing what Obama has to say" is pretty low. Especially given that Obama doesn't speak Farsi. Porn is universal, it needs no translation. When was the last time you saw a foreign language porn flick with subtitles? One doesn't really need to understand the language to follow the plot line in a porn flick. And their stage direction is mostly just:
    In!
    Out.
    In!
    Out.
    In!
    Out.
    In!
    Out.
    Actor 1 moans...
  • by sbrown123 (229895) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:36PM (#27788821) Homepage

    No mention of the U.K., Germany, or Australia which are also implementing blocking technologies? Very western of us to ignore the other supposed free countries.

    • by Burkin (1534829)
      But those people who want to bypass those filters are just trying to score child porn and do eviiiiiiiiiiiil terrorist things.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrops (927562)

      Well, you got it all wrong.

      UK, Australia and Germany are doing it for the good of the people, if the government wouldn't protect them, then who will?

      China and Iran on the other hand are suppressing freedom and liberty.

      Will someone think of the children!

  • "the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that has been suppressed by the Chinese government since 1999"

    Falun Gong [apologeticsindex.org]. Do we need yet another weird cult added to the very long list [watchman.org] of those already available. Something for everyone. What was wrong with the weird cults of yesteryear? Long live Mao and down with hegemony of running dogs for western capitalists exploiters.
  • ...in North Korea, where the Internet is simply prohibited altogether.
    • Not to mention D&D and heavy metal music.

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      No matter how fucked up the Falun Gong religion is, (or how fucked up you are led to believe it is), it doesn't justify what the Chinese government is doing to them.

      There is a Holocaust going on, and the world isn't paying attention.

      Imagine if the US gov't rounded up all Mormons and started selling their organs.

    • A news article published by the People's Daily is proof?
    • by inviolet (797804)

      From google cache:

      http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:d3NzsFRIiU4J:english.peopledaily.com.cn/200103/20/eng20010320_65533.html+falun+gong+suicides&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

      IMHO Some things should be outlawed.

      You are more wrong about this issue than can be excused as innocent error.

      So, *plonk*. I'm done listening to you, at least in this life.

  • Radio free world (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:51PM (#27789083) Homepage Journal

    It's funny how certain kinds of people praise the defiance of authority like this but admonish those who defeat filters in school to access controversial information. They force their public schools and libraries to install buggy censorware which has been demonstrated time and time again to block legitimate but incorrectly categorized information.

    Heck, the Australian and German governments filter their entire countries, for ostentatious "think of the children" reasons, but all it takes is a flip of a switch for it to go political. Neither country historically has much of a problem with certain kinds of political censorship.

    How long ago was it that we had Republicans telling us to watch what we say?

    We need a pan-national dedication to transparency and the free flow of information. The people who scream about Iranian and Chinese injustice the loudest are also some of the worst censors at home. The free world won't be until we hold our own people accountable.

    • It's funny how certain kinds of people praise the defiance of authority like this but admonish those who defeat filters in school to access controversial information.

      Indeed it is. A sword can be a useful tool whether it is wielded by a patriot, a terrorist, a hero, or a tyrant. People who advocate for censorship and I say censorship NOT reasonable restraints (i.e. no porno billboard in sight of the elementary school) are being foolish or un-American or both.

      The people who scream about Iranian and Chinese injustice the loudest are also some of the worst censors at home.

      It is frequently the case that those who seek most fervently to ban, censor, and demonize are often themselves guilty of the same "crimes" for which they are so quick to condemn others. This has been shown time and a

    • by PMuse (320639)

      U.S. government support for circumvention software must stop! A top to bottom review must be initiated and the responsible officials sacked and prosecuted!! Won't some one think of the children?!!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bar-agent (698856)

      It's funny how certain kinds of people praise the defiance of authority like this but admonish those who defeat filters in school to access controversial information. They force their public schools and libraries to install buggy censorware which has been demonstrated time and time again to block legitimate but incorrectly categorized information.

      It's a damn shame that the press doesn't call out hypocritical policies. I know why, of course. If a reporter asks too many awkward questions, he isn't invited to

  • well done Falun Gong and Iranian geeks.
  • by eean (177028) <slashdot.monroe@nu> on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:06PM (#27789385) Homepage

    I seriously doubt the Iranians censor much in the way of non-pornographic English material.

    • by bgeer (543504)
      You are seriously wrong. I was there 6 weeks ago, and it seems that to me that the whole system is driven by butthurt and they p. much filter any site that has ever said anything mean about Iran.
      From memory, blocked sites included:
      michellemalkin.com - because she says mean things about Iran
      apnews.myway.com - because the AP wire service is part of a counterrevolutionary monarchist conspiracy
      openvpn.org - because VPN is for terrorists
  • Here is a speech by David Matas and David Kilgour (July 6, 2006) about their research that confirms that China has been using Falun Gong practitioners as organ inventory.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fkf2u1Umzi4 [youtube.com]

  • So here is the deal. In the US I am responsible for the action users on my company Internet and Computers do. If someone hits an adult site, or even something simple as a tasteless joke can get me in trouble. If someone sneaks content onto a work PC, I am responsible. That is USA Law and/or case law.

    So the category anonymous Internet is blocked.

    So if the US gets behind bypass technology such as this, where do I sit? If a person on my network bypasses my Internet filtering by using sanction USA bypass

  • In China most Falun Gong supporters just get harrassed and maybe jailed.

    Iran tends to just execute people by rather brutal methods.

  • There appears to me to be a whole lot of "Validity by Association" going on here.

    I looked up Global Information Freedom, Inc. - and I'm having trouble finding this close association so noted in TFSummary. Clearly, GIFInc, is very concerned about the Great Firewall - but here's the only Falun Gong reference that I could find - http://www.internetfreedom.org/The-High-Tech-Persecution-of-Falun-Gong-in-China [internetfreedom.org] (which seems to cover a helluva lot more than the Falun Gong).

    The Falun Gong has become the darling pol

  • The last sentence of the article:

    As for the Falun Gong software, it proved a little too popular among Iranians. By the end of last year the consortium's computers were overwhelmed. On Jan. 1, the consortium had to do some blocking of its own: It shut down the service for all countries except China.

  • by bgeer (543504) on Friday May 01, 2009 @05:01PM (#27792685)
    Breaking their firewall is really nothing to brag about, it took me about 5 minutes to ssh into my server in the US and apt-get tinyproxy. As far as I could tell they make no effort to block proxies at all.
  • If I understand correctly all this software do is use several proxy which are then used to browse filtered website.
    The problem AFAIK is that those who filter the web could get the proxy list and track the IP address of those who connect to the proxys and then these user would have *nasty* question to answer..

    So this solution isn't very anonymous, a better scheme would be to hide the traffic on encrypted connections with 'normal' website, but this would require the server to be used as a relay..

  • On the surface one would think that increased relations between two dictatorships would result in less freedom for both peoples. But instead, contacts with the Chinese have benefited dissident groups in both countries immensely.

    This leads to some interesting ideas. Maybe when these dictators have their lovefests, we might encourage them rather than discourage them, as, it does force those countries to open up to at least -somebody-. Thus, putting and keeping pressure on the likes of Iran and Venezuala wh

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