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Five Technologies Iran Is Using To Censor the Net

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the many-mice-and-one-big-cat dept.

Censorship 122

alphadogg sends in a Network World piece on the unexpectedly effective technologies Iran is now employing to thwart their citizens' access to the Net. "While the government's initial efforts to censor the Internet were blunt and often ineffective, it has started employing more sophisticated tools to thwart dissidents' attempts to communicate with each other and the outside world. Iranian dissidents are not alone in their struggle, however, as several sympathetic hacker groups have been working to keep them online. One such group is NedaNet, whose mission is to 'help the Iranian people by setting up networks of proxy severs, anonymizers, and any other appropriate technologies that can enable them to communicate and organize.' NedaNet project coordinator Morgan Sennhauser, who has just written a paper detailing the Iranian government's latest efforts to thwart hackers (PDF), says that the government's actions have been surprisingly robust and have challenged hackers in ways that the Chinese government's efforts at censorship have not."

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Don't Worry Folks (-1, Offtopic)

MarkPNeyer (729607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763165)

They only want nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. I can only hope Israel pulls another Osirak on these assholes before it's too late.

Re:Don't Worry Folks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763191)

It would be wonderful if for the first time in history a revolution took place without a war and by technology.

I hope it leads to a precedent.

Re:Don't Worry Folks (4, Funny)

ServerIrv (840609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763249)

Agreed. I'm optimistic that there will be a day when there are no wars, but unfortunately I think that will be right after the meteor wipes us humans off the face of the earth.

Interesting Name (4, Interesting)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763339)

In the 90's, Iran's principal start-up ISP was called neda.net

I can see why the new effort is named after the late Ms. Soltani. Still a coincidence of note.

Iran's gateway out - due to embargo issues - used to be a pair of 9600 Bps USR HST modems, located in Austria. That changed around '95.

Re:Don't Worry Folks (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764883)

And, THAT is exactly why I want to see a city on the moon, more cities on Mars, and ships headed out, deeper into space, to plant more colonies yet.

How the hell we gonna have Star Wars, if everyone is killed off by a single comet? We must spread out to preserve our capability to wage war!!! Or, even peace, now and then.

Re:Don't Worry Folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28765099)

but unfortunately I think that will be right after the meteor wipes us humans off the face of the earth.

I think you meant fortunately, just after...

Re:Don't Worry Folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763811)

"revolution comes at the barrel of a gun."
chairmen mao

Re:Don't Worry Folks (-1, Troll)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763459)

Yeah. Right. There's no way an attack could even slow Iranian development, but there are many ways an attack could accelerate it. Not only in Iran but in every other country working towards nuclear technology.

Worse, Iraq and North Korea have, between them, demonstrated already that the more militant in America only give a damn for the rights of those enforcing them at gunpoint. Reinforcing this isn't going to help matters. Sure, the Iranian leadership is full of paranoid religious maniacs, but then so was Bush's administration, and the Iranians at least have the excuse of the CIA and MI5 assassinating those who really were democratically elected.

(If the ones that the US aren't trying to kill are the paranoid schizophrenics, why would you assume Iran would have anyone but a paranoid schizophrenic as a leader?)

If you want the entire Middle East to suddenly opt in to sanctions-busting to buy up North Korean nukes, then sure, Israel launching an attack might be effective. That's the only imaginable consequence of any note.

(Ok, ok, it's just possible it could also trigger World War 3, as violence escalates and allies call on allies, as per World War 1. America can't do a damn thing about it without causing Russia to intervene for the other side.)

Re:Don't Worry Folks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763823)

America won't do a damn thing about it ...

Yeah, I mean won't. Fuck all the greedy-ass Semitic assholes. They aren't worth American time, money, or lives.

Re:Don't Worry Folks (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28767999)

America can't do a damn thing about it without causing Russia to intervene for the other side.

a 100Kg Iron-nickel meteor would make a big hole and look like an act of God.

Re:Don't Worry Folks (3, Insightful)

agw (6387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766339)

Yes, Iran has a long history of attacking other countries in wars of aggression so claiming peaceful use is a farce.
Nuclear technologiy is only safe with peaceful countries who have never lead any wars of aggression or used WMD, like say the U.S.A. and Germany.

Oh, wait...

Yay Human Spirit (1, Interesting)

jeffliott (1558799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763271)

It is really awesome hear about the international collaboration of non-government, non-business entities working together to overcome tyranny. I'd like to wish those oppressors a sarcastic "good luck" in stifling the ingenuity of people all around the world. As for the Iranian people, kudos on being a continuously painful thorn in your government's side.

Re:Yay Human Spirit (1)

trendzetter (777091) | more than 5 years ago | (#28767679)

Who says that this are non-government, non-business entities? I'm quiet sure that the pentagon and other US services will waste no time and join this effort if it wasn't created by them in the first place. In my view the US has been the oppressor in this case as it has been feeding unproven and highly unreliable information in order to provoke violence in the enemy camp. I wouldn't be surprised if they are steering Mousavi too.

So... (4, Insightful)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763283)

I'm waiting for the follow-up article, 'Five Technologies Iranian Citizens are Using to Bypass the Censors.'

Re:So... (1)

mouseblue (1602125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763435)

That would make it easier to monitor also if the start or end points are trackable.

Re:So... (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764429)

Since this was written by a NedaNet [nedanet.org] guy, my question would be "Does NedaNet provide a end-user solution for normal Iranians.

Weird though that their website isn't reachable by https.

Re:So... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28764759)

Hey! Bored, and waiting for a phone call, so I figured, what else to do but reply to the comments on slashdot!

1) Right now we recommend Tor, we're testing out some other solutions that will be more easily integrated into how people are already using their computers. Dumb down the client requirements as much as possible. However, it's hard, since any solution is temporary- it's just a matter of how temporary. That said, we do have a few tools used for specific purposes inside Iran, however they're quite temporary, and saying what they are might reduce their halflife.
2) We don't have a valid certificate. I think... Thursday? is the day we're supposed to have that. Something like that. Generally working on improving the nedanet site, also. Though, right now our focus isn't on having our website be fancy and safe, since there's nothing there. We'd much rather work on making the things we do to help Iranians easy and safe.

--emsenn, project coordinator, NedaNet (http://emsenn.com)

One (2, Informative)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764641)

Haystack [haystacknetwork.com] (full disclosure: I wrote it.)

Re:One (1)

emsenn (1557057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764837)

Full disclosure: Haystack is not a NedaNet project. There are a lot of differences in how NedaNet and Media Access International (the organization behind Haystack) handle their projects, based on different opinions and philosophies when it comes to keeping the communication open and secure. --emsenn, project coordinator, NedaNet (http://emsenn.com)

Re:One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28764951)

It seems like NedaNet has a principal belief of using someone's name to get attention.

Re:One (2, Informative)

quinwound (520170) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764903)

Haystack is NOT from NedaNet.
NedaNet does not endorse Haystack.

Re:One (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28767229)

All I see is a Donate link and a Twitter feed. Is this application actually released?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28764667)

Never believe the fiction that the technical expertise available to the dissidents and free thinkers on the Internet will always outstrip the ability of inept and fumbling government bureaucracy. Technical superiority most certainly does *not* equate to technical invulnerability.

Technical advantages are just another tool in conflict, not a magic bullet. Strength of will and a coherent strategic vision are just as important, if not more so.

Re:So... (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765485)

wait a minute... I've seen this movie!

The government employs the most respected hacker in the world, and he'll end up getting defeated by some 17-year old kid in a winner-take-all hacking showdown.

Re:So... (1)

beadwindow (1578749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28767989)

I'm waiting for the follow-up article, 'Five Technologies Iranian Citizens are Using to Bypass the Censors.'

http://www.internetfreedom.org/ [internetfreedom.org]

technical assistance (5, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763313)

And who is providing the Iranian government with the technical know-how to implement these censoring measures?

Is it private consultants? Is it foreign governments?

Is there sufficient know-how within Iran's pro-government citizenship to effect the censorship?

I'm very curious who, if anyone, is helping Iran's government do this. Because I do control a decent amount of spending, and I'd like to know if there's anyone I do business with that I should think twice about renewing contracts with. I'd be disappointed, and more than a bit shocked, if any of my suppliers are helping Iran do this. But there is precedent [ibmandtheholocaust.com] . And my (and my employer's) dollars can speak a lot louder than this comment.

Re:technical assistance (2, Informative)

JoaoPinheiro (749991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763395)

I believe it was reported that Nokia and Siemens had sold/developed some of the filtering equipment being used by the Iranian government. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/06/nokia-siemens-boycott/ [wired.com]

Re:technical assistance (1, Informative)

Smitty025 (948638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763433)

Re:technical assistance (1)

JoaoPinheiro (749991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763559)

I wasn't aware of that, thank you for letting me know of their response.

Re:technical assistance (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763591)

FWIW... I'm taking Nokie/Siemens words with a grain of salt... they are not exactly a neutral party.

I don't know if they should be considered in any way culpable (lots of research to be done), but any link that contains the words "press release" needs to be vetted thoroughly by an independent party.

Re:technical assistance (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764061)

You are an independent third party.

Re:technical assistance (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763659)

That's a rebuttal, not a refutation.

Nokia-Siemens are basically stating (correctly) 'we didn't do anything there that we aren't required to do elsewhere.' That's all well and good, but it doesn't address the fundamental question: Is what they did in Iran (and do elsewhere) the Right Thing?

The whole question about how - and when, and who - to intercept in the context of the Internet is particularly troubling. Here's an excerpt from a longer piece [imagicity.com] I wrote about the situation:

Nokia-Siemens, defending its role in the creation of a centralised mobile telecommuncations network, stated recently that:

In most countries around the world, including all EU member states and the U.S., telecommunications networks are legally required to have the capability for Lawful Intercept and this is also the case in Iran. Lawful Intercept is specified in standards defined by ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) and the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project).

Yes, decentralised communications come at a cost. They make surveillance efforts of all kinds more difficult. The two competing questions we need to ask ourselves are:

  1. How far are we willing to compromise ourselves in the pursuit of state security?
  2. How much are we willing to compromise state surveillance capability in order to protect our own freedom to communicate?

These are knotty issues with complex and often subtle ramifications on society. They demand a level of public engagement on the principle - and more importantly, the practice - of free speech that we havenâ(TM)t seen since the Red Scare of the 1950s.

Re:technical assistance (2, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763843)

And who supplies the FBI and NSA's intercept software and hardware for all their warrentless wiretaps?

the Iranian country is small for internet access, and they have carefully controlled it from the beginning. The trick here is the no one can actually say anything as the same hardware and software is even used for LEGAL wiretaps by just about everybody. What is needed is for someone to make a second Internet and trick the world into using it before governemetns realize they can't control it.

Re:technical assistance (1)

mok000 (668612) | more than 5 years ago | (#28767899)

Of course we can always revert to UUCP.

Re:technical assistance (4, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763537)

And what if they're using *gasp* linux. A local coffee shop I frequent use many of the same techniques to try to stop people from downloading torrent files after getting a couple infringement notices. They do it via a Gentoo linux box and off the shelf FOSS tools. They don't do the DPI or SPI, but everything else, such as QoS, blocking ports, and IP blocks they do and it doesn't take a super consultant to set it up. I know the kid who set up this box. He's knows enough to do it, but isn't any type of super genius.

Can you get around the blocks here at the shop? Yes, but only if you know what you're doing. I can do it. I know a couple others who can as well, but 95% of the people sipping coffee around me don't have a clue. And it's enough to thwart the average attempt to use services like limewire and Bit Torrent.

Re:technical assistance (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763611)

It's quite possible that they're using tools they are implementing without outside help. But given the scope of the project, and the increase in effectiveness, I'd expect that they've hired someone to help.

Re:technical assistance (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764317)

What are you saying there aren't smart, technical savvy people inside Iran, some of whom may work for their security services? There are fairly bright people all over this earth, and they all different ideas of "right/wrong". SIGINT's price tag has come down a lot thanks to commodity hardware and community software. I'm willing someone somewhere in their intelligence apparatus saw this coming, had the tools, but had to have the right time to show case their talents. And given Iran's nature of wanting to build an internal arms manufacturing base in the past, it wouldn't surprise me if they haven't homegrown a lot of the skills needed either.

That being said. I'm sure there are lot of Chinese Engineers willing to trade their "expertise" for Euros.

Re:technical assistance (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766671)

> And what if they're using *gasp* linux.

So what if they use Linux? Linux is but a tool. It's purpose, benign or otherwise, is always defined by the human using it. A hammer can be a home-improvement helper device or a deadly weapon depending on who's swinging it and at what. The hammer's still just a hammer.

Re:technical assistance (1)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763609)

And my (and my employer's) dollars can speak a lot louder than this comment.

The great thing about the internet is that your comment can speak louder. Maybe your comment convinces someone to do a little digging and find out who is helping Iran. After that ten other people, maybe some with even greater spending power than the yourself hear about this and follow suit. These people tell other people and a movement is born, Iran is finally reformed. All because of your comment. Now this is starting to sound like a Hallmark film.

Re:technical assistance (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763649)

And who is providing the Iranian government with the technical know-how to implement these censoring measures? Is it private consultants? Is it foreign governments?

This is a good question. I've asked a few people and no one is fessing up to suppling Iran publicly. I've worked in that particular industry so I have some good contacts who should know. We know they use software from CA based Secure Computing, but the company denies having sold them a license so it seems they're just pirating the software. The Nokia Siemens partnership is selling them some gear but denies selling them monitoring software for anything other than cell phone networks.

Is there sufficient know-how within Iran's pro-government citizenship to effect the censorship?

There is a surprising amount of network traffic shaping and monitoring software related to the middle east. Half the startup companies in the business a few years ago had founders educated in Israel. It is possible, therefor that the locals do have such knowledge, but on the other hand the Israelis and Iranians don't really get along (understatement of the year nomination please).

And my (and my employer's) dollars can speak a lot louder than this comment.

I'm all in favor of accountability. I'd like to think the press would be competent enough to figure do some serious investigation of this and that the US government would make sure any companies involved were exposed as such to the public as well as subjected to punishments for doing business there (at least being unavailable for US contracts for a few years). I'm afraid I've become more of a cynic iver the last decade and I have little faith in either the press or the US government to push for the truth and hold people accountable. But seeing as most of the public has the attention span of a fruit fly and doesn't care enough to vote based upon such things anyway, I suppose we get what we deserve.

Re:technical assistance (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765019)

Accountability, the man says? Where is the media? Are they ALL in bed with the politicos?

The fact is, politicians have not only enabled monitoring and censorship, they have mandated it. There is no reason in the world to think that only "good guys" will have those weapons. Monitoring and censorship are a little like guns and knives - good guys might have them, bad guys WILL have them.

The accountability for repressive technology begins in the UK's ministries, and in the US' congress and senate, and we can keep right on accounting through the rest of Europe, Australia, Canada - - -

Odd - repressive technology is only bad when it's the OTHER guys doing the repressing.

Re:technical assistance (-1, Flamebait)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766151)

There is a surprising amount of network traffic shaping and monitoring software related to the middle east. Half the startup companies in the business a few years ago had founders educated in Israel. It is possible, therefor that the locals do have such knowledge, but on the other hand the Israelis and Iranians don't really get along (understatement of the year nomination please).

Just put any normal run-of-the-mill jew in front of a pile of money, and he won’t give a fuck where it’s coming from.

Re:technical assistance (2, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766907)

"I'm all in favor of accountability. I'd like to think the press would be competent enough to figure do some serious investigation of this and that the US government would make sure any companies involved were exposed as such to the public as well as subjected to punishments for doing business there (at least being unavailable for US contracts for a few years)"

The problem with this is that the US government doesn't do it fairly.

Look at the Senators who complained about Nokia/Siemens selling stuff to Iran under the guise that they care about how the technology maybe infringing people's freedoms there, yet fail to realise Cisco and many other US tech companies are selling exactly the same type of kit for exactly the same reasons to China.

All that will happen is the investigation will try to dent foreign companies whilst ignoring equally immoral sales and actions by US companies - look how they handled (or rather, didn't handle) Halliburton and it's abuses in Iraq, putting even US contractors lives in danger for no reason other than to get another invoice for the US tax payers to pay for example.

That's just the start of it though, because if the US does do it that way, which ultimately they will (they tried to be difficult about BAE, a major British arms manufacturer supposedly paying bribes to Saudi to get contracts, whilst again, ignoring the fact US companies do the exact same things), eventually other areas will respond - Europe will impose sanctions against US companies whilst favouring European companies like Nokia/Siemens for example and the whole thing will just turn into a protectionist farce.

That's not to say I disagree with your point, accountability would be great, but I don't see how it'd happen without being sidelined for alternative political purposes as it is already with the senators who complained about Nokia/Siemens. The problem is that the US has trade embargos on the likes of Iran, North Korea and Burma to make itself look like the great moral defender, and like it can complain when other nations sell to these, whilst simultaneously not having sanctions on equally cruel repressive regimes like China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and so on.

Accountability can only ever work if it's done in a fair manner, a good example of an international system that attempts to bring accountability is the ICC thanks to peple like Luis-Moreno Ocampo, but even they're faced with countries like China and nations like many of those in Africa pulling out excuses as to why they shouldn't support it, when the reality is merely alternate vested political interests.

Re:technical assistance (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763729)

"And who is providing the Iranian government with the technical know-how to implement these censoring measures?"

Given his stance on individual liberties, my guess would be Obama...

Re:technical assistance (1)

Exception Duck (1524809) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764073)

And if they were using some open source technology to do content filtering / packet sniffing etc...?

Re:technical assistance (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28765961)

It's likely their own internal IT guys with off the shelf hardware doing it. It doesn't take a genius nor a ton of money to do what they're doing. Having setup QOS in Linux and seeing the capabilities of various other projects, it's quite trivial.

The packet inspection? Likely http://l7-filter.sourceforge.net.
Where's the QOS coming from? Just the built in Linux kernel stuff that comes with every distribution.
Want to monitor and log all of that and be able to search it? http://www.ntop.org
Want to block stuff based on ports/l7 matches/ip address? iptables

Though it would require some beefy hardware or a bit of creativity, setting up something like this would require some technical know how and a few hours of reading and maybe a week or two to set it up, test, and throw it into production.

Re:technical assistance (1)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766929)

"And who is providing the Iranian government with the technical know-how to implement these censoring measures?"
? And why would you think Iran needs any non-Iranian consultancy or gov to implement those technologies? Do you really believe that Iranians don't have any know-how of their own?

No business (4, Interesting)

zhilla2 (1586095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763319)

"China has several gigabytes per second of traffic to deal with and has a lot more international businesses," he says. "They can't be as heavy-handed with their filtration. The Iranians aren't as concerned about that⦠so they get to use all these fancy toys that, if the Chinese used them, could cripple their economy."

I myself ordered Chinese products from sites using SSL. I don't think even they would be crazy enough to turn down money - but it seems Iran's leaders are. Are they going North Korea style? At least Chinese have a positive side to their repressive government. They have the money, they'll transform that to power and influence. Iran's policy is VERY bad for business - who seem to really WANT their people to be poor and unemployed. Which also leads to emigration of smart, competent and anybody willing to work. So yes, killing protesters and having a idiotic clerical fascistic system will make Iran poor and irrelevant in time. Countries with saner systems will benefit from importing their disgruntled intellectual elite - because smart people might be more tolerant by average, but also have lower tolerance for being served hypocritical crap.

Re:No business (5, Insightful)

aaandre (526056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763743)

Oppressive regimes see their own countries' intellectual elite as an enemy.

Re:No business (1, Troll)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764129)

Iran and China are not the same thing. Iran's government is much more repressive. It's not a technology issue. It's a repression issue. The "quote" acts like China and Iran are apples to apples and if China could do it too, they would. Just because China is repressive doesn't mean all repression is equal, and that they and Iran are two equals on a scale of *free -to- enslaved* . It's like when people try to compare to US to Iran because you can cherry pick incidents from each country and draw parallels. It's not a fair comparison and ignores the greater number of differences.

In contrast to your point however, Iran and China both need and encourage the intellectual elite. They see them as a means to an end, in regards to defeating their enemies. Just that the level of control they place over them is vastly different. China is much closer to joining the west in opening up. I'm not saying they are there yet, and that there are not issues in China. But compared to Iran? It's not even close.

Re:No business (2, Informative)

jawahar (541989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765905)

Democratic [wikileaks.org] regimes also see their own countries' intellectual elite as an enemy.

Re:No business (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28764913)

So yes, killing protesters and having a idiotic clerical fascistic system will make Iran poor and irrelevant in time.

As someone who fled for exactly those reasons, I fully agree with whole of your comment, except that little bit about a clerical fascistic system.

The recent "election" (read coup) was the beginning of transformation of Iran from a theocratic oligarchy into a military dictatorship. Otensibly, Khamenei and a few select clerics hold some power, but in reality, revolutionary guards' commanders are ruling the country. The absence of the traditional flood of congratulations from religious centers of Qom to new "president", along with the direct and open complaints from high-ranking Ayatollahs is a sign that the religious body does not support this transformation. Some like Sanei and maybe Montazeri for good reasons, and the rest, most prominently Rafsanjani, only because they know their end has come.

In the upcoming months, expect the anti-Israel tone to calm down and negotiations will to be held with US on nuclear (and only nuclear, not human rights) issue. Support for Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. will continue as a guarantee for Iranian leaders just in case there's trouble. However, they will become less and less radical. All this in exchange for securing regime's future. In the end, if things go as they are now, the only losers will be the people of Iran and that is why people are protesting. Posting anonymously, for obvious reasons.

Re:No business (0, Troll)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765069)

All it would take was a condemnation from Khamenei to overthrow the military dictatorship. Khamenei has the influcence to overthorw any government he choses.

Re:No business (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765893)

Only the pope has that kind of clout. And yes, he did once.

Re:No business (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766189)

Posting anonymously, for obvious reasons.

Like if your IP address would be out of reach of the iranian secret police

Re:No business (1)

emsenn (1557057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764929)

I think I address this in http://emsenn.com/SoIC.pdf [emsenn.com] but if not, here it is again: Iran has a lot less to lose by cutting Internet. Businesses there treat Internet as a luxury, not a necessity the way companies here or in Asia do.

Re:No business (0, Troll)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766167)

Iran's policy is VERY bad for business - who seem to really WANT their people to be poor and unemployed.

Well, yes, of course. Any régime based on religion will NEED to have people to be poor and unemployed so they’d be receptive to the religious bullshit.

Re:No business (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28767321)

"Iran's policy is VERY bad for business - who seem to really WANT their people to be poor and unemployed."

Why wouldn't they? The smart educated ones are the ones that want change, the poor, uneducated dumb fools are the ones that support Ahmadinejad and make up his militias, the police and so on.

The Iranian regime has a vested interest in keeping the populace as dumb as possible as they ignorantly believe the regime is good.

Censorship is absolute or doomed. (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763331)

If there exists any means of communication that is not blocked, that means can be subverted to support every form of communication. As a result, any partial technological block will inevitably be defeated.

The alternative to censorship is self-censorship - alter society such that it no longer wants to communicate in such-and-such a form, or to transmit such-and-such information. This has mixed results. Certainly, China and Iran haven't done well in convincing their citizens not to communicate with the outside world. On the other hand, the Pitcairn Islanders are not exactly broadcasting the facts behind the crimes of the power-brokers there.

I guess the difference is that all the Pitcairn Islanders are, to some extent, guilty of the crimes that only a handful were actually convicted for, and talking could lead to their conviction as well. On the other hand, dissidents in Iran and China don't see themselves as guilty of the crimes of their leadership and so have no need to protect themselves.

(One wonders how many other people have been silent of things they should have spoken up over, to avoid being convicted. It's a part of the censorship debate that IS important, as it is the only part that cannot be technologically circumvented. Well, not until mind-reading machines have been developed.)

In a way, I guess the Iranian censorship technology is a good thing, in that it seems to be pressing the technologists more, forcing them to come up with cleverer solutions. It's good for the mind and may, someday, lead to Iranian inventors and innovators gaining some clout in the world. Adverse conditions tend to produce some brilliant minds.

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (5, Interesting)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763815)

>The alternative to censorship is self-censorship

The Iranian, Farsi speaking people have a complex and fascinating history. Farsi, like English, is an Indo-European language, and, the Persian Empire could be said to be the catalyst driving the birth of Europe. The Spartan and Athenian alliance bringing the victory of the Persian Wars was thought by the Greeks to be caused by the Gods as the Persians were seen as Asians and, it was thought, the Gods would never allow one people to rule both Europe and Asia. The matter grows complex as Alexander Hellenized the Persian world. Although in Persia lower caste people would abase themselves before someone seen to be a superior, but the Greeks only bowed to a God and thus the Persian custom was seen as Alexander elevating himself to the ranks of the Gods. But for my money the big fillip was introduced, perhaps by the Jews, when sin was passed from the King to the people. Some ancient civilizations were known to have beaten the statues of Gods when things went wrong and, further down the road, Kings and priests were punished when things went wrong as it was thought they were custodians and servants of the Gods and thus responsible if the Gods should be made angry. Some tyrant, somewhere, came up with the truly remarkable idea that if sin was ascribed to the people s/he ruled, then, if the Gods punished the people it was the peoples fault. This ascription of sin to the populous was one of the neatest tricks a ruling elite ever effected on an enslaved population. I think all western theocracies are supported by this central idea, that each person is born into sin and is a sinner and thus accountable for anything and everything that goes wrong.

We're creatures of context and our ideologies are drawn from and enforced by the symbols that surround us. From this it follow that freedom of speech is fundamental to democracy and personal growth. If Iran is to grow and the Iranian people free themselves, then they must always have available to them the symbols of freedom.

Just my loose change, btw "hello", a decade or so ago we exchanged what I enjoyed as some interesting posts here when I was new to Linux and /., but that was another incarnation.

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (4, Insightful)

aaandre (526056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763833)

Not if the government decrees and installs mandatory censorship backdoor software/hardware on every communication device sold. Passing laws for that to happen in the name of the children or the security or freedom is easier than we think. It will probably be called Free Speech Protection or something similar.

Then, even though communication around it will be theoretically possible, the threshold will be high enough from technical standpoint and if tampering with the device is punishable with harsh enough measures, then few enough people will make efforts to go around it, which is few enough from the governing entity's standpoint.

Possible future solutions are being beta tested in places like UAE, China, Korea, and now Iran.

And speaking of bright minds, history shows that oppressive governments never mind putting a bullet through one.

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28764081)

Actually they simply use terror as a measure. They merely listen for "anti-islamic" material, they do not block it. When they find it they do not go after it with a firewall, but with islamic measures like convicting 9 year old girls to death, then rape them before the execution [chattahbox.com] .

And yes, this practice is about as islamic as anything can be. It's an islamic government that has this policy, which is being carried out by people acting under the direct guidance of a teacher of islamic doctrine.

And if you think this is somehow a racist comment, please remember that being a muslim, and therefore agreeing with this, fighting to introduce this around a world, is a choice. Anyone can start, stop, do anything they like. One can wonder why we tolerate muslims, given these (and other [bbc.co.uk] ) practices, when we don't tolerate other violent ideologies, like the KKK.

Doing as slashdot does, blaming the tools (), seems beyond idiotic. What's to blame is the ideology, what's to blame is islam, and muslims who choose to push this ideology. [windycitymediagroup.com]

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764171)

I feel sad for their people. However, the solution has to come from within. Now that USA has freed itself from the tyranny of the extreme right, we can hope that Iran can do the same. Remember, regimes do fall, often with no violence or war.

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765039)

Very true.

Those that fall without violence generally (but not universally) do better than those that fall with violence. Violent revolutionaries tend to fear being replaced by yet other violent revolutionaries, which can lead to ever-increasing oppression. This is not a universal rule.

The closest thing that there is to a universal rule is that societies are better off for solving their own problems, rather than having a solution imposed. Especially if the imposer and imposee are culturally and/or technologically miles apart.

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764661)

Not if the government decrees and installs mandatory censorship backdoor software/hardware on every communication device sold.

That's not necessarily true either. Consider Diffie-Hellman-style secure key exchange over an insecure channel [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765015)

The simplest way to bypass hardware monitoring devices is to hide your message inside an innocuous message. Plain-text stenography has been around a long time. Have the important letters follow a known series, then fill in the gaps such that the message appears to be genuine and innocent.

You can also use non-technical solutions, such as using phospher-based invisible ink. You can get this past censors by using an ink that IS visible but is based on something that sublimates at room temperature. The visible ink makes the text seem harmless to initial scrutiny but will fade and vanish shortly after. The recipient then uses the correct method to see the real text.

Want to combine methods? No problem, run your message off onto punch tape, then use IP-over-Avian to send and receive e-mails.

The ink solution is simple enough that boy scout manuals from the 1950s were covering it, and that's the hardest one there. The ONLY way to block all these is to block absolutely everything. One gap is all it takes to find an exploit.

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765023)

You have no idea how right you are. There's an old saying: "The Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it."

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28767437)

As an Iranian, I say the outside world never had a good account of Iran inside issues from after revolution. That is why they can't solve their problems with Iran.

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765813)

As a result, any partial technological block will inevitably be defeated.

You assume that you have an unlimited number of retries to work around the block, but you don't. Circumvention tries can be traced and you will get locked up before you can get your message out. You also don't have to block, you can do white-listing instead, which is a lot harder to work around. Smuggling an SD card might in the end be easier way to get stuff out then trying to do it directly via the Internet, as the real world is a good bit harder to trace.

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766921)

If there exists any means of communication that is not blocked, that means can be subverted to support every form of communication. As a result, any partial technological block will inevitably be defeated.

People like to think in a boolean fashion, because it limits the number of things to think about. Something is "secure" or it isn't. Except that the real world doesn't work that way.

You lock the doors when you go to bed at night, but does that offer any real security when a craptastic $1 hammer at the local dollar store will break through all but the most resistant steel doors in moments? Apparently so, since it's widely documented that locking your door does, in fact, reduce crime.

Your statement might be re-worded:

If there exists any means of ENTRY that is not blocked, that means can be subverted to support every form of entry. As a result, any partial technological security device will inevitably be defeated.

Since most people will NOT unlock the door, the measures as simple and cheap as a $10 security lock will, in fact, provide useful levels of security for your home. Correspondingly, measures such as those taken by the current Iranian government will work to suppress free communication.

Sure, some folks are smart enough to set up an ICMP tunnel [wikipedia.org] or use to tunnel IP over UDP/53 [openvpn.net] that's very difficult to trace, but those of us who can aren't the majority. We aren't even a significant minority.

There's a reason why freedom of speech is, in fact, important.

Re:Censorship is absolute or doomed. (1)

Techmeology (1426095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28767099)

My golden rule of censorships is this: "Until one effectively blocks all but that which appears on the whitelist, one will not obtain perfect censorship."

Can't open TFA (3, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763333)

Is slashdotting one of the technologies being used by the Iranian government?

Re:Can't open TFA (1)

mouseblue (1602125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763497)

Re:Can't open TFA (1)

The_Quinn (748261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765803)

Thanks!

Perhaps the most effective... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763397)

Just slashdot the websites!

obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763405)

Those technologies were probably taught by our universities. What a lovely little turn of events. The world is effing stupid. Period. We're all idiots.

These solutions brought to you by (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Showered (1443719) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763425)

Microsoft.

Flame suit: Activated.

USA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763499)

I can list 10 technologies CIA is spying on Americans and 15 reasons the media tries to keep quiet about it.

Re:USA (2, Funny)

AlexCorn (763954) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763737)

I'm waiting.

Shit! (1)

Richmeister (1188909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763645)

Nobody tell Stephen Conroy [dbcde.gov.au] !

Re:Shit! (1)

Everything Else Was (786676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765659)

Don't worry... he wouldn't understand it.

is one of the technologies... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763783)

Is one of the technologies forcing all traffic through a single Microsoft Proxy Server on an NT4 server with 128mb ram and a scorching celeron 366 to round out the "Internets" Congestion System? Just sayin...

Aiding Iraq (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764177)

Is that even legal with out a permit? ( here in the US anyway ).

Re:Aiding Iraq (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765429)

Iran != Iraq.

You insensitiZve c`lod! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28764303)

Be 'very poorly Spot when done For fucking mar4et in eternity...Romeo join in especially incompatibilities deliver. Some of It's best to try users', BigAzz,

World Opinion (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764453)

Assuming that the government of Iran has some concern for the world's opinions just how do they hope to justify disallowing free speech and association?
            Did Iran take lessons from Bush or something?

Re:World Opinion (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764809)

Did Iran take lessons from Bush or something?

No, that was Reagan, and Ollie North.

Re:World Opinion (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28765483)

You right-bashers never look at the far worse left end of the spectrum like Mao, Stalin, and Hitler (remember that "Nazi" is an abbreviation of of the German cognate words for National SOCIALISM - but then, that upsets all your little left-vs-right notions, doesn't it? )

Anyway, this is about religious-based fanaticism that does not care what "infidels" believe, and those are anyone the Ayatollahs declare as such, even those moderate Muslims who remember the more reasonable traditions that have also been a part of Islam. Right/left distinctions simply do not apply in this theocratic tyranny.

Re:World Opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28767579)

Right/left distinctions simply do not apply in this theocratic tyranny.

Who said anything about right/left?

Does it involve voting fraud? (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764631)

I can't be bothered with an on-line PDF-file — is voting fraud [slashdot.org] on the list? Because the Honduran fraudster got the backing [thehill.com] of the current US Administration... Someone needs to tell the mullahs, that the easiest way to the heart of America's President may lie through something, that they already doing...

(Flamebait my muscular behind...)

Who is emsenn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28765009)

And why can't I find any qualifications/past works of his? Sounds like Fox News!

Amazed it works (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765101)

The amazing thing is that there is enough intellectual firepower which supports this draconian regime to even dream up these 5 technologies.

After all, advanced education in other than the Koran is viewed with deep suspicion by the Islamasists that have risen to power. Showing up God!

That leaves those educated in a more liberal era/setting and its heartbreaking to see such people apply their knowledge propping up such a brutal government.

If and when this segment turns, the game is over for the Mullahs.

Re:Amazed it works (1)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765927)

Those liberally/scientifically educated chaps just might be under the spell of the Mullahs' moolah.

Re:Amazed it works (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766201)

The amazing thing is that there is enough intellectual firepower which supports this draconian regime to even dream up these 5 technologies.

Don't worry, there are plenty of bright-enough minds from outside Iran who think nothing about whoring themselves to do that, as long as there is a big fat steaming pile of money at the end.

Re:Amazed it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28767661)

You're thinking too small. It won't be individuals outside Iran but governments and corporations outside Iran. Funding and 'helping' both sides. Divide and conquer, two dogs fighting, that sort of thing. And yes, you're right about the whole thing being tribal.

HD 1 TB (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765897)

What if to move every day a hard-disk, say 1 or 2 TB, for sort of a http proxy via the border.

While outside the firewall, download on it websites, which may be of an interest and serve them from within of your office or home LAN.

Yes, so far, such a hard disk is still detectable. But if memory volume of a flash drives will continue to grow, I can imagine a point of time, when the whole Internet, or at least forbidden Internet, could be carried over the border on a minuscule flash drive. Which then is plugged into a proxy server and, voi-la, goodbye firewall.

True, it would be a read-only Internet. But it is better than nothing, and then a flash drive could be carried out of a fire-walled area and the Internet could be synchronized with this area.

So the concept is to use not a cable, which is controlled by the man, to transmit an information, but minuscule flash drives of high memory volume, which are physically moved over the border.

As for Iran, I would say, their internal social changes and problems, unavoidable in any society, still should not be used for own commercial and political hidden agenda by other more advance societies.

PoC for western countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28766241)

Comrade Conroy here in Oz will be onto that technology like a fat kid on a cup cake!

IP Blocks (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28766763)

Interesting that IP blocking would be the first item on the list. That alone should make all proponents of such blacklists even in self-declared democratic countries think very hard about it. Personally I am strictly opposed to it and I don't care if it's "just for child pornographers" as recently implemented in Germany. My experience has shown, that the people calling for, legislating and implementing such censorship technologies don't know where to stop. Once they have grabbed a tiny slice of power over other's, that power will increasingly corrupt them and they will push for more and more control over other people. Notice, how the 'lawmakers' always apply special protections to themselves in these regards so they are not targeted for spying and/or censorship. Therefore any such moves for censorship need to be diligently fought against and "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech"!

Eric S. Raymond! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28767655)

It's a good job we have someone sensible and balanced with an eye for the nuances of politics on the job, rather than a weirdo who has believed he's on a Jihadi hit-list since 2006 [ibiblio.org] , and who is packing a gun 24-hours-a-day loaded with bullets soaked in pork fat [nedanet.org] (maybe he thinks it makes them more effective in some werewolf-silver way, or maybe he's just really good at offending the people he says he's trying to help...)

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