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[liberationtech] Help users in Iran reach the internet

Enrique Piraces piracee at hrw.org
Fri Feb 10 09:13:58 PST 2012


Thanks Jake, I'll pass this around. Am I right to think that the EC2 instances discussed in the thread could be the best way for less tech people to help? I can see that getting some traction.

For all, and please excuse if this was already posted, any advice we should be sending to contacts in-country?

Thanks,
@epiraces

-----Original Message-----
From: liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu [mailto:liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu] On Behalf Of Jacob Appelbaum
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2012 6:45 AM
To: liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
Subject: [liberationtech] Help users in Iran reach the internet

Hi Libtech,

I just wrote this email to the Tor-talk list and I think it's important
for this list to see this ASAP:

Here's my original email as a page:
https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2012-February/023070.html

Here's the original email for discussion:

In the last 48 hours a major campaign of filtering has started in Iran -
it started slow and now appears to be that nearly all SSL/TLS traffic is
blocked on a few major Iranian ISPs. Details are rather rough but we're
working on some solutions - we've long had an ace up our sleeves for
this exact moment in the arms race but it's perhaps come while the User
Interface edges are a bit rough still.

Here's the deal - we need people to run Tor bridges but a special kind
of Tor bridge, one that does a kind of traffic camouflaging - we call it
an obfuscated bridge. It's not easy to set up just yet because we were
not ready to deploy this for everyone yet; it lacks a lot of analysis
and it might even only last for a few days at the rate the arms race is
progressing, if you could call it progress.

There are highly technical instructions here:
https://www.torproject.org/projects/obfsproxy-instructions.html.en

Currently if you run such a bridge, you'll either need to manually tell
us (via email to tor-assistants at torproject.org ) about it or you'll need
to share these bridges with people you want to help directly. It's a
pain and we're working on it.

Here's a bug report where we're working around the clock to get stuff
going in a user friendly manner:
https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/5009#comment:17

This kind of help is not for the technically faint of heart but it's
absolutely needed for people in Iran, right now. It's likely that more
than ~50,000 - ~60,000 Tor users may drop offline.

Watch this graph for an idea of the censorship impact of directly
connecting Tor users:
https://metrics.torproject.org/users.html?graph=direct-users&start=2011-11-12&end=2012-05-10&country=ir&events=on&dpi=72#direct-users

Here's the same graph but for Tor bridge users in Iran:
https://metrics.torproject.org/users.html?graph=bridge-users&start=2011-11-12&end=2012-05-10&country=ir&dpi=72#bridge-users

We're working on easy to use client software and if you're in Iran or
need one desperately, please email help at rt.torproject.org. We'll try to
get you a working obfsproxy bridge address and working client software.

All the best,
Jacob
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