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Jailbreaking the Internet For Freedom's Sake

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the until-the-next-patch-anyway dept.

Government 270

snydeq writes "With so many threats to a free and open Internet, sooner or later, people will need to arm themselves for the fight, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. 'If the baboons succeed in constraining speech and information flow on the broader Internet, the new Internet will emerge quickly. For an analogy, consider the iPhone and the efforts of a few smart hackers who have allowed anyone to jailbreak an iPhone with only a small downloaded app and a few minutes,' Venezia writes. 'All that scenario would require would be a way to wrap up existing technologies into a nice, easily-installed package available through any number of methods. Picture the harrowing future of rampant Internet take-downs and censorship, and then picture a single installer that runs under Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux that installs tor, tools to leverage alternative DNS servers, anonymizing proxies, and even private VPN services. A few clicks of the mouse, and suddenly that machine would be able to access sites "banned" through general means.'"

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For great justice? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868139)

For great justice?

Re:For great justice? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868281)

Burn down every police station and city hall in the nation.

Freedom's Sake? (0)

sycodon (149926) | about 2 years ago | (#38868745)

While not minimizing the possibility that the Federal government will go full throttle and do for the internet what it has done for most everything else (fuck it up beyond belief), I sincerely doubt that Paul Venezia and the like are actually very concerned with the concept of freedom and liberty as most of us understand it.

Rather, they are more concerned with the ability to download music, movies, programs, etc. for free.

Re:Freedom's Sake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38869261)

The problem is, once the laws for control are on the books, what's stopping the next guy to abuse the power?

Re:For great justice? (0)

carrier lost (222597) | about 2 years ago | (#38869011)

For great justice?


One thing I will never understand:

Mods without humor

They set you up the bomb, dude.

Achilles Heel (5, Insightful)

wanzeo (1800058) | about 2 years ago | (#38868141)

Any alternative internet technology relies on encryption, and as long as courts have to ability to require you to decrypt data upon request, any discussion of workarounds is pointless.

To really address the real problem, the laws themselves must be the focus.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868207)

While there are idiots in positions of power, there will be stupid laws.

The focus should be on the lawmakers, not the laws

Re:Achilles Heel (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868653)

And as long as idiots in desperate need of a reality check think they're smarter than everyone else, they'll keep insisting on such idiocies as piracy being free speech.

Re:Achilles Heel (4, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#38868783)

That is very true but the problem is the general populace doesn't give a shit. As long as they have access to FaceBook, Twitter, etc. they remain clueless on what virtual freedom means. They are too busy watching the Super Bow going apeshit over juvenile humor as nipplegate.

It is only the geeks that see the laws out of sync with the "moral compass" of society. Even an idiot can see that it absurd that you can't copy / share a number -- yet this is precisely what the laws says you can't do! Share a number which is a representation of reality (audio, video, text, algorithm) because somebody has asserted their "copyright" -- people don't want to talk about digital ownership being an artificial right based on the false belief of "scarcity."

People won't do something -- change the laws -- until they perceive somebody else's "rights" are stopping their privileges. Until then, a small majority will keep on exercising their civil disobedience by ignoring copyright.

Re:Achilles Heel (3, Informative)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 years ago | (#38868977)

"It is only the geeks that see the laws out of sync with the "moral compass" of society."

As a geek, allow me to say "Bwahahahahahahahahaha!!"

"Even an idiot can see that it absurd .... false belief of "scarcity.""

That is nowhere near as deep or as true as you think it is.

You have wrapped yourself in geek arrogance, which may or may not be deserved, and believe that it elevates your opinion to fact. It does not. There are a number of geeks on /. who do not believe as you do and I'll warrant are your intellectual equal without problem.

Climb down.

Re:Achilles Heel (3, Insightful)

Exit_On_Right (2466888) | about 2 years ago | (#38869251)

Well said. Unfortunately, the lot who are busy beating the broken drum of scarcity are making it difficult for the rest of us who are honestly interested in fair laws around IP.

Should IP be protected? Absolutely. I like that people get paid to be creative and provide me with entertainment. If we don't protect it and pay the people who created it (and yes, when necessary, distributed it), then we'll not have it anymore. To do that, the laws have to, and had to, change. And those laws must be enforced.

Piracy is out of hand today. As 'geeks', we've provided the public with the ability to break IP protection laws with impunity. It's not acceptable to the creators of such content, and it is not sustainable.

Now, that said, I'm fine with why it happened. It happened because of improved technology, and to be sure there are companies that reject the model on that basis alone. While I want to see legislation that will protect content owners, I would hate to see them protect and prop up those who fail to adopt their business models to match the new technology. But as long as people focus on something as stupid as the "scarcity" defense, we're not going to convince the lawmakers, content owners, or even the general public that a fair version of these laws would do good. They will see us as thieves, looking to use a loophole to rationalize our theft.

Re:Achilles Heel (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38869255)

Shut the fuck up, jackass.

Re:Achilles Heel (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38869319)

Barack Obama and his 82 IQ is his intellectual equal.

Re:Achilles Heel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868253)

If you are breaking the law accessing banned websites, why would you care if you are breaking the law by not turning over decryption keys?

When encryption is criminalized, only criminals will use encryption.

Re:Achilles Heel (1, Offtopic)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#38868585)

oh, I can think of so many analogies...

cartridge-load sidearms: illegal if you're a civilian, not if you're a police officer or a soldier on duty. Police officers and soldiers are therefore criminals.
Tasers: illegal if you're a civilian, not if you're a police officer. Police officers are criminals.
Class A drugs: illegal if you're not a pharmacist or prescribed user. Pharmacists and prescribed users are criminals.

Oh, the doozy:

Any blunt or sharp tool, hand drawn or powered, that is used in carpentry or metalwork or masonry or food preparation: illegal if you're not on site and actually using it. All metalworkers, carpenters, masons, builders, hobby mechanics, bicycle repairers and housewives are criminals.

Mod me down. I double dare ya! :)

Re:Achilles Heel (2)

NIN1385 (760712) | about 2 years ago | (#38868807)

When freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will have freedom.

Re:Achilles Heel (5, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#38868865)

When marriage is outlawed, only outlaws will have inlaws.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868857)

You're missing the point. He's not saying that people who are legally allowed to use things are criminals. He's saying that people who are criminals don't care what the law says; they will use it anyway if needed. And since someone accessing an "illegal" website is already a criminal, why would they give the court their passwords/keys?

Edit: captcha is miseries... miseries, indeed.

Re:Achilles Heel (5, Insightful)

Lundse (1036754) | about 2 years ago | (#38868265)


"Upon request", as you say. "Courts". Ie. within a legal framework, subject to rights, seizure and eventually your own compliance.

The danger we are trying to avert, is the disappearance of the need for those things. Of course the evildoers can always get a death squad or a court order - but they cannot automatically spy on everyone and aggregate the results, nor keep us from doing and saying what we want.

That, not immunity from due process, is what we are looking for.

Re:Achilles Heel (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#38868579)

Then while we're at it, we should probably double-check just to make sure that the due process really truly is due. Remember that the US DoJ has had a few nasty smears on its track record when it comes to electronic surveillance [] . We need a less corruptible set of rules for arbitration in these cases.

Perhaps an all-knowing artificial intelligence would do the trick...

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

Lundse (1036754) | about 2 years ago | (#38868759)

Don't get me wrong - I am all for improving the justice system, fair laws, etc. etc.

I am just not a fan of trusting either. Especially not the lawmakers - as they are a single point of failure, and easily (and already) bought.

I would rather live in a world where any and all regimes (however legitimate, fair, corrupt or not they may be) will need to secure me, my cooperation and my property before they can listen in on my conversations, check what I do on my computer or strip away my anonymity.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868315)

The basic infrastructure of your internet needs to be controlled by the government. As long as private interests own the "tubes" that data flows through, there will be someone after controls that favour their interests, and they will always be imposing rules that suit them.
Co-operative infrastructure is also a viable alternative to privately-controlled infrastructure. If it is *your* infrastructure, then others' rules carry far less weight.

Re:Achilles Heel (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#38868765)

I don't trust private owners, and I don't trust the government. I'm undecided which one I trust least. Cooperatives don't really scale well. The best option I see is to make it technologically difficult for whoever controls the tubes to abuse their power: If all the data is encrypted, and they can't decrypt it, what can they do? Worst they might achieve would be blocking by address, but that's a modest level of evil compared to what they could do if the data were not encrypted.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 2 years ago | (#38869153)

I don't trust private owners, and I don't trust the government. I'm undecided which one I trust least.

Don't sweat it. They're the same thing. Two sides of one coin. The lack of one precludes the existence of the other.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#38869301)

Cooperatives don't really scale well.

Really? There are at least a handful of large, well run coops out there. Ocean Spray cranberries is the one that comes immediately to mind since they are local to where I grew up. $1.4 billion in sales might not equal Google's revenue, but it does show that large cooperatives can thrive.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 years ago | (#38869097)

The basic infrastructure of your internet needs to be controlled by the government.

Oh hell no.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#38868341)

Perhaps more to the point, it has been abundantly demonstrated that your average user doesn't have the slightest ability to distinguish between a trojan and a legitimate application(to be fair, most 'geeks' aren't too much better off, in terms of technical analysis; but at least they sometimes know where to go for advice).

Court orders are boring and sometimes require public disclosure to get. Spamming the internet with dozens of variants of "PHUCK the MAN Anon-t00lk1t l33t.exe" and "Ultimate untraceable blackhat.iso" bugged to send some of that fancy encrypted traffic straight to the boys in Quantico with the little curly ear-wires is easy...

If it comes to it, you can always get a court order(or a black bag and a charter flight from North Carolina [] ; but if the history of cutekittensand/orporn.jpeg.exe is anything to go by, it will be much, much, easier to just start spreading malware disguised as tools for na'er-do-wells.

Re:Achilles Heel (4, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | about 2 years ago | (#38868365)

courts have to ability to require you to decrypt data upon request

True, but irrelevant. First, caching aside, how many people store their communications? The courts can't force you to do something you can't do. Second, the endpoints are (currently, typically) not encrypted anyway. Third, under SOPA it's not illegal to access the sites, just for DNS to return their IP and for Google (and who?) to list them in search results.

The biggest hurdle is that Tor sucks and most people won't want to use their bandwidth to act as a router for anonymous traffic.

I do agree with your conclusion though: laws should be the focus.

Re:Achilles Heel (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868477)

There are technologies like ssh and ssl where the end user has zero clue what the session key is.

Mod Parent up! (4, Interesting)

BitterOak (537666) | about 2 years ago | (#38868715)

I was just about to make the very same point myself. It's called Perfect Forward Secrecy [] . Use protocols in which the users do not have the ability to decrypt content after the session ends. Courts can't require you to do the impossible.

Re:Mod Parent up! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868859)

They will legislate away that ability too.

Re:Mod Parent up! (3, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#38868861)

Courts can't require you to do the impossible.

Yes, they can. And no matter how much you try to prove you can't, they can still charge you for noncompliance to their orders. It's called contempt of court, and the judge can make you rot in a cell until you do comply. No jury, no bail, no nothing.

Re:Mod Parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38869467)

Courts can't require you to do the impossible.

Yes, they can. And no matter how much you try to prove you can't, they can still charge you for noncompliance to their orders. It's called contempt of court, and the judge can make you rot in a cell until you do comply. No jury, no bail, no nothing.

The answer here is to make certain that judges and politicians behind all the evil crap these days end up watching their families butchered in front of them before dying slowly and painfully themselves, with full video posted on foreign-hosted video sites for all the world...and other judges/ see.

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

Government needs to start fearing the people once again.

Re:Mod Parent up! (1)

gknoy (899301) | about 2 years ago | (#38869469)

In the case where you've taken technical measures to ensure that it's impossible, I wonder if you'd be able to use an expert witness to show that it is indeed impossible.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#38868621)

How about an open wifi mesh network?

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 2 years ago | (#38868689)

Given that these are useless for anything "Internet"-related, I don't know... what about them?

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

deroby (568773) | about 2 years ago | (#38868793)

it might work for urban and even sub-urban locations, but I think we'll need more than ordinary /cantenna/'s to cross the Atlantic =P

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#38868777)

Soon as you find a way to route between a few million nodes without central management and in a highly dynamic network.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 years ago | (#38869149)

I've been experimenting with a few commodity routers (that can support open-wrt or dd-wrt) for just such a purpose. Do you have any good references? I'm envisioning some roof-top and tree-mounted self-contained set of router/repeaters than can run off a small battery and solar charger...

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

sohmc (595388) | about 2 years ago | (#38869515)

I seem to remember there was some slashdot story with just this premise. I can't seem to find it though...

I think this would a be a great "internet alternative" but nowhere near robust as the current internet. We would need to find a way where the average user (e.g. some dumb fool) to connect to it and get the information they want.

However, I don't see legit businesses (e.g. banks, stores, etc) using this.

Re:Achilles Heel (2)

elrous0 (869638) | about 2 years ago | (#38868739)

It's not so much a technological problem as it is a social one. It's not a question of whether you can bypass the blocks or not, it's more a question of whether you're willing to suffer the consequences if you get CAUGHT with illegal bypass/proxy/VPN software. Many people are willing to TALK freedom, a much smaller number are willing to get the shit kicked out of them by a cop or get thrown into jail or prison for a few years for actually EXERCISING it.

There will always be ways to bypass oppression, but will the masses be willing to risk the consequences of using them?

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#38868743)

Courts are rather slow, and not very secretive - the suspect will know about the efforts against him. You can't use mass-monitoring if you have to ask everyone to decrypt their data for you.

Re:Achilles Heel (2)

MartinG (52587) | about 2 years ago | (#38868935)

I have much less of a problem being asked by a court to decrypt data than being censored abrtitrarily at the say-so of random large media companies.

It's not just the courts either, they'll ban it. (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#38869035)

And anyone caught with it will be treated as a child pornographer and will be attacked by vigilantes.

Re:Achilles Heel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38869039)

I still don't understand like someone else here said deep in this thread, how copying ones and zeros is a crime. As long as I'm using it in my home and not selling it for profit in some manner, what is the problem? Is it illegal for me to draw pictures of Voltron or Super Mario Brothers down to the exact detail that their copyrighted versions appear to be and then hang them up on my wall? If I were selling these pictures on eBay then of course that would be illegal but seriously? Copying a string of 1's and 0's, or 'pirating media' is considered stealing?? I can see the gray line here but it comes down to this in my opinion, if one has the means to conjure up an exact replica of a thing and wishes to use it for his own personal nonprofit enjoyment, he should be allowed to do so.

it's not about connectivity, it's about accessibil (5, Interesting)

mapkinase (958129) | about 2 years ago | (#38868159)

it's not about connectivity, it's about accessibility: presence in the search results, being properly indexed.

There could be million free pages under any super-free Internet. What's the point of it if nothing could be found?

Main battle is going to be around google search results and there have been several front pages on that: content providers are already fighting with google.

If a movie is getting NC-17 rating, forget about profit (in this case most rightfully so, that's Islam speaking).

If a website is accessible only via Tor, forget about business.

Imagine isntead of banning megaupload website were still accessible through Tor or some other kind of superfreeandsecretnet. Do you really think Dotcom would be leaving in 22M mansion?

Re:it's not about connectivity, it's about accessi (5, Insightful)

DocBoss (956304) | about 2 years ago | (#38868353)

People go where the content is. If The Pirate Bay were only accessible over the Tor network there would be tons more traffic there, thus more information on how to access it. If enough content were only accessible over Tor soon there would be extensions for web browsers that would make it as easy to get there as any other site.

Re:it's not about connectivity, it's about accessi (5, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38868863)

As a darknet I2P is clearly superior to Tor, both in speed and security - Tor still relies on trusted directory servers while I2P is fully distributed and requires no trusted servers of any kind. Tor is better as an anonymizing proxy.

Re:it's not about connectivity, it's about accessi (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#38868815)

The way I see it, accessibility loss is just a precursor to connectivity loss. When ACTA fails to stop piracy what do you think they're going to do next? It's not two separate problems, just two degrees of the same problem.

Re:it's not about connectivity, it's about accessi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868825)

There are already millions of pages on the internet. And guess what? There are very few that make it on Google's first page. Which in essence means, they don't exist. But they still do, and they still have traffic. Not the same, true, but not exactly on the edge of oblivion.

And Tor isn't successful for two reasons, people don't understand YET that the free internet is in danger, and second, it should come as an firefox applet, with two check boxes, "I want to host a Tor server", "Enable Tor", and two buttons, OK and Cancel.

Tool Number One (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868163)

Re:Tool Number One (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#38868505)

Give me RFCs or give me death, I say!

Why cross-platform? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868187)

Are people so dumb now they can't pick from three or four installers the one appropriate to their system?!

If they are so dumb, doesn't this give us a chance to turn the clock back to August of '93 by leaving them behind?

(Tongue-in-cheek, of course, my love of freedom exceeds my loathing of noobs who refuse to educate themselves, and the more people using such a tool, the less feasible prosecuting everyone caught becomes.)

Re:Why cross-platform? (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#38868657)

Are people so dumb now they can't pick from three or four installers the one appropriate to their system?!

No; it's just that you've made the same ignorant mistake that many folks here on /. seem to: assuming that the majority of internet users are technically educated.

FYI, it's not 1993 anymore; thanks to commercialization and social networking, everyone from your mailman to your granny are accessing the internet these days. Many internet users are specialized in non technical fields, such as nursing or architecture. Your statement is akin to a doctor saying, "If you're too dumb to perform gastrointestinal surgery on yourself, why should I bother doing it for you?"

Yes, there are many, many people online these days who have little to no idea how the internet works, outside the knowledge that typing "" will take them to Google's search page. Maybe if you tried educating the noobs, instead of responding to their ignorance with your own, you wouldn't find them so loathsome.

Just my 2 pennies.

Re:Why cross-platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38869139)

I think it's fine if they don't understand the technical details of how computers and the internet work.

However, before using a computer (or before doing anything drastic, such as downloading random exe files and running them), they should at least learn how to use one. Far too many people fall into obvious traps (which is something that could have been avoided if they would have properly educated themselves). To give an analogy, it's like driving a car on the road with no supervision even though you have no idea how to drive a car.

Re:Why cross-platform? (1)

GillyGuthrie (1515855) | about 2 years ago | (#38869317)

Gastrointestinal surgery is a way too specific example in your metaphor. Anybody who can figure out how to download, install, and use a P2P client like bittorrent will already know what OS they're running (and henceforth which installer to use).

desired outcome (5, Insightful)

prgrmr (568806) | about 2 years ago | (#38868205)

I would go further and suggest that this is a desired outcome by both governments and content holders: to drive the subversives, the perceived anarchists, and in short, all of the non-mainstream consumer users of the Internet off of it into their own "underground". This keeps the nominal Internet "market" sanitized from both subversive content and disruptive behavior, as well as segregates the undesirables into their own sandbox where keeping an eye on them may not be easier, but lowers the degree of urgency for doing so.

Re:desired outcome (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#38868439)

Sort of a 'Cocteau Plan' for the internet.

"AT&T was the only ISP to survive the Internet Big Media Wars. Now all ISPs are AT&T!"

Re:desired outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868693)

Latest news, after the fast food war, Taco bell becomes a ISP. Buys up AT&T.

Keeping an eye on them wasn't the point. (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#38869065)

The point has been to try and control the flow of information not merely to watch it.

I'm fairly certain that the government has an eye on everybody who can write code. If you are a programmer you probably
at some point have an FBI file just as a gun owner or bomb maker would. Remember the government considers encryption to be a munition so what does that make a programmer?

Alternative (4, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#38868217)

I can see this tightening of regulation creating an all new internet that is build amongst non-profit communities and connected together in fashions so that no one owns the transmission means. Unlike today's internet which is essentially owned by oligarchy consisting of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon (i.e. Big Telecom) communities may end up either laying their own transmission lines or use multipoint wireless. This might just be the tipping point at which the pricing and collusion of Big Telecom leads to their ultimate demise and irrelevance.

Re:Alternative (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 2 years ago | (#38868729)

This could only happen after WWIII.

Re:Alternative (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about 2 years ago | (#38868979)

ISP's should be forced to either A) sell their infrastructure business to the people or a single private entity (government, which sucks from a privacy standpoint) or B) split off to a separate corporate entity (privacy might be better but competition is difficult when there is limited physical ways to connect and multiple suppliers; one supplier seems a better option) so that their infrastructure cannot be leveraged as part of their services package and all companies are on fair footing when it comes to bandwidth pricing.

There are pro's and con's to how the split-up is managed but I think either direction (public or private) the infrastructure ends up being in is preferable to the ISPs running it and their services.

Neologising the Wordnet (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#38868321)

Oh god, it burns.

...but in all seriousness: okay, Mr. Venezia, you can jailbreak it. Just be careful you don't brick it. No one needs a bricked Internet. While you're at it, can you install a SIM unlock, too? I hear the service provider that the Internet comes with is terrible.

Re:Neologising the Wordnet (2)

lennier (44736) | about 2 years ago | (#38869233)

you can jailbreak it. Just be careful you don't brick it.

I remember that game! Back before Space Invaders. Played like Pong.

Now if someone could Spacewar the Internet, that'd be something...

So yeah... (4, Interesting)

Lundse (1036754) | about 2 years ago | (#38868325)

...that is what Moglen et al have been saying all along: don't trust the lawmakers and people in power to make you free. Guarantee your freedoms one by one, by building them - free speech, anonymity, etc. can be engineered!

The question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868369)

And who trusts Tor anyways?

Vidalia bundle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868445)

From TFA:

and then picture a single installer that runs under Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux that installs tor, tools to leverage alternative DNS servers, anonymizing proxies, and even private VPN services.

It ain't a picture. This software already exists, look for example vidalia ( ). I'd say this bundle is unnecessary for most GNU/Linux users (we have package managers) but still handy if we need to quickly deploy anonymizing software in a public machine.

Re:Vidalia bundle (4, Interesting)

hughbar (579555) | about 2 years ago | (#38868687)

Yes agree, tor + freenet + GPG etc. are the basis for something useful. However 'they' own the pipes and country to country gateways, for example. So the new, new thing will really be from the bottom up and may be quite retro to start with. I've been looking backwards at fidonet, packet radio and gopher, for example. Also been thinking about biomimetic systems where the keys, for example are transmitted on one medium and the 'doors' on another, via something that spectrum hops.

This sounds very tinfoil hat stuff but I've been around servers since Prestel, Minitel in France, BBS systems with modems and the current outlook just seems pretty bad. That is intuition rather than science, but really doesn't feel good at all. Even if we 'keep' the internet, it becomes something worse than television.

Re:Vidalia bundle (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#38869547)

I'd say this bundle is unnecessary for most GNU/Linux users (we have package managers) but still handy if we need to quickly deploy anonymizing software in a public machine.

It's better to use the bundle. Information is leaky, and you can easily forget to toggle some obscure configuration option and blow your cover. If anything, browser fingerprinting [] is an excellent reason to use the bundle. Everyone using the bundle should have the same fingerprint, so your identity is more obscure than if you used your daily work browser which is probably identifiable.

Tor started off as a stand alone application. Then they started distributing the torbutton plugin, and deprecated the stand alone applicaion because it was too leaky. Now torbutton is deprecated because that was still too leaky. I expect this Videla bundle to be deprecated eventually, and they'll distribute VMs with browser, proxy, plugin and full disk encryption already enabled. That should be as leak free as possible.

YES! (2, Interesting)

The End Of Days (1243248) | about 2 years ago | (#38868455)

Awesome, because nothing is more important than ensuring our supply of free entertainment continues.

Oh, I'm sorry, I mean dissident thought. Yeah, totally. Not first-run movies and PS3 game images at all. This is about freedom.

Re:YES! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#38868795)

Use both. Pirates and dissidents may have different goals, but they need the same tools. What one deveops, the other can use.

Re:YES! (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#38868867)

In a free society, piracy can happen.

In a society where no piracy can happen, it cannot possibly be free.

I leave it up to you to figure out how to reconcile a free society with one where piracy cannot happen.

Re:YES! (1)

JWW (79176) | about 2 years ago | (#38869119)


Free Speech >> IP Piracy Enforcement

a nobel thought but,,, (1)

phrostie (121428) | about 2 years ago | (#38868461)

as Tor's own site will say, having the software is only one step. you have to change your habits.
it also requires the entry and exit to be trusted.

Re:a nobel thought but,,, (2)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | about 2 years ago | (#38868631)

it also requires the entry and exit to be trusted.

No it doesn't. The whole point of TOR is that the only way to determine who is doing what is for the nodes to collude with one another (although there are traffic analysis attacks that ISPs can do if they can see all the traffic through all the nodes).

private VPN services? (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#38868531)

VPNs [] are private by definition.

Re:private VPN services? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868947)

In transit. Not if the endpoints are compromised.

FBI physically seizes servers... (2)

t4ng* (1092951) | about 2 years ago | (#38868559)

Kind of difficult to connect to servers that are unplugged and sitting in a guarded evidence closet somewhere.

Re:FBI physically seizes servers... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#38869347)

Tor hidden services are pretty hard to locate. Of course, a hidden service that operates on the scale of Megaupload will be pretty easy to locate...

Pointless if there's no content (4, Interesting)

randizzle3000 (1276900) | about 2 years ago | (#38868595)

The other problem is that people might stop creating these great sites/services because you can't "just browse" to them or venture capitalists won't fund the startup. Anonymity and an underground internet is useless if all the cool stuff is just taken down (as opposed to blocked) or even worse, never created in the first place. For example, can we secretly get to megaupload now? What about it's competitors that have disabled file sharing?

Must be nice. (1)

John Courtland (585609) | about 2 years ago | (#38868607)

It must be nice to be so retardedly rich that you can be ignorant as hell like this fellow and not have to give a shit.

How about back to basics? PGP 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868663)

What the first step is to do is encrypt communications, then worry about the medium the bytes are flying over, be it E-mail, IM, FB messages, FB walls, tweets, or smoke signals. To do this, we need to go back to basics with a web of trust, and PGP (technically PGP or gpg, but will use PGP for clarity's sake.)

Once people have a web of trust in place, where Alice can fetch Bob's PGP key from a keyserver, find that there are trust links from that key to people Alice knows who are not goobs, then she can send a message to Bob, and no matter how compromised the system is underneath, it will be secure.

With RIPA where a judge can ask someone 20 times in a row for a key, and if said magistrate gets 30 "no"'s, can toss someone in pretty much for life, and the US courts demanding encryption keys, the next step is to use functionality put in PGP over 15 years ago -- have one signing key, and change decryption keys out fairly often. This way, expired decryption keys can eventually be deleted. This also lets someone hand a key over to the guy in the XKCD ad with the $5 wrench without loss of knees, elbows, or brain tissue, but still maintain security.

The rub is that not just people using this for sensitive communication need to use PGP; EVERYONE does, even if it is just a message on FB to a friend telling them how awesome smelling their cats fart after feeding them curly fries from Jack in the Box. Once people start using envelopes for their communication, it will bring security to a higher level. Hell, PRZ detailed exactly this in the PGP introduction over 20 years ago.

It boils down to this: Do you do your own encryption with your own keys, and your own trust, or do you trust that some for-profit group whose interests are likely not in your security to do it for you?

Re:How about back to basics? PGP 101 (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#38868839)

For everyone to use encryption, it needs to be made so easy that they don't even need to know what encryption is. Like with SSL - all people need to know is that if their banking site doesn't show a padlock icon, something is suspicious. That probably means accepting 'good enough' encryption for a lot of things - encryption that could be broken by a fairly advanced MITM attack, but which is sufficiently annoying to the evesdropper so as to render mass-monitoring impractical.

Encryption use = suspicious. (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#38869087)

Anyone who uses encryption will be flagged as some sort of pedophile or terrorist. So encryption is not the answer.

tl;dr version: assume the internet is like UDP (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#38868667)

ie, filled with errors, out of sequence, dropped and maybe even faked packets (I know, that goes beyond what UDP is supposed to do).

but assume that the network is evil and fake and someone is always trying to do bad things (listen, change, realtime trap-on, etc) and write your layered app protocols on top of THAT assumption.

its a good assumption, in fact. if you assume your transport is bad and your app fills the gap to make the end to end connection, *now*, reliable and trustable, then you can deal with both honest and less-than-honest physical and logical transports (ethernet, atm, cable, dsl, etc).

the problem is that our protocols and apps have assumed no mess-ups internally in our networks. this is no longer true anymore! the evil bastards have gotton a hint of how cool our internet toy is and they want to pervert it to suit their will.

if we don't start taking a defensive posture on our network, we will LOSE control (arguable we have already) of our networks.

Re:tl;dr version: assume the internet is like UDP (1)

nani popoki (594111) | about 2 years ago | (#38868893)

And assume that all the available search engines are evil, too. Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.

Article is nonsense (2)

TobiX (565623) | about 2 years ago | (#38868683)

The money will always be in the "mainstream", or the particular mainstream of every place and time, by definition.

Megaupload exists because it makes money. It makes money because millions of people watch movies and download shit off it, not because it makes a few hackers "free" to share stuff.

No mainstream = no money = not *existing* in any noticeable capacity.

Join my darknet today (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868713)

When goatse is banned from the internet, you can come to my underground internet bunker to see the last surviving jpeg.

Hold on Tight (1)

carrier lost (222597) | about 2 years ago | (#38868957)

Picture the harrowing future of rampant Internet take-downs and censorship, and then picture a single installer that runs under Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux that installs tor, tools to leverage alternative DNS servers, anonymizing proxies, and even private VPN services. A few clicks of the mouse, and suddenly that machine would be able to access sites "banned" through general means.'"

Kind of breath-taking when you contemplate it.

Given that the "War on Sharing" is just getting started and will follow the arc of the "War on Drugs", expect the above along with:

  1. A nearly world-wide wireless mesh -network enabled by ubiquitous transponders in everything. T-shirts, car-keys, tennis balls, dog collars - solar/motion/thermal-powered chips automatically propagating every signal they can receive to the utmost of their ability.
  2. Attempts by the faceless, unaccountable corpo-governments to outlaw this "smart dust" or counteract it with jammers.
  3. The dystopian future we've been promised for decades by sci-fi writers. One with flying cars, immortality, 24-hour surveillance and secret laws.

Of course, the question will become - are you with the Empire or the Alliance?

fri5t 4sot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38868963)

and easy - o'nly uncover a story Of escape them by

It's the sites, not the access (2)

Kurt Granroth (9052) | about 2 years ago | (#38869015)

The problem with this approach is that it focuses on the end user's connectivity and not the effect such laws would have on the web sites themselves. Who cares if you have unfettered access to all sites when the sites don't exist due to legal threats.

Let's take Slashdot as an example. Say something like SOPA/PIPA/ACTA/etc eventually succeeds and it becomes very easy to shut down any website with just a suggestion of copyright infringement on the site. That is, if somebody posted a link to The Pirate Bay in the comments, then somebody else could get Slashdot as a whole effectively shut down as a result. And yes, that's what could happen with laws such as SOPA.

What do you think happens to sites like Slashdot in an environment like this? The only reasonable response would be to drastically limit, if not eliminate, all user comments.

Meanwhile, the Slashdot user deftly installs the circumvention software and is easily able to get to Slashdot... but who cares? Without the comments, the entire site has only marginal value.

That's why circumvention software is only a tiny part of a workaround and one that will eventually fail. It's the sites that need to be protected, not the access.

Current trends... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#38869057)

... aren't in home desktop machines or laptops. They're in 4GWhatever smartphones. Those are what's being pushed now. Your nifty installer might work on a desktop or laptop or even one of the few surviving netbooks, but let's see it work on a smartphone and still have plenty of storage space to do useful stuff with. And be prepared to pay out the ass for your data plan.

And what you gonna do with that pirated data you do manage to download onto your home machine? What's to stop antivirus makers from adding the hashes of popular movies to their virus databases, with appropriate scary-sounding descriptions ('FuzzyWuzzy virus detected! Multiple incidents! Clean these? ')?

Re:Current trends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38869161)

Even more ominous, what would happen if on the heels of ACTA/SOPA/PIPA, a law being passed forcing all Internet connected hosts to have a hardware enforced DRM stack, with checks to ban machines that fail this healthcheck.

It would be trivial to turn on NAC, and force home router makers to enforce it (or be disconnected by the ISP.) A program just like an antivirus could be put in a hypervisor and look for signatures. Instead of viruses, it would check for hashes of copyrighted items, as well as tools like PGP, and would not just disable the computer, but alert the authorities of the violation.

Whiskey rebellion all over again (4, Insightful)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#38869083)

And yet we have people running covert operations to let corn rot and then distill the runoffs. They have to hideout in the woods to perform one of the simplest operations you can do with fire and liquid. The laws are justified and sold, claiming that they protect people from bad alcohol, when we all know it is about tax revenue.

In 1914, the federal government went on record outlawing a weed that covered the banks of the Potomac. A huge cadre of policemen have since been converted to an army to prevent people from talking stupid and getting the munchies. The claim is that marijuana is a "gateway" drug, when we all know that the taxed alcohol the authorities allow is the real gateway drug.

Anyone that calls these regimes into question is labeled with an outlaw, rebel, or some other less than "proper society" title. Any politician that claims that it is a matter of personal liberty is called "bat shit crazy" when they aren't being completely ignored.

Why, oh why, would anyone think that the powers that be would allow an alternative internet? "If you're on the alternative internet, it must be because of child pornography!!! Or you might be a terrorist! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" The excuse to bust down doors to lock people up for talking in chatrooms is prepared already, and the people have been conditioned to swallow it already.

You can't run forever (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#38869089)

While circumventing censorship is better than nothing this is not technical problem but a legal one. We need to stand up against censorship on the streets, not on some dark unknown meshnet.

Hard drive companies should fund this (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#38869147)

If it weren't for pirated content, few people would need big hard drives. I mean, really, a terabyte on the desktop?

It's really hard to fill a big hard drive without pirating stuff. I was just looking at my hard drive space consumption. I have on it:

  • A copy of the disk of every computer I've owned back to 1997.
  • Source code archives for everything I've written since then.
  • Backups of all my web sites, including the databases.
  • A MySQL database of every business in the US and UK. (This is a purchased product.)
  • A MySQL database summarizing every SEC filing since 2000.
  • All the records for our DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle, including source code archives, data logs and video.
  • Cygwin, with most of the GNU development tools.
  • Autodesk Inventor Suite, which is about 2 DVDs worth of software. (This is a benefit of a TechShop membership, incidentally.)
  • Multiple versions of mechanical designs in Inventor format. (One copy of one design is 36MB.)
  • Short animations from my days in physically based animation software, with all the files used to create them.
  • 12 years of email.

This all adds up to about 200GB.

If it weren't for piracy, the hard drive industry would be a lot smaller.

fight back (2)

Phoenix666 (184391) | about 2 years ago | (#38869327)

The *AA's have declared war on the free internet, and governments everywhere are getting on board with that after seeing the Arab Spring use its tools to overthrow their governments and generally stop doing what they're told. We saw with the SOPA protest how effective we can be when we work together, because there are vastly more of us than there are of them.

What we need to do now is to take it to the next level and take the fight to them. Revising copyright is probably a good place to start because there is a greater degree of public awareness about it now. If we push for the complete abolition of the notion of copyright, and push very hard, then the *AA's will be put on the defensive.

More generally we need to expunge government of the clueless, supine creatures who lay down for all this nonsense as well as the pure evil who are screwing us with full awareness of the damage they're doing. With the advent of additive manufacturing this same set of issues is about to spread to every industry, and it's going to intensify with those larger stakes. We can see a new era of human freedom or unprecedented repression, but we won't tilt the balance in our favor unless we all fight hard.

MPAA is not comfortable with revenue (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 2 years ago | (#38869337)

Even saying they're "uncomfortable with the Internet" is to drink the Koolaide. The long-term and repeated historical trend has been that they're uncomfortable with sales, and this time the threat that people will shove more money down their gullets than the Hollywood companies can handle, is just as grave, and they are fighting it just as tenaciously.

Part of me wants to say there's one difference, which is that this time they are winning and achieving the goal of lowering their revenue -- driving people toward piracy because they refuse to offer the files themselves. But that's only a personal perspective and when you look at the actual numbers, it's not true: revenues are continuing to increase.

So once again, even the MPAA can't fuck this up, and they're gagging on the money that we force them to consume against their will.

The issue everyone needs to face, is whether you will disregard their choking noises like a coward at an accident scene, or if you'll be compassionate and help them achieve their long sought-after goal? Are you going to callously defy the MPAA and keep sending money for broken DRMed shit to be earmarked for the purchase of more absurd laws, or are you going to join their leaders in the effort to drive MPAA companies out of business?

I know that their suicide sounds like an insurmountable mountain, a futile effort which has stood the test of many, over decades of repeated attempts. Even the mighty Valenti couldn't prevent the movie rental market; if he, a figure of legend in modern times, couldn't bankrupt the studios, what hope do we the people have now, led by our pathetic Dodd? All I can say is take heart: if we all pull together, We Can Do This!

The Internet Jailbreak is EASY... (1)

joenospamblo (987387) | about 2 years ago | (#38869449)

Let the Censors be hoist on their own petard...

TOR for network transport
Encrypted/Signed DNS local DNS proxy for locating public network resources
Anonymous TOR DNS for locating encrypted network resources
Bittorrent for distributed storage and data transport
Overlay protocols for WEB, MAIL, CHAT, Internet Phone, etc that never leave the TOR network
with local proxy/forwarders and distributed servers or no servers at all
Exit Node proxies with white-lists for Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc.
All wrapped up in a simple to use installer for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Unix, IOS and Android.
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