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[liberationtech] Tahrir

Jillian C. York jilliancyork at
Sat Dec 24 23:15:40 PST 2011

For an extra bit of background on the FH report (+100 to Jake's, this one's
a bit less technical):

On Sat, Dec 24, 2011 at 9:50 PM, Jacob Appelbaum <jacob at>wrote:

> 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<
> > 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:
> 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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-- | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244 | google voice:
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