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[liberationtech] Google Unveils Tools to Access Web From Repressive Countries |

Patrick Mylund Nielsen cryptography at
Mon Oct 21 17:09:24 PDT 2013

On Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 8:00 PM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at>wrote:

> Since I already have more skepticism of Google Ideas and Jared Cohen than
> I need, let me pose this question:
> With the understanding that uProxy provides no anonymity protections, *is
> it providing anything that other circumvention tools do not already?*
> What's unique about it?

"No anonymity protections" is a bit of a stretch if "anonymity" includes
browsing from a country that tries, but fails to snoop on your traffic. But
sure, it doesn't pretend to be a cookie blocker, or Tor.

uProxy, as far as I can tell, provides an easy way to use fast connections
you trust. Very strong emphasis on "easy" and "fast" (i.e. noncongested.)
So, you can browse securely from a coffee shop or Iran without the hassles
that come with most other similar tools (difficult setup for self-hosted
VPN servers, trusting a third-party provider for hosted VPN services,
lacking usability/non-intuitive setup and interface for many pieces of
privacy software, and very variable speed for services like Tor.)

> On Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 3:38 PM, Dan Staples <
> danstaples at> wrote:
>> And keep in mind, the uProxy project doesn't seem to be trying to
>> provide anonymity, only uncensored internet access. There are many
>> challenges to anonymity that a simple browser plugin can't solve.
>> Browsers are extremely easy to fingerprint, which is why Tor is now
>> being packaged as an entire browser bundle.
>> What I'm most curious about is how much information about the users of
>> uProxy will be collected and analyzed by Google and shared with its
>> partners.
>> Dan
>> On 10/21/2013 06:09 PM, Sacha van Geffen wrote:
>> > On 21-10-13 22:49, Nick wrote:
>> >> Despite the provenence of the story, I'm still suprised there was no
>> >> mention of Google's cooperation with repressive elements of its own
>> >> government through PRISM and the like. Or (though this is probably
>> >> far too optimistic) a mention of whether surveillance as overarching
>> >> paradigm is compatible with the sort of self-representation they
>> >> offer here.
>> >>
>> > google is a many headed dragon, like the US government, with one head
>> > canceling out some actions of others. It is a shame that those heads are
>> > not all the same size (like DoD vs State). Still I would encourage the
>> > small heads to go on and do their work.
>> >
>> >>
>> >> I also wonder how anonymous it is for the relay side - whether it's
>> >> really just an interface to Tor bridge nodes, and therefore the
>> >> relay can't see everything their "friend" is up to, or if it's a
>> >> straight proxy. I would guess the latter as their emphasis seems to
>> >> be completely about helping people hop out of their country's
>> >> repressive internet policies.
>> >
>> > Seeing the description and the involvement of brave new software I
>> > assume it is related to or a rename of Lantern, lantern is a proxy
>> > software that uses the google social graph to find access. Maybe someone
>> > from BNS could elaborate
>> >
>> > In terms of threat model it would be reasonable to trust the 'friend' in
>> > this scenario, I would be more concerned with adversary externaly
>> > observing the connections, seeing that a group of people from within
>> > country X are connecting to the same ip in country Y , thus relating
>> > those people in that group as sharing a node in a social graph, so to
>> > eachother, while they might not have seen them as related before..
>> >
>> >
>> > Cheers, Sacha
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> --
>> Dan Staples
>> Open Technology Institute
>> OpenPGP key:
>> Fingerprint: 2480 095D 4B16 436F 35AB 7305 F670 74ED BD86 43A9
>> --
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