Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship The Internet United States Government News

US Tests System To Evade Foreign Web Censorship 219

Posted by timothy
from the worthy-objective dept.
D1gital_Prob3 excerpts from a Reuters story that says "The US government is covertly testing technology in China and Iran that lets residents break through screens set up by their governments to limit access to news on the Internet. The 'feed over email' (FOE) system delivers news, podcasts and data via technology that evades web-screening protocols of restrictive regimes, said Ken Berman, head of IT at the US government's Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is testing the system. The news feeds are sent through email accounts including those operated by Google, Microsoft's Hotmail, and Yahoo. 'We have people testing it in China and Iran,' said Berman, whose agency runs Voice of America. He provided few details on the new system, which is in the early stages of testing. He said some secrecy was important to avoid detection by the two governments."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Tests System To Evade Foreign Web Censorship

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:14AM (#29063945)

    China and Iran don't read slashdot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by h4rm0ny (722443)

      Who cares about them finding out? I want to know when we can get it over here!
  • Right... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Leonard Fedorov (1139357) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:15AM (#29063949)

    So the obvious way to maintain such secrecy is have it posted to slashdot.
    Brilliant...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bluesatin (1350681)
      You mean you haven't realised that the rest of us on here are actually just chatbots?
    • Re:Right... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:19AM (#29063991)

      "D1gital_Prob3 excerpts from a Reuters story that says "

      Yes, because if Slashdot didn't pick it up no one would have ever seen it on that Reuters thingy.

      • Wish I had mod points today...
        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          Greetings, I'm Slasher-Clippy 7. I understand you 'Wish I had mod points today'. Would you like me to murder one of your fellow users and take theirs?

          yes(default), Maybe, I'm not sure

    • Re:Right... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gclef (96311) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:55AM (#29064303)

      Well, they presented it just a couple weeks ago at DefCon [defcon.org], so apparently their right hand isn't quite on speaking terms with their left hand. There were some...pointed questions from the DefCon crowd, though, which they didn't have good answers for. One big concern for me, which I didn't see them address well: how do you bootstrap this? (Ie, why not just block downloads of the application itself, or arrest everyone who does download it?)

      • Does it need an application? Don't you just email the URL to an email address and get the page back as an attachment? If so, all you need to do is distribute the email address, which you can easily do via word-of-mouth. The real problem is how does an oppressed peon tell the difference between a version of this run by the US government and one run by the Chinese or Iranian government and set up to identify subversives (and, if they're really clever, feed them bogus information, if they're not then just r
      • by ae1294 (1547521)

        Did anyone ask if it works to download music and porn?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by SheeEttin (899897)

        how do you bootstrap this? (Ie, why not just block downloads of the application itself, or arrest everyone who does download it?)

        Get it before the government blocks it. If enough people get it, it'll be up in too many places for them to kill.
        Besides, even if the government blocks the official site ahead of time, it will still be redistributed by people outside the block, and the above situation will occur.

  • Congratulations (Score:2, Informative)

    by yttrstein (891553)
    You've invented Listserv.
  • More uses... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Asmodai (13932) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:19AM (#29063989) Homepage

    I am sure our Australian friends can make good use of this too in the near future...

    • I'm sure that our *American* friends can make good use of this too in the near future...

    • by daem0n1x (748565)
      I wonder if people can use this too in US-friendly repressive regimes, like Saudi Arabia. Or this is only for the "baddies"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It was revealed a while ago that Richard Stallman doesn't browse the web. If he wants to read a particular page he sends a command to a server that retrieves the page and emails it to him (really!). At the time, he was roundly mocked on Slashdot. But now we see that, once again, he was in the vanguard, living the future.

      2010 will be the year of the unkempt beard. Mark my words.

  • by netsharc (195805) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:21AM (#29064011)

    this looks like an interesting and useful technology for us, can we please have it too?

    Signed,

    The US Citizens

    • by FinchWorld (845331) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:23AM (#29064021) Homepage
      Your assuming they aren't just using to let them access US Gov approved news, as opposed to the China/Iran Gov approved news they have now.
      • by ae1294 (1547521)

        Yes, somehow i don't think it will respond to a request for the 4chan feed... 'We have filters on our anti-filter software'

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by A. B3ttik (1344591)

      this looks like an interesting and useful technology for us, can we please have it too?

      ...to get news from outside the non-existent national firewall?

      • by WindBourne (631190)
        to get news in such a way that the FBI does not know about it.
        • So, like, Google?


          Sorry, I'm not really used to speaking with Tin-Foil-Hatters in person.
          • Even a public terminal would suffice to avoid the FBI, or a public wifi connection. Of course, the real fear in the U.S. is not the government, it's the corporations. Something like this would be great if we could use it to bypass ISP controls over the content we are seeing. The government couldn't care less what we look at on the interwebs as long as it isn't teaching us to be a terrorist or kiddie porn. The media corporations however, constantly try to keep us from accessing information, such as copyr
      • by ArwynH (883499)

        this looks like an interesting and useful technology for us, can we please have it too?

        ..to get news from outside the non-existent national firewall?

        Just because you don't know about it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist...
        http://www.usonews.fr/en/article/2009/03/24/the-great-firewall-of-america/ [usonews.fr]

        • Just because you don't know about it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist...

          The power of conspiracy theories is that there are only two answers to the question "Does a conspiracy exist?"

          I don't know, and yes.

        • Hhaha Dead link
    • by Shihar (153932)

      Right, because government censors constantly appear to block my Internet surfacing. Right. If you are in the US, I am pretty sure I could post a series of links to convince you that not only does the US government not censor the Intertubes, but that a man, a woman, a horse, a communist, and an anarchist can get freaky in kiddie pool of astro glide. The US sucks in a lot of ways, fanatical defense of free speech isn't one of them. The US trounces the shit out of the rest of the world, EU included. It

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        and I have the Nazi midget porn to prove it.

        Have you seen 'Petite Swastika Bitches Volume VIII' yet? It's everything that volume VI wasn't and volume III tried to be.

  • I'm confused here (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jez9999 (618189) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:21AM (#29064013) Homepage Journal

    US companies (OK not the government, but the government didn't exactly frown at them) help setup these filters for foreign countries. The US government itself sets up 'free speech zones' and practices increasing amounts of censorship within the US... and I'm to believe that they want to genuinely promote free speech outside the US?

    • by Demonantis (1340557) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:23AM (#29064029)
      Exactly the US government's interest is in not in that they get news, but the news that they will get.
      • by griffjon (14945)

        And correct me if I'm wrong, but this sounds like "web over email," and of course there's already TOR. It smells of a propaganda tool more than honest free access to information.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by JumperCable (673155)
        Hard to say. If the program allows the individual to select their sources of news feeds & the US government does not hinder what they see then you accusation would be unfounded in this instance.

        Here is the big problem with avoiding censorship. It's a cat & mouse game. As soon as you find a method to circumvent a type of censorship, a suppressive government entity will try to find a way to either block it (or in some cases like Iran, just identify who is using it and block the user the old fashi
        • Exactly. Is a "I think I can get away with it" really worth it, if the punishment for getting caught is years in jail, flogging or a death penalty? There are people I don't like, but besides moral reasons, I won't kill them because even though I think I can get away with it I value my freedom more than being rid of them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jlar (584848)

      Do you mean the US companies helped setup the filters in Iran? I thought that was European companies (Siemens and Nokia):

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124562668777335653.html [wsj.com]

      In China american companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and Google censor their search engines and content.

    • The US government just wants to make sure that they can get propaganda through. Does the government really care if Chinese kids can read about the latest Linsay Lohan scandal? Nope, but they do care to make sure every chinese iranian etc. thinks of the US as great without having to include Satan in the title.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MightyYar (622222)

      I support "free speech zones". If my city is hosting a political convention or some other controversial event, the last thing I want is a bunch of people shutting down the city services in "protest". They are free to organize their own little event and pay for the city services if they wish. "Free speech" doesn't mean "act like a douche".

      • by Mister Whirly (964219) on Friday August 14, 2009 @10:41AM (#29065497) Homepage
        Yes, free speech does sometimes mean you have to put up with people acting like douches. Freedom of speech is a double edged sword - you have to make all speech free, even if it is vile, disgusting, ignorant speech - because odds are someone else thinks what you say is vile, disgusting and ignorant. Supporting "Free Speech Zones" means you also support "Restricted Speech Zones" which should not exist in the US. (With the obvious exceptions of the shouting "fire" in the theater, yelling "bomb" at the airport, etc.) But no political speech should ever be silenced.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MightyYar (622222)

          Yes, free speech does sometimes mean you have to put up with people acting like douches.

          There are a lot of ways to act like a douche. Shutting down a city is not acceptable.

          Supporting "Free Speech Zones" means you also support "Restricted Speech Zones" which should not exist in the US.

          No, it means I support getting a permit and paying for the city services that you use.

          I agree with you regarding "distasteful" speech. Even hate speech should be protected, so long as it isn't a call to violence.

          • I don't understand how you can be for free speech and then in the same breath, recommend that one would need a "permit" to assemble, regardless of the reason. Have you ever read the bill of rights? Hint: check out the first one. There is no requirement to reimburse the state or any other agency for "services used". That excuse is a simpletons attempt to control what is happening. It gives them the excuse they need to say No - and that's just what it is...an excuse.

            You are advocating, in some ins
          • There are a lot of ways to act like a douche. Shutting down a city is not acceptable.

            Here's the thing - public streets don't exist solely for transportation, they exist for public use. Sometimes that use isn't compatible with transportation. If so many people care about an issue that their protesting in the streets causes a city to "shut down" then chances are they've got a legitimate issue that needs addressing. After all, it takes a lot of people to "shut down a city" - not just a handful of fringe lunatics. You get that many people out protesting, their protests are pretty much by de

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by EricX2 (670266)

      Is there a newer story then this:

      http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/06/22/1245205/Siemens-Nokia-Helped-Provide-Irans-Censoring-Tech [slashdot.org]

      Nokia: Finland
      Siemens: Germany

      Also, what does a company providing that technology have to do with whether or not the government approves it? If the government blocked companies from selling it, that would be censorship.

    • I personally denounce the government's attempt to limit free speech. I am so angry about it I think we should, in the next few years, remove all the members of the House of Representatives and at least a third of the Senators. If the government doesn't stop acting foolishly about censorship after that, I think we should immediately start campaigning to remove the president. I also think all drugs should be legal, and people should be able to watch anything they want on tv. Also, big oil is really running th

  • Covertly? (Score:4, Funny)

    by necro81 (917438) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:21AM (#29064015) Journal

    The US government is covertly testing technology in China and Iran

    Not covert any more.

    • Just because it is announced does not mean that they know where or for what to look. There are LOADS of US secrets announced and right out in the open. BUT because it is wrapped in half truths, it is not seen for what it is.
  • by master_p (608214) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:28AM (#29064061)

    ...in wanting censorship. Otherwise, why would another government be interested in evading it?

    • by BobMcD (601576)

      This is quite true. Look at the propaganda they feed their own citizens. There's absolutely no telling what kinds of mischief our awesome CIA is up to over there.

      If I were running a government, I'd consider this an act of war, and would appeal the UN for sanctions.

      Maybe for me its a 'Star Trek' thing, but those cultures support their governments. They are, at least in the case of China, in favor of censorship. So let them decide. Who are we to prop up dissidents and meddle in their affairs?

      Particularly

  • Didn't RMS claim somewhere that the way he browses the web is sending an e-mail to some machine, which then grabs the content, and e-mails it back to him?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      Yup, and it's quite an old idea. There used to be an app for the Psion Series 3 that did this too. The machine didn't have a native web browser, but if you bought the modem it came with a mail client, and there was a service you could use to get web pages as plain text (or possibly RTF). Back then, web pages didn't have frames or stylesheets and only had a few tags for text markup and occasionally images (but most people browsed with images turned off by default, because they took too long to load) so yo
      • Arguably, you wouldn't lose much today either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SpooForBrains (771537)
  • Good stuff, but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by damburger (981828) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:33AM (#29064117)

    If this system is run by the US government, will they apply their own censorship?

    http://news.cnet.com/2010-1028_3-5204405.html [cnet.com]

    the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) invented a way to let people in China and Iran easily route around censorship by using a U.S.-based service to view banned sites such as BBC News, MIT and Amnesty International. But an independent report released Monday reveals that the U.S. government also censors what Chinese and Iranian citizens can see online. Technology used by the IBB, which puts out the Voice of America broadcasts, prevents them from visiting Web addresses that include a peculiar list of verboten keywords. The list includes "ass" (which inadvertently bans usembassy.state.gov), "breast" (breastcancer.com), "hot" (hotmail.com and hotels.com), "pic" (epic.noaa.gov) and "teen" (teens.drugabuse.gov).

    But it gets better...

    Instead, the list unintentionally reveals its author's views of what's appropriate and inappropriate. The official naughty-keyword list displays a conservative bias that labels any Web address with "gay" in them as verboten--a decision that affects thousands of Web sites that deal with gay and lesbian issues, as well as DioceseOfGaylord.org, a Roman Catholic site. More to the point, the U.S. government could have set a positive example to the world regarding acceptance of gays and lesbians--especially in Iran, which punishes homosexuality with death.

    So oppressed homosexuals in Iran found themselves circumventing the Iranian government only to be thwarted by the US government. But that isn't even the best bit.

    In an e-mail to the OpenNet Initiative on Monday morning, Berman defended the concept of filtering as a way to preserve bandwidth. "Since the U.S. taxpayers are financing this program...there are legitimate limits that may be imposed," his message said. "These limits are hardly restrictive in finding any and all human rights, pro-democracy, dissident and other sites, as well as intellectual, religious, governmental and commercial sites. The porn filtering is a trade-off we feel is a proper balance and that, as noted in your Web release, frees up bandwidth for other uses and users."

    Yes, there are legitimate limits to what taxpayers should cough up for - and I think helping a foreign government keep its gay population from accessing the wider international community most definitely falls into that category!

    • by Ogive17 (691899)
      Even the summary said they are trying to limit this system's ability to be used to browse through porn. And I agree, this isn't some proxy for foreigners to surf for porn. There is no perfect filter so unfortunately some legitimate sites are going to get caught in the net.
      • by damburger (981828)
        Why is it important to spend taxpayer money adding a porn filter to such a scheme, when most US taxpayers undoubtedly don't care whether or not people abroad watch porn, and when it will, as has been shown in the past, block access to legitimate sites that are highly relevant to people being denied Internet access across the world?
        • by Shakrai (717556) on Friday August 14, 2009 @10:41AM (#29065509) Journal

          Why is it important to spend taxpayer money adding a porn filter to such a scheme, when most US taxpayers undoubtedly don't care whether or not people abroad watch porn, and when it will, as has been shown in the past, block access to legitimate sites that are highly relevant to people being denied Internet access across the world?

          Because if you let people use it as a proxy to surf porn they will consume all of the available resources/bandwidth and it will become as useless as TOR currently is?

        • when most US taxpayers undoubtedly don't care whether or not people abroad watch porn

          If it is represented, either rightly or wrongly, that the increased bandwidth for porn surfing is costing the American taxpayer a penny more than it would cost for provisioning a porn filter, than it would be a public relations time bomb NOT to install the porn filter. Most Americans don't care who watches porn, domestically or abroad, unless it's going to cost them money, in which case then, yes, they'll start to care ver

          • by damburger (981828)

            If its a metadata/database issue in a system funded by the US government, its a US government/taxpayer issue by default. That should be obvious to anybody.

            What it amounts to is showing Iranian people that the absurd, stone age moral finger wagging their government engages in has parallels in the US, albeit slightly less violent ones. You guys aren't exactly good at winning hearts and minds.

            • If its a metadata/database issue in a system funded by the US government, its a US government/taxpayer issue by defaul

              The problem is - as I think I understand it - the metadata of the sites in question say "gay," and the porn filter kicks it out. Now, is that because the porn filter coding is bad, the vast majority of "gay" metadata'd sites are in fact NOT porn, but blogs discussing, I dunno, the latest upholstery patterns? Then, yeah, there is a metadata/database problem that needs fixing. If, however,

    • What about abortion?

      A medical procedure. That would the test of just how bias they are.

  • This can help others where they can not see the content from the US. Hulu and others come to mind. Oh right, it isn't censorship if it isn't done by the government.

    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Friday August 14, 2009 @09:00AM (#29064363)

      This can help others where they can not see the content from the US. Hulu and others come to mind. Oh right, it isn't censorship if it isn't done by the government.
      Hulu has not been granted the license to distribute some content beyond the U.S. In some cases those distribution rights have been given to other entities, in other cases the rights may have been more expensive than Hulu wanted to pay, given the limitations of global-play ad sales.. In all cases, it was a business decision. Information may "want to be free," but network television does not. To even imply "censorship" is just ignorant.

  • Finally our government is helping others dis-empowered by their own government, and allowing them to be able to bypass any sort of government imposed oppression on the people. Although this could be considered treason if you twist it one way, say...if it was done in the US, and the oppressed were the ones being held for terrorism, but you know what i mean!

    I knew someone that could not use their computers to chat (msn, skype) with their wife back in Syria, and the long distance was through the roof. I told h

  • FOE is your acronym? couldn't they have called the system SPECTRE or ENEMY? (Special Propaganda Emulsifying Communication Targetting Regime Email or Email Normalizing Exchange of Missives Y'know)

    someone fire the acronym guy please. learn public relations 101: its not assassination, its neutralization. its not violent overthrow, its regime change. its not obamacare, its euthanize the downs syndrome and the elderly. geez, this stuff should be easy

  • by xizhi.zhu (1499631)
    For a real success, they should be runnable for all email accounts, not only those using Gmail, etc. The reason is that China or Iran may simply block those providers (and it's true that China has blocked several services of Google). Also, encryption is needed, as China now filters all the traffic, including SMTP, POP3, IMAP. Moreover, it should be quite easy for the end users.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:48AM (#29064247)
    How will this NOT lead to governments banning email from foreign countries

    (That's foreign to them)
    All this will achieve is even greater restrictions, until ultimately countries' censors will be operating entirely autonomous, independent, local versions of what was once referred to as The World Wide Web and just so that they can put their version of the facts in front of a small minority of people in other countries who might just care.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      They are not going to block email from other countries. The world is interconnected. Every country relies on the rest of the world for its economy to do well (imports and exports). Since email is now just about imperative to do business anywhere, they will not completely block it. They could, though, restrict which people can use email, or receive it from other countries.
  • Symmetry ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:49AM (#29064255)

    Disclaimer: I'm not a US citizen (and my English is terrible).

    So the US govt is providing ways for foreign citizens to access content that is considered illegal in their countries...
    What would be the US govt reaction if some other country provides a way for US citizens to access content that is illegal in the US ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shihar (153932)

      So the US govt is providing ways for foreign citizens to access content that is considered illegal in their countries...
      What would be the US govt reaction if some other country provides a way for US citizens to access content that is illegal in the US ?

      Exactly what it is currently doing? Nothing. Surfing from the US I have never had a government firewall block my access. What could a foreign government possibly do when the the US government does absolutely nothing? The US government only reacts to illegal content, it doesn't make any attempt to censor it. Further, its definition of "illegal" is pretty narrow. If you trade in kiddie porn, you might provoke the US to try and arrest you. Otherwise, the only danger the US government poses is that compa

    • Since they can't really censor content, the most they CAN do is monitor it, if it is something like terrorist chatter, kiddie porn, etc. But I am not a lawyer; just a technician.

    • if they ever enter the US. Otherwise the US Gov just complains.

    • Re:Symmetry ? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dword (735428) on Friday August 14, 2009 @09:31AM (#29064661)

      What would be the US govt reaction if some other country provides a way for US citizens to access content that is illegal in the US ?

      Such as copyrighted material which is legally downloadable in some parts of the world but not in the US?

      I don't want to turn this into another discussion about copyright, but what happened with TPB is the answer to your question.

      • Re:Symmetry ? (Score:4, Informative)

        by cpghost (719344) on Friday August 14, 2009 @09:34AM (#29064687) Homepage

        Such as copyrighted material which is legally downloadable in some parts of the world but not in the US?

        There's a precedent already: the US government used its leverage in the WTO to strongarm Russia to ban AllOfMp3.

      • Aren't some U.S. authorities taking action against online gambling sites?

        So we have a fairly short list of things that can get you in trouble in the U.S. - kiddie porn can get you prosecuted, gambling can result in forfeitures, and downloading copyrighted material can get you sued. Only the first two are directly caused by government action; in the last case, the government is merely complicit.

        Can anybody think of any more?

        I'd say we have it pretty good in the U.S. It could be better, though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by daem0n1x (748565)
      No, it's OK for the West to interfere in any country they please, because the West is the sole righteous Holder of The Absolute Truth (TM) and if you don't agree, you must be a Freedom Hating Commie Terrorist (TM) and be sent to some shithole to be re-educated by waterboarding.
    • by CmdrGravy (645153)

      I think we know the answer to that, just look at the fate of the ( non American ) owners of gambling websites not based in America but accessible to American citizens. I believe the US caused them to be arrested and brought to "justice" in the US.

    • Just like they did with allofmp3.com.

      Well, at least we finally know what those "hikers" who got "lost" near the Iranian border were really doing.

  • by claybugg (1496827) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:58AM (#29064341)
    Ohhh. I hope we're sending them links to great, unbiased American news sources like CNN and Fox News. Those folks will be enlightened in no time!
    • I know you were joking, but if you are comparing CNN and Fox to the "news" that a lot of the rather tight Islamic nations get, you're crazy.

      Most of the news on CNN or Fox would probably get you arrested over there, I would think.

      Again, I know you were joking, but this is something that irritates me - as good as it is to critique our country (whichever one it is), I think it's important that we are also aware of the differences between countries and not simply blast them for every single error/"wrong thing"

  • the irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Friday August 14, 2009 @09:02AM (#29064365) Homepage Journal

    Isn't it ironic that western governments are developing systems to circumvent Internet censorship, while at the same time deploying censorship infrastructure and laws?

    There's probably a good joke somewhere in there.

    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

      These are countries that have no problems with providing arms to both sides of a conflict.. so providing both censorship and the means to defeat it is business as usual.

      As you hear sometimes.. follow the money - the truth is there.

  • Sounds like a Usenet to email gateway to me!

  • Circumventing Laws (Score:3, Insightful)

    by quatin (1589389) on Friday August 14, 2009 @09:39AM (#29064765)
    Why is the IBB intentionally trying to circumvent other countries laws? I'm all for net neutrality, but I understand that other countries have their own cultures and their own political spheres that is complex and not easy for us to understand. We can't even understand half the things our own government does. However, when was it policy to help citizens of other countries to break their own laws? What's the point of this other than to infuriate foreign governments? Amusement? And lastly, if it is our policy to infuriate foreign governments and prod them with a 4000 mile stick. We should send "semi-collector grade" samurai swords to Britain. I heard their parliament is so afraid of ninjas they banned samurai swords in an effort to prevent a ninja-takeover of London.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      I heard their parliament is so afraid of ninjas they banned samurai swords

      Ninja used different weapons than samurais... shorter sword for indoor fighting, everyday objects convertible into weapons or concealable weapons that could pass for everyday objects... just sayin' :)

    • I heard their parliament is so afraid of ninjas they banned samurai swords in an effort to prevent a ninja-takeover of London.

      Hmmm, ninjas running things instead of parliament eh? Might actually be an improvement.

  • TFA did not mention who provided the technology. Wouldn't it be a hoot and a half, if it was Siemens Nokia Networks?

    They're the folks that provided Iran with the filtering technology in the first place.

    That would be an excellent double-dipping business strategy: sell one side the stuff to close off the net; sell the other side stuff to open it up again.

    Repeat until your pockets are full.

  • Where I work had, in the early days of the web, a policy that only the chosen few could journey via http outside our firewall. We could get email from anywhere, though.

    I used to make much use of email-to-web servers. You sent an email to a particular address. You included the URL you wanted on the subject line. The receiving server would fetch the web page and email it back to you. I don't remember the server that I used the most but I do remember that it was in the .jp domain.

    When the censorship in Ir

  • all these comments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday August 14, 2009 @10:33AM (#29065397) Homepage Journal

    basically doing nothing but accusing the usa of hypocrisy

    folks, the most radical most liberal most openminded society you could ever imagine will have some sort of censorship of SOMETHING. pedophilia, for example

    at that point, would it be valid to compare such a hypothetical state to a country that punishes people harshly merely for expressing a political opinion?

    according to some of you, it is

    the usa is imperfect. the usa does evil in the world. let me repeat: the usa is imperfect. the usa does evil in the world. have i sufficiently innoculated myself yet in some of your minds of being a blind ultranationalist american yet? can i still criticize you without getting that ridiculous charge? then good, here goes: to compare what the usa censors with what iran and china censors is ignorance on your part

    as an example: plenty of you in the usa, critical of the usa, are freely posting a political attitude critical of the usa from within the usa, on american servers. you do realize that in some countries like gee, i dunno, china and iran maybe? that that gets monitored, and if it bothers someone, you get punished, perhaps harshly if you get indignant? can you imagine that in the usa? of course not, that's why you freely post. in china or iran, none of you would be bravely fighting for the assumed status quo of freedom implicit in your comments that you see as ideal, no, you'd be meekly bowed in fear, and would say nothing critical of the government. because you don't speak from nobility, you speak from a position of crass jackass ignorance

    here is an objective fact: your freedom of expression in the usa is vastly, by orders of magnitude, superior to that in china and iran. that is an OBJECTIVE FACT. what does that fact mean to you? do you give it any value? are you thankful for it any way? or do you find that the usa is imperfect in its policies, therefore, i will mouth off about the usa being the equivalent of the worst censoring authoritarian governments on the globe. does that sound intellectually honest to you?

    but that's ok by me, that's what freedom of expression leads to: lots of loud dumb idiots mouthing off. its a small price to pay to live in a free society that i cherish, and i accept all of your ignorance, even though i feel compelled to smack your ignorance down

    here's a magic word for you to consider next time: "scale". the scale and reach of the censorship involved. what does that concept mean to you? here's an example question question ot consider the concept of "scale" in relation to censorship: does censorship of pedophilia have the same impact on society, the same meaning, as censorship of political opinion?

    ruminate on the concept. then open your mouth

    you may now accuse me of being a dick cheney cock sucking neocon. since obviously, if i criticize your words, i must be the worst kind of american ultranationalist, right? not just some neutral guy asking for a little intellectual honesty on your part, right?

    zzz

    so predictable and ignorant. god i hope the lot of you are 13 years old. its the only way your ignorance is excusable

  • by jandersen (462034) on Friday August 14, 2009 @11:01AM (#29065793)

    Don't take your mouth too full - I think the current American government is way too bright to actively engage in that kind of nonsense. The Voice of America may be a broadcaster paid for by American public funds, but that hardly makes it "the government".

    Another thing is - what is so remarkable about this? Is even as advanced as wrapping html packages in another protocol? The article is sparse on technical detail, and for all I know, it could be nothing more than sending HTML emails or attaching mp3 files. To me this looks more like yet another annoying, but trivial stunt to attract a bit of attention to a non-issue.

  • '"We have people testing it in China and Iran," said Berman, whose agency runs Voice of America.'

    VoM is a propaganda service, always has been. And I mean that in the strict technical sense, not with any negative connotation. It is their job to present information that can be received in countries elsewhere, which the US wants believed.

    In this case, they want the residents of those countries to believe (ie "know") it is possible to have contact with information from outside that their own government doesn't

COBOL is for morons. -- E.W. Dijkstra

Working...