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[liberationtech] Please help us promote Tor and online anonymity

Fouad Bajwa fouadbajwa at gmail.com
Fri Jun 17 12:40:33 PDT 2011


Interesting discussion from a lens alien to many of the issues in our
part of the world. Usually the China interest is always an aid for
marketing and promoting something but its okay here since the issue
under discussion is ToR but as shared by another colleague, ToR is
already being used in different ways for anonymous activity online in
communications, policy advocacy and freedom of expression.
Stereotyping things because we are under threat from unaware policy
makers, regimes etc is one thing but what we are really under threat
is the propaganda that is generated by various institutions in the
developed regions in name of the challenges we are facing.

ToR is an amazing piece of network software that helps us access the
Internet in times of filtering, blocking and censorship but its not an
easy solution and the checks that various websites have put in place
such as which computer are we logging from, please identify your
computer etc would take so much time that one would just drop the
whole idea. There is a bridging that needs yet to be done. I'll add
more to this debate but am switching between airports at the moment
catching flights to a summer school in eu.

Best

Fouad

On Sat, May 28, 2011 at 3:51 AM, Larry Diamond <ldiamond at stanford.edu> wrote:
> Dear Shava (and all):
> Thank you for this eloquent and illuminating testimony to the universal
> importance of promoting free expression on the Internet, which sometimes
> means anonymous expression.  We are very grateful for all these
> contributions.
>
> Larry Diamond
> Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution & Freeman Spogli Institute
> Director, Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law
> Peter E. Haas Faculty Co-Director, Haas Center for Public Service
> Stanford University
> Stanford, CA 94305-6055
> tel 650-724-6448  fax 650-723-1928
> ldiamond at stanford.edu, www.stanford.edu/~ldiamond
> http://cddrl.stanford.edu/ and http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/haas
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: "Shava Nerad" <shava23 at gmail.com>
> To: "Tom Zhang" <xzhang at google.com>
> Cc: liberationtech at mailman.stanford.edu, "rainey" <rainey at eff.org>, "Eva
> Galperin" <eva at eff.org>
> Sent: Friday, May 27, 2011 3:30:53 PM
> Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Please help us promote Tor and online
> anonymity
>
> It's also important to remember that there are efforts in otherwise
> "liberated" countries that are sustained by political anonymity.  When I was
> execdir of Tor, I got to speak to many people in the US who used Tor to
> maintain freedom of speech in the face of social, political, or corporate
> threats.  Some examples include:
>
> o victims of family abuse who did not feel safe advocating for reform under
> their family name
> o a labor activist in a "company town" who advocated for labor rights, and
> feared for her safety
> o a lawyer in a prominent firm who wanted to be able to blog regarding local
> politics (nothing confidential, just his personal insights on the system)
> and knew that regardless of his politics, he would alienate half his clients
> -- and by extension all of his partners -- if his blogging were traced to
> his identity.
>
> These issues -- the freedom of the injured to raise consciousness without
> personal and traumatic repercussions; the right of labor to organize; the
> right to political speech when social/political pressures could come to bear
> -- are all quiet bulwarks of human rights and freedoms in a "liberated"
> society.  We might not notice them except when they tragically fail, but
> their smooth and silent continuity is like groundwater to the taproot of our
> democracy.
>
> It's particularly poignant to me that a person should be barred from
> political expression due to pressure from their professional role.  I often
> wonder how much better, for example, our military, law enforcement, or our
> public schools might be if the daily witnesses to the work were not
> constrained from comment by professional pressures.
>
> As "citizen journalism" becomes more and more of the voice of commentary on
> society, the inability of the individual to separate professional and family
> identity from their voice as a Jeffersonian citizen has a larger influence.
> If only people without concern for family and profession feel free to speak,
> aren't we cutting off many kinder hearts and greater minds from emerging
> discourse?
>
> We tend to focus on China, MENA, Burma, and various crisis zones.  But
> everywhere, institutions of freedom and human rights are fragile.  It is no
> criticism of the US or EU or any of the "free world" to say that they need
> the tools of liberation and defense against tyranny as a constant diet.
> Civil liberties never get to go into the "assumed" category.
>
> I encourage everyone to support EFF's campaign to support Tor use, not only
> because I used to work with the project.  I worked for the project because
> my own family's three generations of history in labor, civil rights, and
> civil liberties -- and my own three decades of experience on the changing
> Internet -- were what brought me to want to work with the project.
>
> yrs,
> Shava Nerad
> shava23 at gmail.com
>
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