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[liberationtech] Haystack Q&A

Leila Zia leilaz at
Fri Aug 27 11:57:07 PDT 2010

Hi all,

  My first e-mail to Austin went only to him and not the list. as a result,
his reply to me came only to me, not the list. I am sending you all the
reply since couple of you asked. Sorry about the confusion and the delay. I
was away from internet for couple of days.


Austin's reply:
Haystack is *not* available for wide spread distribution in the slightest.
We work with a hand-picked (and friend-of-friend,
friend-of-friend-of-friend) network of Iran-focused activist groups --
generally people one of the members of our team know or trust in real life.
If we were to post Haystack online right now, our network would be crushed
with demand.

Being an all volunteer organization and still having to pay for our
bandwidth, fundraise, etc makes it very difficult to meet the huge demand
there is for anti-censorship software in Iran.

Additionally, our network is locked down to only accept connections from the
IP blocks registered to Iran. That way, if a copy gets out, our resources
won't be drained by those in other countries looking to mask their
activities online.

On Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 10:34 PM, Leila Zia <leila.zia at> wrote:

> Hi Austin,
>    Good to have you on board. I'll start with the first question. where can
> we download the software?
> Best,
> Leila
> On Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 5:27 PM, Austin Heap <me at> wrote:
>> 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,
>>  Austin
>> _______________________________________________
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>> liberationtech at
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