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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 Trimaxion ( 2933647 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:54PM (#45206199)

    I'd like to see Google make an effort to build GPG into their product and make it easy for people to use.

    If anyone can do it, it's Google, but they won't. It's hard to deliver targeted advertising when you can't read your users' email.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @04:58PM (#45206245) Homepage Journal

    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.

    I want no part of "Google freedom". Their self driving cars? If these are the norm, they'll know where you are - all the time - and be queriable for your violations of speed limits and other "indiscretions".

    If you trust them for VPN? How are keys generated? Who is the root of trust? This is your real question.

    This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley, as personified by Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Mr. Cohen, a former adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now director of Google Ideas.

    -- Julian Assange, The Banality of 'Don't Be Evil" []

    I'm with Admiral Ackbar, on this one:
    "IT'S A TRAP!"

  • Re:False. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @05:17PM (#45206441) Homepage Journal

    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..."

    Did you miss the articles about the NSA's penetration of Tor? Why would you want to use their service? Google's solution is much better: route your traffic through the machines of people you know personally, or at least friends of friends, etc.

    Note that I'm not saying Google's failure to work through Tor is because they think Tor is a bad idea. It's much simpler: Tor outlet nodes are indistinguishable from clickbots. uProxy nodes that have too many users will have the same issue, but the idea is that uProxy makes the barrier to entry low enough that the traffic will be more distributed.

    (Disclaimer: I work for Google, but not on search, uProxy, or anything else discussed here. I do think uProxy is a cool and clever hack, though, and I applaud Google for supporting it.)

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost