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[liberationtech] Tahrir

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at appelbaum.net
Sat Dec 24 21:50:38 PST 2011


On 12/24/2011 09:22 PM, Ian Clarke wrote:
> Hi all, just wanted to introduce myself, and share a bit more about Tahrir,
> which I believe has been discussed here recently.
> 
> I'm the founder and coordinator of the Freenet project, perhaps the
> earliest P2P anti-censorship technology, the first version being released
> in March 2000.  Freenet has been under active development ever since,
> employing one full-time developer for much of the decade since we began.
>  In a recent survey<http://freedomhouse.org/images/File/special_reports/LOtF_China.pdf>of
> Chinese anti-censorship tool users, Freenet came out on top, so it
> seems
> the project is still very relevant today.

Hi Ian,

I think the work you're doing on Tahrir is quite interesting and I'll
comment on that in another email.

On the subject of that specific FH report, I'd ask you to consider
reading this:
http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2011/04/14/over-the-firewall-and-into-the-fire/

FH never responded to my critique but the original author of the
documents did so in the comments. It's pretty rich and I hope you'll
enjoy his commentary as much as I did:


===

"Thanks for your posting and to open the debate about the report and to
give me the opportunity to add a few more facts.

I was asked to conduct the technical testing of those tools more than a
year ago and I am puzzled how some “close source” tools received such
good grading after my comments.

I always hesitated to rate the tools because many of them can not be
compared… after all how you can compare an open source project with a
black box or Google with Tor? The result of the final rating deserves no
further comments.

It is a fact that if security and privacy were properly considered in
the rating, the tools will be classified in a completely different way.

One lesson I have learned during this process is that it seems clear
that privacy is not as relevant as we might think, not even for those
that take the real risks. It is much easier to train people to use
social networks that to warn them about the risks of not using existing
technology to protect themselves.

All in all, circumvention is not privacy and not because of Tor."

===

In short, Freedom House's endorsement of a tool is not exactly the gold
standard. It might even be the opposite of the gold standard. Who knows
- they're not really up for much of a discussion nor do they seem to
base their reports on actual facts.

All the best,
Jacb



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