Internet Censorship in Authoritarian Countries

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sascha
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Joined: 02/10/2013

A friend of mine lives in a country where he has to go on the internet through a VPN that censors what he can look at and what not. His email is spied on, his chat messages are spied on. Using encryption is a criminal offense. Downloading Tor is impossible, the Download Mirrors are blocked.

Does anyone have an idea how that man could surf the internet?

Chris

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Joined: 04/23/2011

https://www.torproject.org/projects/obfsproxy.html.en#download

He will probably still be able to use Tor. However he needs the Obfsproxy Tor Browser Bundle. You might want to download this, add some files, and then zip it with a password. Upload it to a site he can access and send him a link. Make it so the zip file is of a name like pictures.zip and it isn't obvious to censors. Then give him a password by some other means (phone). You should probably not be too explicit on the phone about anything in case his government is listening. Once he has it you can delete the file from the server he has downloaded it from. If anybody wanted to investigate later it would be more difficult (they would have to seize/search his computer). The bundle includes some pre-configured obfsproxy bridges and you can get more bridges from BridgeDB. I'd probably give him more bridges in the future as he needs them over the phone if at all possible. That way it is less likely he will be detected / become targeted/noticed by the government. The bridges can't be easily blocked as they are different for different users. When I download this package I get one set of bridges. When the government downloads it they get a different set of bridges. In the normal tor version there are no bridges and thus Tor can be easily blocked. In this version that isn't the case. So as long as you can get him this version he can probably bypass the censorship.

If you can't access the link above let me know. I can upload this file to a server for you. I'll do it somewhere that isn't likely to be blocked (like thinkpenguin.com/files/xxxx.zip) or elsewhere.

Fernando_Negro
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Joined: 06/17/2012

Yes.

Your friend should go back to the Time Machine and return to the Present.

The "cyber 9/11 event", that has been talked about for years - and that will give our Western governments the excuse to implement[1] all that - is very close[2] to happening.

So, he shouldn't be that far into the Future and, subsequently, will not miss that much.

---
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yp8o2TTee0
2. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57565763-83/cyber-9-11-may-be-on-horizon-homeland-security-chief-warns/

Fernando_Negro
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Joined: 06/17/2012

Speaking seriously...

The solution does not lie in the domain of computers. The way for your friend to freely access the Internet is to change the political regime he's living on.

We should not try to hide from, or evade, Big Brother. We should take it out of the equation.

Organize and Fight.

Or, alternatively, *do nothing* and be (even more) enslaved...

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

Organize and Fight.

And to organize you need... Internet! Back to Tor (which should not be got through a personal and non-encrypted Internet connection in a country where Internet is under surveillance!).

I guess Telecomix can help (again, do not access this Web page without Tor in from a country where Internet is under surveillance!).

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

If you're under an oppressive regime, it's not always possible to fight. As an example, in North Korea, just farting the wrong way or failing to recognize the country as a "democratic people's republic" will get you killed. Hell, a guy caught celebrating Kim Jong-Il's death was executed with artillery, I heard.

If you're in an oppressive regime with a lot of power, trying to fight back at the wrong moment will just get you killed, and that won't help anyone. You need to organize, but you can't let the oppressive regime know, which means you have to organize while staying hidden and only reveal yourselves when the time is right.

Mr. Boat
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Joined: 01/13/2013

Well, this is a sad stuff to read about, but we should worry also about our privacy.

Yeah, suposely, we have free speech, but Internet isn't the liberty world media talks about. And I am not talking about 11/S-post laws only, which made up the USA in a paranoia state, as in cold war. Here in Europe we are also having the same problems, politicians on EU talks about privacy and security on the internet, but in their country are aplying control methods.

For example, anti-piracy law on France, wich controls the users movements. Or the special internest in goverments to control the social networks (censorship law on Twitter). For last instance, the whole "social" and "free" networks, they are not free, as Google search, you pay them, a lot.

So, well, authoritarians regimes should fall, but we have a lot of work to do about our freedom rights on the internet.

I would not have any problem about tools like TOR, if it wasn't about all that deepweb creepy stuff. For now, I use a lot of anti-tracker and pro-privacy extensions on my web explorer. I am tackeable, but at least, not as trackeable as a sixteen year old teen that surfs the internet with his facebook, google+, and a lot more of sessions open.

PS: By the way, some of you may notice my e-mail is a gmail one, wich would make me a little hypocrite. I should have moved up all my accounts to my new one, but my laziness... agh, so lazy to continue writing.

Jodiendo
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Joined: 01/09/2013

According to wiki, here is a list of countries.

Enemies of the Internet

Bahrain
Belarus
Burma
China
Cuba
Iran
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
Syria
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Vietnam

Countries Under Surveillance

Australia
Egypt
Eritrea
France
India
Kazakhstan
Malaysia
Russia
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Thailand
Tunisia
Turkey
United Arab Emirates

Internet_Censorship_World_Map.svg_.png
andrew
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Joined: 04/19/2012

The US should be on there IMHO. They're building a database that can handle trillions of terabytes of data[1] and they impose laws and trade agreements upon other countries like DMCA-type laws, TPP, ACTA, etc.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

Chris

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There are a lot of other countries I'd add to this list. Canada, the UK, and a large part of Europe all have systems that censor users. Lists of censored sites have been leaked for some countries (Australia I believe) and there are political sites on these lists.

Canada is an interesting country because its not government mandated and I believe some of the smaller ISPs don't implement the filtering. However a lot of these systems subscribe to a list which is used all over the world by governments so there very likely could be sites banned by Australia that can't be accessed by Canadian citizens. These are not public lists. And for Canada all this despite there being no law in Canada requiring the censorship.

In Canada all of the major ISPs were pressured into implementing filtering technology by minor and vocal political groups (I believe it is / was right wing religious groups posing it as a family thing / children / etc). They can't get gay materials / sites banned so they hit the next best thing which could be framed to spark outrage. It is this same critical group doing the pressuring. I believe the core people here are Americans rather than Canadian/Australian/European.

However Europe isn't standing up to the censorship either and pushes it in other areas. Australia, Europe, and Canada all have laws which ban certain political ideology? For instance Nazi memorabilia (or something similar) is banned. As is denying the holocaust.

Fernando_Negro
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Joined: 06/17/2012

As for the "Countries Under Surveillance" list, I would put Portugal and all the rest of the European and other Western countries on that list.

We are all under (heavy)[1] surveillance[2] in the West.

And, if you doubt it, try doing anything political.

Concerning "Tor", I urge you all to take a look[3] at what I've written about it, in here, already.

(If you're trying to evade surveillance on some small country that is not actually a US/UK protectorate, then it might be of some use. But, if you're trying to hide from our Big Brother in the West, forget about it.)

---
1. http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?pid=230234#p230234
2. http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=101456.msg603918#msg603918
3. https://trisquel.info/en/forum/how-use-tor-trisquel#comment-26792
---

P.S. - The comment form in here used to explain how to add code to our comments - but I can't find that reference below the text window any more. How can I know, for example, how to add hyperlinks in here?

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

Answer to the PS: you can use some HTML elements. For a link: the anchor.

sascha
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Joined: 02/10/2013

Thank you so much! Wonderful of you to help us out there, especially chris, thanks for your advice.

I'm afraid the list of countries enemy to the internet doesn't end there...the country concerned is not on it and he would risk the death penalty or being maimed in public if something got out...

SalmanMohammadi
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Joined: 02/23/2012

@Sascha are you serious about your last post?
I am living in Iran and the government has blocked access to some websites (Facebook, twitter, youtube, BBC, blogger.com (blogspot), wordpress.com, ThePirateBay, etc) but we can easily download TOR and use it, and using TOR is not a criminal action.

Chris

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Joined: 04/23/2011

The United States indirectly murders people for political actions. The problem is few would ever see it as political action. Its done by putting people in harms way. Then when the murders occur people cheer. It's really disgusting. The problem is the media frames things and society has been convinced of the dangers. Not every person though is “dangerous”, but this is what we are led to believe.

Jodiendo
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Joined: 01/09/2013

You need to ask the central american and south american people how many love ones they have lost due to our precious manifest of supporting governments that eventually turn out to be dictators during the cold war era.

Interesting comment.....You ever wonder why we are so unpopular in the world today? Lets look at our history of interference of other countries affairs all in the name of democracy...

A list of countries
Mexico
Guatemala
Honduras
San Salvador
Nicaragua
panama
and the list keeps growing,

starchild
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Joined: 09/14/2011

Actually it is, it's just not enforceable.

Mr. Boat
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Joined: 01/13/2013

Hey Salman, months ago I readed about Iran trying to create an intranet. So anyone could access to outside information, but you are here, it was a fake new?

Chris

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Joined: 04/23/2011

It is more likely that the implimentation was more difficult than they could have ever imagined. Chances are the forces behind this are still at it.

The United States takes action to censor at a different level (with greater resources) and these countries are basically trying to duplicate it with fewer resources.

The United States can easily go out and have banks censor financial transactions for instance to prevent unwanted political groups from forming, copyright infringement from happening, or gambling sites from being utilized by its citizens.

All of this is a type of censorship.

These are just a few examples.

SalmanMohammadi
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Joined: 02/23/2012

Thanks @Chris for the info.
@Mr. Boat, It's currently established but not completely, and its name could be translated to "National Intranet of Iran". The government says: "It is not a substitution of Internet, it works alongside the Internet". They say for example that by restricting access of some important databases and sites from the outside of the National Inranet, we can lessen the attacks to them (StuxNet, Flame, etc were especifically attacking Iran) and reduce the costs imposed to the government.

starchild
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Joined: 09/14/2011

Systems with high security requirements shouldn't even be connected to a wide area network let alone the Internet.

Jodiendo
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Joined: 01/09/2013

During the last summer Olympics there was a lot of censorship going on the web, because BBC own the transmission rights of the games not every one world widw was able to watch the live Summer Olympic games.

Yet, the news was slow and the events were broadcast a day later in my location.

For 5 monthly dollars, I was able to VPN encrypted, through the BBC firewall. My Ip address was routed, as I was in England via the VPN host local IP address. I was able to watch and enjoy the games live in my PC with no issues. Yet the cable companies had the same problems.

In the other hands, some US web sites are censor to foreign nation viewers, to beat this around, you could use VPN...

I still use tunnel bear.....

G4JC
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Joined: 03/11/2012

He could try to use this to communicate -
https://freenetproject.org/whatis.html

The best part is he could pass around the binary and directly connect in a fairly safe manner to friends.