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Privacy Google Networking The Internet

Google Wants To Help You Tiptoe Around the NSA & the Great Firewall of China 140

Kyle Jacoby writes "The NSA was right when it postulated that the mere knowledge of the existence of their program could weaken its ability to function. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which serve to mask the source and destination of data by routing it through a third-party server, have been a popular method for maintaining internet anonymity for the paranoid and prudent. However, the all-but-silent fall of secure email server Lavabit, and VPN provider CryptoSeal, have shown us just how pervasive the government's eye on our communications is. These companies chose to fold rather than to divulge customer data entrusted to them, which raises the million-dollar question: how many have chosen to remain open and silently hand over the keys to your data? Google has decided to put the private back in VPN by supporting uProxy, a project developed at the University of Washington with help from Brave New Software. Still using a VPN schema, their aim is to keep the VPN amongst friends (literally). Of course, you'll need a friend who is willing to let you route your net through their tubes. Their simple integration into Firefox and Chrome will lower the barrier, creating a decentralized VPN architecture that would make sweeping pen register orders more difficult, and would also make blocking VPNs a rather difficult task for countries like China, who block citizens' access to numerous websites. On a related note, when will the public finally demand that communications which pass encrypted through a third party still retain an reasonable expectation of privacy (rendering them pen register order-resistant)?"
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Google Wants To Help You Tiptoe Around the NSA & the Great Firewall of China

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  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:08PM (#45205573)

    Google has decided to put the private back in VPN by supporting uProxy,

    Even if they don't plan to install a backdoor, it is hard to believe in Google's interest in our privacy.
    Who supported privacy measures before Snowden's revelations?

  • Re:Captain Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:11PM (#45205619)

    This is known. That is why the penalty for espionage tends to be capital punishment or life imprisonment.

    Your PINs are protected by "security through obscurity," by the way. Your health records, school records, and tax records are protected in the same way as the secrets that Snowden stole.

    By the way, the phrase "security through obscurity" is a reference to encryption schemes that rely upon the algorithm not being known for its protective value, not to the general idea of keeping secrets.

  • So In Other Words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:11PM (#45205627)

    uProxy has been compromised and should not be trusted.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:16PM (#45205711)

    I don't get what's so nice about it, the NSA already knows who I am friends with. So no matter how we route traffic in our min-TOR, all exits identify us. The whole point of VPNs, TOR etc. is to hide within massive noise.

  • False. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:19PM (#45205747)

    No, if Google actually wanted that, they'd make their search engine work with Tor instead of saying "I'm sorry, but we're recieving a high volume of suspicious requests from your computer..." with a picture of a robot giving you the middle finger next to it. What Google wants is for you to use their service, and if that means pandering to the "NSA is evil" crowd, they'll make trivial gestures about privacy to attract them.

    But Google is in bed with the NSA, CIA, DHS, etc., as is all other large corporations because if you don't play ball with them, you don't get to play. At all. No PR is going to convince me otherwise, and you would be wise to do the same.

  • Trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:30PM (#45205895) Homepage Journal

    "Trust me," said the fox to the hen, "You can keep your eggs in my basket and I'll make sure the other foxes don't eat them."

  • by Kyle Jacoby ( 2973265 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:32PM (#45205911)
    OpenVPN (and therefore probably this solution) can be configured to appear as though it's normal SSL traffic (like you're visiting an https web URL). It's one of the things that makes OpenVPN so great, and hard to block.
  • by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:49PM (#45206135)
    Googles intentions are irrelevant. The moment the NSA shows up with a general warrant (NSL) they will fold and give away everything. And that includes back-dooring the VPN software.

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