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[liberationtech] VOA - Circumventing Censorship guide?

Nicolas Sera-Leyva (nseraleyva@INTERNEWS.ORG) nseraleyva at INTERNEWS.ORG
Mon Apr 13 15:40:56 PDT 2015


Hey y'all,

I don't know with how much fanfare this was released, but came across the following circumvention tool resource from VOA that was released (possibly?) in late January - http://projects.voanews.com/circumvention/ - "An internet primer for healthy web habits" offers overviews and a basic scorecard of a number of circumvention tools & practices, some BBG funded in one way or another and others not, but upon reading it noticed that it takes a number of worrisome factual & technological tacks. 

Offering up UltraSurf as an anonymity tool, closed source and offering security through obscurity, raises concern; as does a blanket claim that VPNs offer anonymity in all cases without really offering solid recommendations for services (paid or otherwise) that are generally regarded as trustworthy. 

The portion on using Google DNS as a circumvention method is a bit clumsy in its explanation of exactly *how* an end user might actually make use of Google's DNS lists to achieve that end, as are several instances that allude to verifying downloaded .exe files (e.g. the Freegate portion, presumably by performing checks on SHA/MD5 hash checksums)  without really discussing a practical means of doing so. Guide also doesn't really address situations where use of this technology could possibly cause a user's traffic patterns to draw more unwanted attention that they might have previously.

Basically, the guide seems ripe for leading end-users to make ill-informed decisions on circumvention/anonymity tool use that could very possibly put them at greater risk than they were in the first place. I'd be curious re: other's thoughts on this resource and any other recommendations regarding content that could be changed or revised to provide more sound guidance?

Cheers,

Nick




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