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Censorship China Networking Open Source Software

Knocking Down the Great Firewall of China 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the crumbling-from-a-million-tiny-cracks dept.
New submitter Nocturrne writes: The FOSS project Lantern is having great success in unblocking the internet for many users in oppressive regimes, like China and Iran. Much like Tor and BitTorrent, Lantern is using peer-to-peer networking to overcome firewalls, but with the additional security of a trusted network of friends. "If you download Lantern in an uncensored region, you can connect with someone in a censored region, who can then access whatever content they want through you. What makes the system so unique is that it operates on the basis of trust. ... Through a process called consistent routing, the amount of information any single Lantern user can learn about other users is limited to a small subset, making infiltration significantly more difficult." The network of peers is growing, but we need more friends in uncensored countries to join us.
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Knocking Down the Great Firewall of China

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  • You can't see a lantern from far away. They could have chosen a better name, such as Lighthouse.

  • When will someone make a proxy-style program so that we can bypass our small monthly caps?

    • Proxying actually increases bandwidth under a cap... what you actually want is somebody else to run a wire to the Internet for you.

    • by tepples (727027)
      Step 1: Vote out each city government that puts up entry barriers against competitive ISPs.
      • by Smallpond (221300)

        When you have multiple cables running to neighborhoods the number of downed lines and mysterious cable cuts increases dramatically.

    • by reikae (80981)

      Aren't they already trivially bypassable with money?

  • Yesterday, Slashdot ran this story [slashdot.org] about China moving data inside the borders, and therefore presumably inside the firewall... it seems like they could turn the firewall off if they have everything they want there already.

  • Can anyone explain how this should make anything more secure? I do live in a country where there is internet censorship done by an ISP or anything yet, I would like to provide access through my connection but I cannot do that without signing up for an account with Google? Hmm...
    • No. Nobody can explain that because that is not the purpose of the tool. It allows people within China to bypass the "Great Firewall" that the Chinese Government has put in place. They can access a lot more content using this tool, not the same content more securely.
      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        No. Nobody can explain that because that is not the purpose of the tool....They can access a lot more content using this tool, not the same content more securely.

        Incorrect. It does improves security by building a web of trust that makes infiltration by an opponent more difficult. It also improves security by compartmentalizing connection and peer information so that if a opponent does infiltrate the system, the amount of information that they can obtain about other participants is drastically reduced compared to other systems..

        "In order for a censor to discover the IP addresses of your computer, they'd have to somehow convince you that they're a friend." Fisk explained. "It uses these real-world trust relationships to protect the IP addresses of these proxies because when you run Lantern in the uncensored world, you are a proxy.

        Through a process called consistent routing, the amount of information any single Lantern user can learn about other users is limited to a small subset, making infiltration significantly more difficult.

        • First of all, I did't notice that the IOP didn't include the whole question in his post. That being said, it is a VPN. I didn't realize his question was: How is having a VPN more secure than not having a VPN. If I had, I would have told him to use the very service he is complaining about.
    • I've talked with the developers before at conferences. They were (and probably still are...) using google contacts and messaging for the initial handshake in establishing connections. That may change in future.

      They also weren't doing any kind of onion routing. So if they get big enough to be noticed, passive network monitoring may reveal the very social graph that lantern depends on.

  • ... this? Just no.

    Peer-to-peer based on trust.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    • LimeWire's problem was that it never had legal content... there was nobody willing to pay the content providers, just downloaders taking what they could. Without a good "that's my content, pull it down" system, it's not legal and the authorities will pull it down.

      • Limewire's legal and economic woes were a .01% concern to IT peeps.

        It was a "virus by permission."

        We who had to deal with its existence pulled a lot of computers out of the ditches and blocked it (and all P-2-P) at the firewalls.

        When I saw the word "trust," in TFA, I just about peed down both legs.

  • Lantern has a crowd funding project running on Indiegogo:

    https://www.indiegogo.com/proj... [indiegogo.com]

    Bert

  • What makes the system so unique is that it operates on the basis of trust.

    It does sound like a unique privacy system, if it is based on trust.

  • Assuming you ran that program, would you feel safe running it on your actual computer on your actual network?

    I wouldn't. Its basically a free for all VPN that you throw on your machine. Anyone could use that thing. yeah, people in repressive regimes trying to be free. Also terrorists and pedophiles.

    And lets not forget hackers that want to exploit your good will to gain access to your system.

    Now lets assume you really want to help so you're going to run this thing. What sort of precautions would you have to

  • If you download Lantern in an uncensored region, you can connect with someone in a censored region, who can then access whatever content they want through you. What makes the system so unique is that it operates on the basis of trust. ...the amount of information any single Lantern user can learn about other users is limited to a small subset, making infiltration significantly more difficult.

    Outside of the geek's virtual worlds and ways of thinking ---

    The more you know about someone, the more you are willing to trust them. Particularly when the stakes are high.

    • can I use this to access content my BRITISH ISP has had to block because of court orders from American media companies?
  • Where's the source code for the FOSS project? The license is GPLV3.

  • by AgNO3 (878843)
    What stops the chinese from seeing the pattern and then arresting people or just cracking the system.
  • I am a Chinese who studies China for a living, and it is becoming more and more apparent to many people, that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) knows it is on its last straw of survival.

    The party is facing severe and increasing systematic stress on all fronts:

    1. Increasing external oppositions from all other countries in the world, forming more and more alliances and becoming more outspoken with rising strengths against China, as well as increasing anti-China sentiment from people in all other countr

    • by WoOS (28173)

      If you really are Chinese, I think you are deluding yourself. Why? Simply because what you write and how you write it sounds like propaganda. Some things might be true, but you make it sound the Chinese government is about to fall in a few months. I would guess even in a worst case scenario (for them) they will hold out for years to come given the fact they have a garnered a lot of public goodwill (within China) with their improvement of the economics.

      Don't fall for the propaganda of the Chinese government

  • This software requires you to have a GMail-account and it uses Google's XMPP-servers for communication. This makes it a no-go for me.

(1) Never draw what you can copy. (2) Never copy what you can trace. (3) Never trace what you can cut out and paste down.

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