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[liberationtech] A Digital Safe Haven for Syria

Gregory Foster gfoster at
Mon May 27 20:39:56 PDT 2013

An observation, ymmv.

The NYT op-ed is by Chris Finan.  He was recently the Director for 
Cybersecurity Legislation in Obama's White House:

For context, here, Finan analyzes problems with usage of the "cyber 
Pearl Harbor" signifier...before going ahead and deploying it in support 
of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012:

In the op-ed, Finan suggests NSA Director General Keith B. Alexander's 
Cyber Command could set up and operate the crisis zone wireless 

> For example, through the military’s new Cyber Command, we could create 
> a digital “safe haven,” akin to physical safe havens for refugees, by 
> deploying long-distance Wi-Fi technologies along Syria’s borders and 
> in rebel-held areas in coordination with vetted opposition groups. 
> Platforms that enable [point-to-point] transmission of Wi-Fi signals 
> over distances of up to 60 miles are already in use in parts of South 
> Asia and other rural markets.

I would suggest, from a Signals Intelligence point of view, it would be 
very helpful to own the infrastructure.  Finan continues,

> Subsequent actions could include measures to counter the Assad 
> regime’s capacity to monitor opposition communications within the 
> existing telecommunications infrastructure.

Question: is one of the potential unintended consequences of connecting 
to a Cyber Command network from within Syria the effect of making one's 
router a part of the battlefield?

Again, ymmv -

On 5/27/13 8:37 PM, Andrew Lewis wrote:
> I guess the better question is there anyone else out there that would like to look further into this? I know that there are a bunch of tech folks have looked into it and have a ton of ideas, and would be chomping at the bit to actually work on this. The issues that have arisen are mainly of political, policy, or resources not technical feasibility.  I know that if I'd be willing to work on it right away, along with many others, if these issues could be solved or handled by people with that sort of expertise dealing with the non-technical aspects. Maybe some existing support org would be interested in stepping forward to coordinate, and work towards such a solution?
> With that being said, I expect that there are some ongoing efforts toward such efforts, who maybe acting under the radar for various reasons, and wouldn't want to step on any toes.
> -Andrew
> On May 28, 2013, at 8:09 AM, Eleanor Saitta <ella at> wrote:
>> Hash: SHA256
>> On 2013.05.27 10.57, Yosem Companys wrote:
>>> From: *David Farber* <dave at <mailto:dave at>>
>>> Anyone believe this would actually work?
>>> LETTER A Digital ?Safe Haven? for Syria
>> Technically?  Yes.  I and other folks have done the logistical evals,
>> looking at a variety of sites, etc.
>> Politically?  That's a fascinating and open question.
>> E.
>> - -- 
>> Ideas are my favorite toys.
>> Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32)
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Gregory Foster || gfoster at
@gregoryfoster <>

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