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The Technology Keeping Information Flowing in Iran 174

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the learn-a-new-word-today dept.
Death Metal writes "Iranians seeking to share videos and other eyewitness accounts of the demonstrations that have roiled their country since disputed elections two weeks ago are using an Internet encryption program originally developed by and for the US Navy. Designed a decade ago to secure Internet communications between US ships at sea, The Onion Router, or TOR, has become one of the most important proxies in Iran for gaining access to Web sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook." A related story was submitted anonymously about the efforts of hactivists to keep the information flowing inside the data-locked nation.
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The Technology Keeping Information Flowing in Iran

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  • All this time... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fprintf (82740) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:04AM (#28512981) Journal

    Sheesh, all this time folks were talking about TOR I thought they were being lazy and shortening Torrent. I learn something new every day!

  • Support Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:05AM (#28512989)

    Support them by becoming a Tor relay

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:13AM (#28513075) Journal

      Support them by becoming a Tor relay

      From nedanet [nedanet.org]:

      If you are a Linux or *BSD or Mac OS/X user, we have a detailed recipe [slashdot.org] for setting up and registering a Squid proxy for the revolutionaries' use. Update: We are no longer recommending people set up plaintext squid proxies. The Iranian regime appears to be doing deep-packet inspection on all traffic now.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      In the absence of an external interfering force (e. g., the army of the Soviet Union), the fate of a nation is determined by its people. Period.

      After the Kremlin exited Eastern Europe, the peoples of each nation in Eastern Europe rapidly established a genuine democracy and a free market. Except for Romania (where its people killed their dictator), there was no violence.

      In Iran (and many other failed states), no external force is imposing the current brutal government on the Iranians. The folks running t

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by knutkracker (1089397)
        Dupe [slashdot.org].
      • by ArcherB (796902) on Monday June 29, 2009 @10:19AM (#28513671) Journal

        While I agree with a lot of what you have to say, I have to ask, do you think the people in N. Korea are happy with their lot in life?

        • by copponex (13876)

          I have to ask, do you think that's any of our business anymore?

          We split the Korean peninsula with the Russians without consulting any Koreans. The split lead to the destruction of both countries through a proxy war in the 50s. Maybe the whole peninsula would have turned into something like North Korea. Or maybe without in any Americans in the south, the Russians would have lost interest and left the north.

          And the GPs post claiming that Iranians carry the full blame for their current dictatorship is absurd.

          • by TJamieson (218336)

            Why anyone is surprised with Islamic fundamentalism's rise in our wake is beyond me.

            Y'know, I was not there for our wake. While many are still indeed alive who caused such strife (and indeed some who were recently in charge) I think the overall point is for us as a country to recognize that we fucked up; since we stuck our noses in to make the mess, shouldn't we bear some responsibility for its repair?

          • by gtall (79522)

            Bullshit, the Muslim religion prepped the Iranians for religious dictatorship for over a 1000 years. What the U.S. did doesn't even register any longer.

      • by sznupi (719324)

        You conveniently dismiss the long term effects on people/mindsets/society due to decades of mangling in their affairs.

        Make no mistake, current Iran is in large part the product of this mangling. Would it be better without it? I don't know. Would it be different? Hell yeah.

        Speaking from one of new EU memberstates that will, I guess, suffer from burden of "homo sovieticus" mindset still for a generation or two - 20 years after regaining independence after five decades of ocupation.

      • by sznupi (719324) on Monday June 29, 2009 @11:34AM (#28514641) Homepage

        Also, learn at least the basics of modern history...

        After the Kremlin exited Eastern Europe, the peoples of each nation in Eastern Europe rapidly established a genuine democracy and a free market. Except for Romania (where its people killed their dictator), there was no violence.
        Red Army went away only after many years of struggle. There was bloodshed practically in every Soviet satellite country.

        In Iran (and many other failed states), no external force is imposing the current brutal government on the Iranians. The folks running the government are Iranian. The president is Iranian. The secret police are Iranian. The thugs who will torture and kill democracy advocates are Iranian.
        Except for presence of external force (which was present for large part of modern Iran), all this was true in former soviet republics.

        If the democracy advocates attempt to establish a genuine democracy in Iran, violence will occur. Why? A large percentage of the population supports the brutal government and will kill the democracy advocates.
        Let us not merely condemn the Iranian government. We must condemn Iranian culture. Its product is the authoritarian state.

        When democracy advocates attempted to establish a genuine democracies in soviet republics,for many years violence was the result. Even though majority of population supported the changes. The state of affairs had nothing to do with local culture. Minority that held power was enough.

        We should not intervene in the current crisis in Iran. If the overwhelming majority of Iranians (like the overwhelming majority of Poles) truly support democracy, human rights, and peace with Israel, then a liberal Western democracy will arise -- without any violence. Right now, the overwhelming majority clearly oppose the creation of a liberal Western democracy. The Iranians love a brutal Islamic theocracy.
        You know nothing about the struggle of Poland for democracy. There was violence, people died, change didn't come for many years.
        And actually it might have come much sooner if, for example, Western Allies didn't handle Eastern Europe on a plate to Stalin. Or didn't let military aggresion on Czechoslovakia in the 60's. And so on... If there was some kind of intervention

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Twinbee (767046)
        Weird that this gets 5 insightful now when before the dupe [slashdot.org] got -1 troll. Where's the consistency slashdot mods?
        • by dave562 (969951)
          With a million and a half registered UIDs and mod points being awarded on a semi-random basis, you are going to be searching far and wide to find any sort of consistency in moderation.
          • by Twinbee (767046)

            To be honest, I'm wondering even if all the votes are normalized properly, or if it just goes up and down whenever anybody votes with a cutoff point at 0 and 5.

            • by Twinbee (767046)

              A dissection of the positive and negative scores would be great. How about it Slashdot, can't be too hard to think of these things (?!)

              • by dave562 (969951)
                What do you mean by dissection? You can click on any post header and get a break down of the moderation.
                • by Twinbee (767046)

                  Ooops - haven't seen that before. But it still doesn't show how many people voted each type, only the proportion.

      • It is none of our business unless they attempt to develop nuclear weapons.

        Which they absolutely will do. Anyone who believes that Iran will not develop the bomb after completing the necessary infrastructure for nuclear power is being naïve in the extreme.

        We in the West are morally justified in destroying the nuclear-weapons facilities.

        Which will then be rebuilt in such a way that nothing short of a nuclear penetrator [wikipedia.org] will suffice to destroy them, assuming that they were not constructed that way in the first place, and what then? Would you call their bluff? Would you use nuclear weapons to prevent Iran from having them? That is a tough question, no doubt a

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by pdxp (1213906)

        The Iranians love a brutal Islamic theocracy.

        Unless your name is "The Iranians," I don't understand how you can speak in such broad terms and not be modded as a troll.

        The Iranians created this horrible society. It is none of our business [...]

        We should condemn Iranian culture and its people.

        So, it's not our business until it's time to weigh in our thoughts? All I can say is that with that kind of attitude, I hope you too are stereotyped to be the same as everyone else in your country when it begins to collapse and everyone says, "Well, they made their own mess. Let's just condemn them all for now and take action against them if we feel threatened." I hope you don't wonder w

      • In the absence of an external interfering force (e. g., the army of the Soviet Union), the fate of a nation is determined by its people.

        This is true in the general trivial sense that many of the ideal principles in social studies (whether political science, sociology, or economics) are true, but (as is often the case with such ideal statements) often false in practice. Like many such generalities, in really is only true in situations of universal perfect information: preferences which are general throughou

      • For all Iranians, I must say: Stop your fucking hatespeech, asshole!

        If you had watched The Daily Show, you would have some insight into Iran.

        If I would use your arguments, I could say that the Americans support the murdering and killing of an many people as on 9/11 every week, in foreign countries. And that they are all the bible-centric rednecks that we laugh about.

        But I do not. I know that most Americans are good and kind people. Just as most Iranians. Or most people of any country.
        It always is a small gr

      • by stoicfaux (466273)

        The Iranians created this horrible society.

        The Iranians bear 100% of the blame for the existence of a tyrannical government in Iran.

        Wrong. They had lots of outside influence. The US supported Saddam in Iraq to counter Iran's influence. Saddam attacked Iran and the war lasted eight years. During a time of war, you need an authoritative government, not a democracy. Therefore, the US indirectly or directly helped create the need that created the current Iranian government. There's also the whole business with the US supported Shah to consider also.

        On the flip side, the Iran-Iraq war killed a lot of combat age Iranians which created t

    • I keep on getting portscans from Iran, perhaps they are about to attack!?
      • I keep on getting portscans from Iran, perhaps they are about to attack!?

        Well, if I was an Iranian student, I'd be continually portscanning most of the free world looking out for any open ports that might turn out to be web proxies running on non-standard ports to evade filters.

        And if I was the Iranian government, I'd be doing exactly the same thing - and blocking them whenever I found them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dnaumov (453672)
      Being interested in "helping the cause", I used to run a TOR relay on my primary system with a fair share of bandwidth. My exit policy was to allow only http/https/irc traffic out. Within 3 days, I found myself unable to browse several websites/forums that I normally frequent. Apparently, a lot of websites use proxies to filter connections from spam and abuse and some of these proxies identify, track and mark IPs running TOR exit relays as abuse relays. I have talked to a maintainer of one such "blacklist"
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You can simply operate a TOR relay configured to not be an exit node. Replace your exit policy in the configuration file by :

        ExitPolicy reject *:*

        You will still help the global TOR network, because you're sharing bandwith as an entry and intermediary node; and you won't risk anything because no "illegal content" will exit from your node to the public internet. Half of tor nodes are not exit nodes.

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:07AM (#28513011)

    You almost have to wonder if this scares the crap out of the powers that be. That something they created could, in theory, be something that fuels their eventual downfall, (assuming things ever got really bad....)

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:18AM (#28513125) Journal

      That something they created could, in theory, be something that fuels their eventual downfall ...

      Like nuclear weapons? Like a dependency on oil? Like a botched military campaign in a neighboring country? Like your own revolutionary spirit being turned against you after you become the abusive people in power? Sometimes I think it's hard to find a powerful tool that is not a double edged sword.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:24AM (#28513167)

      ...something they created could...be something that fuels their...downfall...

      The U.S. government has long-since established some mechanisms [odcmp.com] that would accomplish exactly that.

      • by G-Man (79561)

        I have to wonder about the future of the CMP. Once the supply of Garands and M1 Carbines runs out, the military rifles that follow are all selective-fire (i.e., "machine guns" as far as the ATF is concerned). I can't see the government allowing more "machine guns" to pass into the hands of the Unorganized Militia. I suppose conversion to semi-auto is possible, but that takes money, and CMP seems to operate on a shoestring budget. I bought my Garand from the CMP, but I'm not holding my breath for an M14 or M

        • I'm not holding my breath for an M14 or M16.

          AR-15s are relatively easy to convert to automatic. Of course I'd prefer an M14 or M1. Heck I'd prefer an AK47 over an M16. When I was in the Army we used to joke that if we found an AK47 on the ground we'd drop our M16 and pick up the '47. They aren't as accurate as M16s but like Timex watches they can take a licking and keep on ticking. M16s jamb too easily.

          Falcon

    • by Jurily (900488)

      You almost have to wonder if this scares the crap out of the powers that be. That something they created could, in theory, be something that fuels their eventual downfall, (assuming things ever got really bad....)

      You can't really fight tanks with Twitter, you know.

      • You can if 10,000 other people who think just like you only need to be told where and when to be to stop them.

        Either the tanks stop, or the next place the people meet is outside Mahmoud Ahmadinejads' house with brick and chain.
        • by Jurily (900488)

          Either the tanks stop, or the next place the people meet is outside Mahmoud Ahmadinejads' house with brick and chain.

          Assuming their army either runs out of bullets or refuses to shoot, and of course that there are actually enough people willing to risk their lives.

          • Either the tanks stop, or the next place the people meet is outside Mahmoud Ahmadinejads' house with brick and chain.

            Assuming their army either runs out of bullets or refuses to shoot, and of course that there are actually enough people willing to risk their lives.

            Some Army groups based near Beijing where Tiananmen Square is located refused to fire. The commander of the 38th Army [chinaworker.org], who feigned sickness, was one commander who refused. Because Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader, didn't want a military coup to

    • by Swampash (1131503)

      No, because there'll always be companies like Nokia, and Siemens, and IBM, there to prop the powers that be up.

  • by viraltus (1102365) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:13AM (#28513077)
    I mean, perhaps they don't even care what are you saying, just that you try to hide it... How can you access a Tor network without them knowing? With another Tor network?
  • Side benefits? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:16AM (#28513105)

    I use Tor regularly and it's really slow. Not unusable, but really slow.

    If I understand this correctly (and I'm not at all sure I do, so feel free to correct me), the more people who set up and use Tor the more quickly traffic can propagate. So if the situation in Iran is causing lots of people, both in and outside of Iran, to use Tor, then the whole thing should speed up, right?

    So is that why when I visited a few miscellaneous .onion sites last nite, they were far more responsive than usual?

    I imagine the Supreme Leader would be pissed if he understood. :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wdsci (1204512)
      Well, the more people who set up Tor *relays*, the more quickly traffic can propagate, yes. But not every Tor user is (or can be) a relay operator, and unfortunately the more non-relay-operator Tor users there are, the less quickly traffic can propagate. Basically, relays provide bandwidth for the network, and non-relay Tor users use it up. Ideally the ratio of relay operators to non-relay users should be reasonably high (well, at least a large fraction of 1).
  • by geegel (1587009) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:18AM (#28513127)
    TOR doesn't ensure true anonymity. The only thing the Iran regime would need to do in order to sabotage it, would be to setup a lot of TOR nodes and analyze the traffic going through them as there is no encryption for the data. Right now this technology benefits from privacy due to obscurity. If the service becomes popular enough, they'll probably resort to the tactics detailed above.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:44AM (#28513323)

      The resources needed to spy on tor users would be huge. They'd need to log all traffic that goes through their nodes and analyze it all to reconstruct what can be reconstructed. I find it very unlikely that a government would try to do that. The costs would largely overweight the benefits.
      Do you have any idea how much tor nodes it would require to be able to log enough data to reconstruct enough communications to incriminate a few people? The computing power that would be necessary to reconstruct the communications?
      I think they'd rather cut off the internet than trying to spy on tor...
      wait... you say there's no encryption for the data? From the exit node point of view, maybe but the exit node doesn't know the identity of the source of the communication. When tor traffic goes out of your computer, there's a least three layers of encryption. And everybody who knows a bit about tor will tell you: don't use tor to communicate sensitive informations unless you're using encryption over tor.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You're wrong. Tor does encrypt node-to-node traffic. It does not encrypt the exit node traffic though because that's what is actually accessing stuff on the Internet. So yeah, if you go to a an unencrypted web site then the Tor exit node you are using can see your traffic.

      In theory they wouldn't know who the source was unless that information is in the plain-text data. In practice, if they happen to also be running your Tor connection point then they can run a statistical analysis attack and figure out

    • by Psyborgue (699890)
      Tor is not vulnerable to an attack like that. All traffic going through a tor node is encrypted (among other reasons). There are only theoretical timing based vulnerabilities that aren't really applicable on a large network such as the internet.
  • article is so wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by spotter (5662) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:27AM (#28513177)

    the reporter of that article is an idiot.

    Onion Routing was invented at the Naval Research Lab, but it had nothing to do with ships.

    If the reporter would have done a cursory reading of http://www.onion-router.net/ [onion-router.net], which is the page the creators made, the reporter would not have found any mention of ships on the description or summary of what onion routing is.

  • by mrbill1234 (715607) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:32AM (#28513225)

    What is to stop the Iranian government setting up a plethora of TOR nodes and inspecting and tracing everything back to the source? I understand there are alot of different levels to a TOR connection (hence the 'O'nion) - but could the 'bad guys' setting up thousands of TOR nodes around the world help them trace back to the originator?

    • by annerajb (1155635)
      They probably dont have that amount of resources. so far the internet in iran is slow because of the deep packet inspection.
    • They have trouble hosting honest elections and you think they can hire that many IT consultants? Whom would be sympathetic to setting up Tor and doing Packet Inspection? (Most of the security guys I know like their clearance).
      • by rotide (1015173) on Monday June 29, 2009 @10:06AM (#28513545)
        You contradict yourself.

        "Trouble hosting honest elections" isn't an accident and it isn't due to incompetence, it is due to the desire and ability to rig the system to win.

        If they can do that, what makes you think they can't set up TOR nodes? (potential infrastructure limitations aside).

        But don't think for a moment that a government that is out to win at any cost won't do whatever it takes to quash those that attempt to stand up to them. Also don't believe for a moment that they can't fund/hire or already have the technology and know how to setup simple nodes. It isn't too far of a stretch to believe they already have talented IT folk on their payroll.

        Long story short, they aren't in power because they are dumb.

        • If you know how to sniff packets chances are you are in the security industry; if you are any good chances are you maintain clearance from a Nato body in addition to the rest of your work, if you have clearance you don't deal with Iran, because doing so would cut your clients off from you by you losing your clearence for dealing with an organization that "chooses" the next election winner.

          As for the infrastructure; why do you think there was a major cable interruption in the middle east last year, this o
    • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Monday June 29, 2009 @10:52AM (#28514113)
      No. According to the Tor project [torproject.org], it isn't possible.

      Because each relay sees no more than one hop in the circuit, neither an eavesdropper nor a compromised relay can use traffic analysis to link the connection's source and destination.

      So, according to that description I believe that the iranian government would only stand a chance of being able to monitor traffic if the entire network was comprised of tainted tor nodes provided by the state of Iran. So even under that scenario Iran's job would become a bit harder if suddenly more people started contributing to the tor project. At least that's my non-security expert take on that. Nonetheless I'm getting my tor node up and running.

      • They could see which Iranians are using TOR which might be enough to get the user into big trouble. They might not see the originator but that doesn't really matter if they just want to collect Iranian IPs of people using TOR.

        • They could see which Iranians are using TOR which might be enough to get the user into big trouble. They might not see the originator but that doesn't really matter if they just want to collect Iranian IPs of people using TOR.

          They'd only be able to get the IPs of those who used one own of their own TOR nodes first. Traffic between nodes does not reveal the IP making the request.

          falcon

    • Not feasible (Score:3, Informative)

      by basicio (1316109)
      There is no way Iran has the resources to perform correlation attacks on Tor traffic.

      Facts: -There are about 1800 Tor nodes running right now, and about 900 of those are exit nodes. (http://torstatus.kgprog.com/)
      -Any entity performing cross-correlation attacks on Tor isn't going to have a very good chance of compromising a given circuit unless they control a very significant portion (say, a third or more) of the Tor network.
      -There are tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of clients using Tor, and Iran on
      • Note that you can compromise Tor a lot more easily if you can also block it. If you block any connections to known external Tor nodes then clients are forced to use your nodes. You don't even need to reject the connections, just make sure all Tor traffic destined for out-of-Iran networks that doesn't come from one of your compromised nodes is routed instead to one of your compromised nodes. Note also that you don't need to identify the remote endpoint; finding the IP address of the machine connecting fro
        • Note that you can compromise Tor a lot more easily if you can also block it.

          Yes it's easy to block Tor, just cut off the net in Iran. If the net is not cut off they can't do much to compromise Tor. That's because anybody, with the skills, computer, and net access can set up Tor. Because of what's going on in Iran someone posted how to setup Tor in Ubuntu [orient-lodge.com].

          Falcon

  • Iran, has banned the use of encryption. It's illegal to use gpg and such like. Good luck with TOR. Maybe they get away with it because everybody uses it. I cannot judge on the merits of the Iranian election and wheter it represents the free will of the majority of the people (many seem to imply it doesn't but with little in terms of proof) I don't know that the opposition in that election would be any better for said people. But yes, let information flow. Freely and encryptedly. I hope TOR has no holes.
  • Selective Values (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chord.wav (599850) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:46AM (#28513353) Journal
    How come nobody talks what has happened this past week and is still happening in Honduras [youtube.com]?

    How come the election in Iran provokes such a passionate response from the US (which is not bad) and a call to support them, put proxies, blablabla, but a real military coup in an american country much next to the US doesn't provoke Sh1t? Have you heard of it at least?

    Don't follow the imposed agenda people, trust your judgment. And apply it equally for everybody, not just the ones that your leaders want you to hate.
    • by idiotnot (302133)

      Iran and Honduras take a back seat to Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, and Farrah Fawcett. But, hey, Obama is "deeply concerned," and people are free to worry about such trivialities.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by yachius (1348219)
      You mean besides for the LA Times and every other major newspaper in the US? And Slate? And a million other blogs with admins who have an interest in these events? It isn't tech related at all, there's no great cry for democracy. It's just another coup in an insignificant country.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
      Successful revolutions have three phases. First, a strategically located single or limited segment of society begins vocally to express resentment, asserting itself in the streets of a major city, usually the capital. This segment is joined by other segments in the city and by segments elsewhere as the demonstration spreads to other cities and becomes more assertive, disruptive and potentially violent. As resistance to the regime spreads, the regime deploys its military and security forces. These forces, dr
      • Re:Selective Values (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2009 @10:22AM (#28513697)

        If you lift your content from Stratfor http://www.stratfor.com - you could at least give credit.

      • This is what happened in Tiananmen Square in China: The students who rose up were not joined by others. Military forces who were not only loyal to the regime but hostile to the students were brought in, and the students were crushed.

        Yes military units had to be brought in, because local army units [nytimes.com] refused to fire on the protesters. Deng Xiaoping [chinaworker.org] even "went as far as ordering the 12th Army, with which he had a close relationship, be moved to Beijing soon after 4 June to guard against a military coup".

        Falc

    • by moranar (632206)

      I heard. Since I live in another American country, this is news to me. But they have no oil.

    • Re:Selective Values (Score:5, Informative)

      by tnk1 (899206) on Monday June 29, 2009 @10:26AM (#28513775)

      I am following the issue in Honduras, and honestly, it doesn't appear as cut and dry as it looks. In Iran, at least the situation seems to be a lot more clear. We may not know for certain that the election was rigged, but the timing seems impossible for counting. Additionally, Iran is at best, a very limited democracy overtopped by a religiously motivated dictatorship, so these protests seem to be very compelling.

      In Honduras, the president, Zelaya, was attempting to order a referendum which was designated to be illegal by the Supreme Court and the Congress. Supposedly, the military was directed to make the arrest by those bodies.

      Of course, under their constitution, I doubt that those branches have that power, but on the other hand, the Hondurans failed to put an impeachment clause in their constitution that they could use. When the Congress and the Supreme Court in the US are against the Executive at that level, he'd have been legally impeached and removed. This does not appear to have been an option for those branches in Honduras and I got the feeling that the police are on the side of the President.

      If you believe the opposition, the vote was a lead up to Chavez-esque referendum to remove or change the term limits in the Constitution for the President. While sketchy, this is not illegal in and of itself in many places. However, Honduras apparently also has the interesting constitutional provision that it is even illegal to propose a change to that provision if you are an office holder. One assumes that this is due to their bad experiences with people staying in office too long.

      On the other hand, I believe the referendum was only for the purposes of calling a "constitutional assembly" to rewrite the Constitution, so the legal extrapolation they made is possibly not warranted, even if they may well be right about his intentions.

      As I said, I am actually surprised that the world is supporting Zelaya as uncritically as they are, but there may be no choice in the matter. In this case, the Hondurans look to have be in a sticky mess constitutionally which no one wants to get involved in. I think that the major issue is that the military was involved, which is certainly bad news, particularly in that part of the world. Its hard for anyone to get behind a military action to remove a legally elected office holder, even if he may be up to something.

      However, Zelaya seems to have troubling parallels to Hugo Chavez in his way of dealing with issues, and there are some suggestions that the referendum would not have been entirely without governmental pressure to vote for the provision, which would then be taken as a plebiscite to secure power for the President's entire program, including the removal of term limits. Certainly the Supreme Court and the Congress could be in the wrong here, but I am inclined to distrust Zelaya's motives as well. This may not be an actual coup, even if the military involvement tends to make it look that way.

      Or it could be a coup by a corrupt or overreaching Congress and Supreme Court with military involvement.

      This sort of ambiguity does not make for good news print, which is why I am unsurprised that it is not being featured. That and the fact that Honduras is not a state supporter or terrorism nor does it appear to have a nuclear program, peaceful or not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by knutkracker (1089397)
      It's the story. A good story bypasses the rational parts of our brains, goes straight to the emotions and grabs us.

      The subtext of the Iran story is about the surprise of realising that a people we previously thought of as hostile (and frankly a bit too Muslim for comfort) are as much against their crazy muppet of a ruler as we are and decidedly less Muslim than the scary hard-line ones (relaxed dress codes, keen to party). It's the underdogs fighting The Man and we especially identify with the underdogs,
    • Because what happened in Honduras was legitimate by their constitution (the president was committing TREASON according to article 4 of their constitution, therefore it was legal for the Honduran Supreme Court to vote to remove him and for the military to execute that). It is not exactly a military coup, because once the president was removed, the next in line was legally put in his place to serve out the remainder of the term until elections next year.

      So, in Iran, you have a corrupt government trying to ste

    • Re:Selective Values (Score:5, Informative)

      by Xest (935314) on Monday June 29, 2009 @10:46AM (#28514023)

      Probably because the guy who has been ousted was trying to defy the constitution, defy the courts and sacked military heads who wouldn't assist him in doing so.

      Effectively what is happening in Honduras is an example of what should ideally happen if a leader attempts to become a dictator (i.e. he gets removed), whilst Iran is an example of what shouldn't happen (i.e. the people get violently supressed).

      The Honduras result is really a good one, he was trying to copy Chavez, the difference is he didn't have the support to do so. It's probably worth realising that copying Chavez isn't a good thing because Chavez is really no better than Ahmadinejad. Ignoring the fact they're best of friends it's probably worth noting that Chavez, like Ahmadinejad, has supressed opposition using militia etc. so again, seeing someone who wanted to follow this path ousted through a country's legal and constitutional procedures is probably a good thing.

    • Oil.

    • How come nobody talks what has happened this past week and is still happening in Honduras? [youtube.com]

      And what about the coup in Madagascar [france24.com]?

      Falcon

  • Zmodem? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by localman57 (1340533) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:55AM (#28513437)
    There seems to be all of this press about how people are getting information out using the internet. But back in the early 90's, before I had access to the internet, my friends and I used to transfer information and files from one place to another using two modems connected via a plain old telephone line, sending files back and forth using Zmodem protocol. Is this technique still being used? I'm picturing someone using an acoustic coupler on a pay phone to send small cellphone videos out of Iran to a friendly party...
    • We didn't have Zmodem. All we had was Kermit [wikipedia.org]. We didn't have modems either. We wrote our bits on the back of his little froggy-back 7 bits at a time and waited for him to go and come back with the reply bits. If we were lucky he managed to cross the highway [wikipedia.org] without getting run over.

      Anyone know the packet loss of frogs hopping across a desert?

    • by Dr. Evil (3501)

      Telephone records are interesting. The government just has to look at who in Iran is talking to people outside of Iran. Then they look at little closer, or just beat them for good measure.

      I have friends in Iran who I'm afraid to contact. We've sent a couple emails saying little more than "I'm well". Anything more is risky.

      In parts of the world where posession of encryption technology is punishable, and the government has a "secret police", there's not much you can do which doesn't involve stenograph

    • With an accoustic coupler, you can't dream of going much over 2400 bps regardless of line quality.

      At 2400bps you can read the text "live" in the download stream(!) And I remember well that sending 1 megabyte by Zmodem took about 1 hour.... not practical when you are sitting in a payphone booth, except for small amounts of data.

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • sorry, just had to get that in

  • when reading the post. I thought, "What does a satire news site have to do with routing?" The Onion [theonion.com]
  • Call it naivety on my part, but am I the only one worried about National governments studying the Iranian uprising, in search of countermeasures to YouTube and Twitter? Judging from various crowd control measures [bbc.co.uk] being implemented (such as 50,000 volt riot shields [europa.eu], I'm sure there is an interest in figuring out a way around everything people are doing in Iran. I can easily see the physical destruction of a website's servers to be on the top of a government contingency plan. Cut power to Twitter's servers? D
  • by dnaumov (453672) on Monday June 29, 2009 @11:44AM (#28514787)
    Being interested in "helping the cause", I used to run a TOR relay on my primary system with a fair share of bandwidth. My exit policy was to allow only http/https/irc traffic out. Within 3 days, I found myself unable to browse several websites/forums that I normally frequent. Apparently, a lot of websites use proxies to filter connections from spam and abuse and some of these proxies identify, track and mark IPs running TOR exit relays as abuse relays. I have talked to a maintainer of one such "blacklist" and this is apparently a feature, not a bug as he considers complete anonymity on the internet to cause more harm than good. So, I cannot change the opinion of a blacklist maintainer and I cannot make the websites I visit stop using such blacklists. Essentially I was being blackmailed in a "either you stop running a TOR exit node or you can't browse this and this and this website" fashion. Eventually I had to cave in and had to stop running TOR on my system before the maintainers of these lists agreed to take me off them.

    Obviously I want to support the cause of having anonymity on the internet, but I am not really sure that this price of not being able to use internet properly myself is a price I am willing to pay. What can be done about this?

    The second problem comes from another point of view. What can I do, as a TOR relay operator, to protect myself from potentially getting harassed by law enforcement non-stop?
    • Obviously I want to support the cause of having anonymity on the internet, but I am not really sure that this price of not being able to use internet properly myself is a price I am willing to pay. What can be done about this?

      If you truly care so much about anonymity and freedom, put your money where your mouth is. Have a second connection installed and use it exclusively for your TOR exit node. Then you won't get b& from anywhere on your main connection.

      Remember that any anonymising service worth u

    • by linuxpyro (680927)

      As others have mentioned, just running a node without an exit policy is still very beneficial. It will still make the network faster, especially with hidden sites, which are only available on the TOR network. And, if you are going to run an exit, I think that the best course of action would be something like a dedicated box in another country, maybe Germany. Maybe even find a provider who will give you a couple IPs, so you can designate one for TOR, and use the other for Web hosting or whatever.

    • Obviously I want to support the cause of having anonymity on the internet, but I am not really sure that this price of not being able to use internet properly myself is a price I am willing to pay. What can be done about this?

      Well, clearly you need the IP you browse with and the IP you offer TOR relay service from to be two separate IPs. So you need to throw another machine into the equation. Any service that offers SSH can be used for SSH forwarding. You can buy space on Amazon's cloud for around 10 cents an hour and probably setup TOR there directly, or setup a proxy. You can probably buy proxy access directly, too.

  • I started running a TOR relay in response to the situation in Iran. Apparently Time-Warner Cable is not TOR friendly. I've noticed that about twice a day, my internet connection goes dead (and stays that way). I can power-cycle the cable modem and it's good for another 10-12 hours. Resetting my cable modem twice a day is a very small price to pay to help folks risking their lives for freedom. Nevertheless, it is annoying.

    • by linuxpyro (680927)

      Just a thought, but have you played with the bandwidth limiting features of TOR? You might be able to make your connection a little more stable if you, say, only let TOR use a half or a quarter of your bandwidth.

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