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[liberationtech] Circumvention tools report / Update

Robert Guerra rguerra at privaterra.org
Tue Dec 27 13:28:16 PST 2011


Jake & Jillian,


Though I am no longer at Freedom House, I do recall a follow-up circumvention tools report being commissioned and  finalized in October to address many of the comments you both and others published. The report should have been published by now. 

The updated report adds three additional survey countries, updates the technical methodology and testing, and provides a more nuanced analysis that was not available when then the 1st report was published. 

I'll cc' the report authors to check on the status of the report and see if they can share the final version they handed to Freedom House to the list..


regards

Robert


--
R. Guerra
Phone/Cell: +1 202-905-2081
Twitter: twitter.com/netfreedom 
Email: rguerra at privaterra.org

On 2011-12-25, at 2:15 AM, Jillian C. York wrote:

> For an extra bit of background on the FH report (+100 to Jake's, this one's a bit less technical): https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/05/how-read-freedom-houses-censorship-circumvention
> 
> On Sat, Dec 24, 2011 at 9:50 PM, Jacob Appelbaum <jacob at appelbaum.net> 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<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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> 
> -- 
> jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244 | google voice: +1-415-562-JILL
> 
> 
> 
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