Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Censorship The Internet United States Government News

US Tests System To Evade Foreign Web Censorship 219

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This discussion has been archived.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:
  • 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 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 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 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 A. B3ttik ( 1344591 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:25AM (#29064047)

    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 master_p ( 608214 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:28AM (#29064061)

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

  • Not helpful. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:57AM (#29064327)

    In the meantime, everyone in those countries will continue to use Tor, I2P, and hacked proxy servers.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by daem0n1x ( 748565 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @09:45AM (#29064809)
    Citizens in Iran and China are tired of the official, government approved information. Now they can also access official, US government approved information. Cool.
  • by gtbritishskull ( 1435843 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @09:45AM (#29064813)
    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.
  • Re:Symmetry ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by daem0n1x ( 748565 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @09:56AM (#29064905)
    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.
  • 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?


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

  • 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.
  • with other freedoms

    this is simply a logical consequence of free choice, not any aspect of any government. in complete anarchy, no government at all, your freedoms are constantly limited and put in jeopardy by the actions of others. much of what people call government removing citizen's freedoms is actually governments deciding between the validity of two types of freedoms that exist in natural tension

    for example, your freedom to sleep, my freedom to blast the stereo at 3 am

    your freedom to live, my freedom to drive 100 mph

    here's another one: a child's freedom not to be abused, a pedophile's freedom to look at naked children

    the open trading of pictures of naked children creates a market of consumption and creation. you cannot divorce the viewing of pictures of naked children from someone somewhere putting a child in sexual poses to create those pictures. those who demand such pictures are culpable for their creation by creating a market for the pictures to exist

    therefore, the most liberal, most open minded, most freedom-obsessed society imaginable will still have to decide on rules about the tension between freedoms, and decide upon a policy. such that even the most censorship phobic society will come down in favor of censorship, in some small scenarios, in the name of maximizing the freedom of its citizens

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.