How can we help people less free to communicate with the outside world

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Discussion by: sbooder

I was made to realise yesterday how spoiled for choice we are in accessing this type of site and video in freer countries.

I noticed a tweet from someone called @RationalSaudi who said that
it was frustrating having to find a new VPN every time they wanted to
view the new Jesus & Mo cartoon.

So I sent him my site (as I publish the new cartoons as soon as they
come out). They replied to thank me, and I, sometime later, tweeted
back to say it was OK, and also wanted to follow them, but their account
was suspended on twitter.

It made me think how fragile a connection to the outside world they have.

Shame!

How can we help people in this situation get better access to free thinking sites worldwide?

10 COMMENTS

  1. Learn computer science and work on solutions to overcome security measures ensuring that you distribute wide and free. Ironic that such technology would likely be very useful to rip off the music industry etc also but I’d maintain well worth the sacrifice for the potential benefits.

  2. Tor

    It was a large part of the Egyptian revolution. Not my skill-set, but when explained to me I could understand it is veritably impossible to trace someone on Tor, even more difficult than DDOSing Google.

  3. True.
    However from what I have read it is important to stay within the “darknet” while using TOR in order to remain anonymous. Accessing the www via TOR leaves one open to being traced. This appears to mean that only .onion addresses are relatively safe while all normal internet addresses (ending in .com etc) can be traced even when using TOR. Read more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Onion_Router

    Al

    In reply to #2 by This Is Not A Meme:

    Tor

    It was a large part of the Egyptian revolution. Not my skill-set, but when explained to me I could understand it is veritably impossible to trace someone on Tor, even more difficult than DDOSing Google.

  4. The only reasonably usable tool for these people is software called Tor, found at http://www.torproject.org, usually in the form of “Tor Browser”, which is a modified version of Firefox designed to run through an anonymous connection.

    Someone mentioned a VPN above. The way a VPN works is by changing your internet connection so that, instead of going straight from your computer to say… Facebook’s servers… It goes from your computer to a “VPN server (someone else’s computer, a middle man)”, THEN Facebook, and the same for the return trip. In this situation, Facebook will see the location/time/etc of the middle man, but not the original connector. This is not safe for people in totalitarian states, or in any situation where the attacker (governments, usually) has enough time to deal with the middle man to find out where the original connection came from (not difficult). People can lose their lives in the right situation.

    Tor (via Tor Browser, usually), allows you open up a browser and start browsing (with a little speed reduction), but instead of just using a middle man to protect you, it has 3 ‘hops’ in between. That, in itself, would still be unsafe because you could follow the chain back to the original connection still, if you had the time and energy. That is why Tor uses layers of encryption, so that the first ‘hop’ away from your computer knows where you are and such… But the 2nd hop does not know that information or anything about you, and the 3rd hop knows nothing of the first hop or anything about it… Then the 3rd and last hop, the ‘exit node’, connects normally to the ultimate destination, your website of choice, just like a normal computer does in the open.

    The Tor people would hate that I’ve been using Facebook as the example, because people in repressed countries should stay away from putting their info into those kind of sites, or even browsing them at all, even with Tor.

    Please be aware that although Tor’s ultimate end user is someone in a repressive country, potentially a journalist, activist, educator, etc… That it’s completely reasonable and desired that people in freer countries use it as well.

    Right now I believe that Tor’s largest user groups, besides free-ish countries, are in Iran and China.

    I highly recommend you educate yourself on how to use Tor Browser (super easy, free), and maybe Tails too (an operating system, Debian, that has been modified and intended to be carried around on a USB stick that you boot your computer from, giving you a safe and anonymous portable computing experience using Tor and other software).

    Tor Browser
    https://www.torproject.org/

    Who Uses Tor? Why?
    https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en

    Tor Browser
    https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en

    Tor FAQ
    https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq.html.en

    Tails (Tor on a portable USB stick operating system, more than just internet)
    https://tails.boum.org/

  5. I have been based in China for well over 11 years now.

    Most of us simply use a VPN. There are quite a few services on the internet now. I use two services and they point to servers in 32 different countries and all are invisible to the powers that be.

    I must say I was happy when this new site was created because the old Dawkins site was blocked from here.

  6. Well, it’s a pity we haven’t had more comments on this thread. I’m too old to understand how software like Tor works. I also know there are many Virtual Private Networks and how they work is also a mystery.

    It seems that we need to set up a charity or not for profit company to advise people like @RationalSaudi. But, of course, the charity itself would be subject to attack and blocking.

    I’m not clever enough to work all this out, but I’m sure lots of people are.

    The internet has been the greatest gift to humankind ever. We absolutely must keep it open and free from censorship.

  7. In reply to #9 by GPWC:

    Well, it’s a pity we haven’t had more comments on this thread. I’m too old to understand how software like Tor works. I also know there are many Virtual Private Networks and how they work is also a mystery.

    It seems that we need to set up a charity or not for profit company to advise people like @RationalSaudi. But, of course, the charity itself would be subject to attack and blocking.

    I’m not clever enough to work all this out, but I’m sure lots of people are.

    The internet has been the greatest gift to humankind ever. We absolutely must keep it open and free from censorship.

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