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[liberationtech] Haystack Q&A

Gabe Gossett Gabe.Gossett at
Mon Aug 23 22:47:00 PDT 2010

Hi Austin,  

Thanks for taking the time to join this list and answer our questions.  I appreciate the time you took to speak with me personally last week and clear up the OFAC question.  I was too hasty in drawing conclusions from the incomplete information I had access to at the time.

One thing that I, and probably others on the list, would like to know more about is how Haystack will be marketed to users in Iran.  Will the roll out include disclaimers about the risks users might encounter while using the software?  Will it include any assurances of the level of security users can expect?  Does part of the roll out include testing inside of Iran?  What steps will/can the Censorship Research Center take in order ensure Haystack is performing as intended?

Also, I think that this list might be a good place to let people interested in helping the project out know what they can do.

No doubt there might be some differences in opinion, but I think we can all agree that we are basically on the same side.  I look forward to a civil, productive, conversation as well.


From: liberationtech-bounces at [liberationtech-bounces at] On Behalf Of Austin Heap [me at]
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2010 5:27 PM
To: liberationtech at
Subject: [liberationtech] Haystack Q&A

Hi All,

I understand some of you have concerns/comments regarding our project.

It would be great if a list could be compiled of 1) tech concerns and 2) other concerns since it's a bit much for me to dig through all the past discussions.

I understand the OFAC questions are mostly cleared up. There was one comment about the month delay between Hillarys comment about our organization and our announcement. We, as an organization, were under zero obligation to make the license public, but wanted to let people know we were moving forward with project hurdles. OFAC/State left the decision in our hands to disclose the license or not. These licenses are generally not made public because, let's face it, it would be stupid on their behalf to out the people they're licensing in many cases.

I completely understand that the lack of transparency is frustrating to some. As many of you know, some of the issues we're dealing with here at Haystack are rather sensitive so we prefer to be overly cautious for the moment. Also, if we answered everyone's demanding emails, we'd get nothing done. We're a small team and just trying to do things right. So we're grateful for the expert mentor-ship we have thus far received.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing from many of you and I look forward to a constructive, mature conversation. I'll be as transparent as our organization has decided to be, and I trust that will be respected.

For those individual(s) on this list who have a history of being confrontational in order to grab attention, I won't be responding to your emails. Grow up.

Thanks all, I hope to learn much from all your experiences and hope to make our project as best as it can be with your insights,

All bests,

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