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Censorship Encryption The Internet

Getting Around Web Censors With Flickr 81

Posted by timothy
from the until-they-block-flickr dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Life is about to become more difficult for countries trying to censor access to foreign websites. A system dubbed Collage will allow users in these countries to download stories from blocked sites while visiting seemingly uncontroversial sites such as Flickr." For visual learners: this earlier story at GigaOM explains the system with a diagram.
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Getting Around Web Censors With Flickr

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  • Re:bottleneck? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by idiot900 (166952) * on Sunday August 15, 2010 @10:33AM (#33256954)

    A system like this could presumably work through any site that hosts user-generated content. A repressive government would have to ban every service that doesn't allow them to tie each message to a real person. So they would have to block all of the Internet originating in the western world. Even for a place like China that would be pretty untenable.

  • by xiando (770382) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @01:55PM (#33257932) Homepage Journal
    If Alice creates the anti-government document and wants Bob to read it then she is probably fine with embedding the picture in a picture which is then uploaded to any of the thousands of sites who allow people to read it if she already has some pre-arranged agreement with Bob regarding where the picture will be uploaded. However..

    If Alice wants to publish the anti-government document document and she wants thousands+ to read it then just how would she go about getting the masses to read this using the hide-in-image option? eh?

    There are already so many ways Alice can give a secret message to Bob and most of them do not involve computer technology.

    This just seems dumb if Alice wants to publish something and she wants the masses to read it. China and Norway do not torture people for reading the wrong thing on the Internet, they torture people who publish something they don't like (such as information about NATOs false-flag terror operations).

    Tor (torproject.org) still works in China as long as you use bridges and Tor works just fine with or without bridges in Norway. Publishers who want readership beyond their four hundred close friends are likely better off publishing their text using the Tor technology and those who have censored Internet access are also likely better off using Tor.
  • by WhitetailKitten (866108) on Sunday August 15, 2010 @02:57PM (#33258264)
    Pardon me for being the pedant and only addressing your last sentence, not your overall point that NK has little to do with China's censorship situation, but I need to say: Well, theoretical perfect censorship. If I can see user-generated text of any kind, I can sneak encypted data out of it past anything North Korea can throw at me (assuming that the text was seeded with data encrypted by a pre-agreed cipher). Even if I'm being directly supervised by some grunt with a semi-automatic breathing over my shoulder, if I've agreed that a certain piece of otherwise-arbitrary and innocuous text has a certain meaning, observing whether the text is in the appropriate place of the plaintext will convey information. If I'm only allowed to read it and not take any permanent form of notes, the amount of info that can be conveyed might be limited, but you can train yourself to store a reasonably good bit of info over short periods of time.

    Alternatively, imagine a one-time pad for use with a ciphertext that's slow-mosey'd into form by being all of the numbers, in order, in an otherwise-innocent business or weather article, or a span of them? Admittedly, this assumes the ability to insert arbitrary numbers into what's normally the realm of journalism or meteorology and to have the pages be available on an uncensored host, and have the appearances of these articles be agreed upon and prepared long enough in advance (potentially years), but it's not impossible if your reasons for sending a message is important enough.

    This does all hinge on the ability to see the ciphertext in the first place. Alternatively, you could just end up shipped to a famine zone for $[THOUGHTCRIME] to sort everything out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @06:06AM (#33262088)

    China is not currently blocking Flickr - I am in south east China and have Flickr open in a another tab - it is blocked occasionally but the delays involved in connecting to accounts are not that significant - evidence of this is the large number of Chinese Flickr users and the availability of Chinese Flickr streams. Facebook is blocked - but any number of proxies can assist there.

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