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[liberationtech] [SPAM:###] Re: Google Unveils Tools to Access Web From Repressive Countries |

Shava Nerad shava23 at
Tue Oct 22 00:02:09 PDT 2013 -- it looks phenomenally like psiphon, actually. I got referred
to this page through Amanda Walker from Google who says (carefully not
speaking for anyone at Google) it's open source (eventually) developed by U

Has anyone heard of this at all?  I pointed Ron Deibert at it -- I thought
he'd find it fascinating if he hadn't heard about it. ;]

quoth Amanda:

So, Google isn't "rolling out a proxy network".  uProxy was developed at
> the University of Washington; they plan to release source under the Apache
> 2 license (so you don't *have* to trust anyone).  It's a peer to peer
> proxy system, not a centralized one that goes through Google (or anyone
> else).

Except of course, it goes through whomever your penpal is.

Here's a summary of the early rollout of Psiphon:
was at this talk ;)

Hugely popular was 80,000 users, and there were growing pains then and
thereafter (this is not a criticism -- it's expected).  Will Google be
happy with their announcement when users freak at people proxying KP
through their penpal invites?  Because inevitably, people will want to
adopt activists from overseas and some will be not quite what they expect.

Will League of Legends-like matchmaking lobbies emerge to broker
connections, rather much defeating the personal friend aspect for the less
clueful?  And who will um take advantage?  Will penpals in the US report
back to Teheran for example?  I mean, I'm likely preaching to the crowd,

But Jared Cohen and Eric Schmidt's book reads like a post ironic Innocents
Abroad.  It opens with the bald statement that the Internet is one of the
few things humans have created that they do not fully understand.

If you reduce "things" to generalizations such as "religion," "government,"
"community," "war," and so on, I suppose they may be right.  We have not
fully come to grips with the Internet as a special case of "mass media,"
and we can not possibly come to a comprehensive consensus on that.  The
subject matter changes faster than any consensus could be expressed/reached
-- to the universal relief of bloggers, and of academics seeking
publication and junkets to conferences.

These are the people who are, with great sanguine big-dog enthusiasm,
pushing this out.  I wish I felt confident we could keep the tail wagging
from breaking the tea service.  Could be fine.  Makes me nervous.  Just

You don't have to distrust Google per se to wonder if they are wise, or
have domain expertise in all things.

Being big and rich does not buy you wisdom to know what you don't know.
 This is a lesson of empire/monarchy, even benevolent empire, even
benevolent monarchy -- it relies on the discretion of one entity, one ego
and often the people around that entity will not or can not get a word in
to say, "No. Just no."

Carnegie knew all about libraries, but he didn't know so much about
maintaining earthen dams (
 You can't know everything.  People can still die.

So there are my late night ponderings...


On Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 1:36 AM, Roger Dingledine <arma at> wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 10:25:48AM -0700, Yosem Companys wrote:
> > The most ambitious product launch is uProxy, a new Web browser
> > extension that uses peer-to-peer technology to let people around the
> > world provide each other with a trusted Internet connection.
> It's a shame that designs like this still blur the line so much between
> "censorship-resistant transport" and "proxy back-end."
> If these folks have a cool "we use xmpp through google's servers to
> reach the proxy" transport, wouldn't it be even better if they publish
> that part, in a modular way, so other tools (like vpn providers, or Tor)
> can reuse that transport if they want to get its properties?
> And in the other direction, if their users want some more security
> properties on the proxy side, wouldn't it be better if their volunteers
> could choose to glue this transport onto some other back-end (like vpn
> providers, or Tor)?
> We've been making great progress lately in the academic world at having
> researchers split the problem so the transport can focus on being hard to
> block and then the proxy side can focus on providing whatever security
> properties it wants. In the Tor world we call it pluggable transports,
> but the engineers here will recognize the term 'modularity'.
> > ?It?s completely encrypted and there?s
> > no way for the government to detect what?s happening because it just
> > looks like voice traffic or chat traffic.
> Can somebody remind me of the State Dept quote, long ago, about
> Haystack? That was a different guy though right? And surely this time
> they're doing it right, with a comprehensive design document and threat
> model, open source, etc before the publicity splash?
> To aim for a more productive tone, I'd like to echo what Eric said
> but with a crucially different slant: the more *reuable and testable
> components*, the merrier. The key is to grow the space in terms of how we
> understand what works, what doesn't work anymore (or never did), and what
> options we have for making mash-ups of these components. Otherwise it's
> just yet another brief flame with its big publicity push, no well-written
> code behind it, no change to our understanding of how to solve the
> problem / what problems to solve, and no re-usable parts left behind.
> --Roger
> --
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Shava Nerad
shava23 at
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