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Cubans Evade Censorship By Exchanging Flash Drives

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the sneakernet-or-sneakynet dept.

Censorship 171

concealment sends this quote from an article about evading internet censorship with the sneakernet: "Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez on Saturday told newspaper publishers from around the Western Hemisphere that 'nothing is changing' in Cuba’s ossified political system and that 'the situation of press freedom in my country is calamitous.' But Sanchez said underground blogs, digital portals and illicit e-magazines proliferate, passed around on removable computer drives known as memory sticks. The small computer memories, also known as flash drives or thumb drives, are dropped into friendly hands on buses and along street corners, offering a surprising number of Cubans access to information. 'Information circulates hand to hand through this wonderful gadget known as the memory stick,' Sanchez said, 'and it is difficult for the government to intercept them. I can't imagine that they can put a police officer on every corner to see who has a flash drive and who doesn't.'"

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171 comments

Matrix quote (-1, Offtopic)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#43220751)

"Hallelujah. You're my savior, man. My own personal Jesus Christ."

Re:Matrix quote: YET each USB has a SERIAL NUMBER. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43220967)

So it's a trivial process by the O.S. to determine who has every used a particular Thumb-drive, now add virus scanning software which uploads serial numbers and MD5 signatures of all files then you'll realize that you're screwed.

Re:Matrix quote: YET each USB has a SERIAL NUMBER. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221039)

Dont use an installed os and use a bootable disc os instead.

Re:USB Serial Number changer plz (1)

u64 (1450711) | about a year ago | (#43221865)

Can we change Serial Numbers then? I'm been looking for a simple command-line program for this.
Just for the fun to see if it's even possible, or if it's set in stone in hardware... im curius.

  "Help me internet - you're my only hope"

A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (5, Interesting)

pollarda (632730) | about a year ago | (#43220773)

The delivery speed of these underground blogs is actually not bad. A memory stick with 64GB of material -- a whole library that would take a lifetime to read -- can be walked across town in less time than it would take to beam it across Cuba's slow Internet. What's more, it can be read at one's convenience is virtually impossible for someone to snoop and see what they are reading (ala Facebook / Google / Feds). It is amazing at how fast data is moved around nowadays compared to the last few thousand years For example, the KJV Bible is 4.35MB in size and it used to take the scribes a year to make a single copy. It would also cost a centurion's annual salary. (I studied Near Eastern Archeology in school.) Now, many times that amount of data can be copied in mere moments. An entire "subversive" library in Cuba can spread like wildfire even at walking speeds.

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (3)

deburg (838010) | about a year ago | (#43220879)

... the KJV Bible ... it used to take the scribes a year to make a single copy. It would also cost a centurion's annual salary.

Eh? Wasn't the KJV Bible published in 1611? There were still Roman Centurion's then? Or are ye refering to the Byzantine (East Roman Empire)?

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (1)

pollarda (632730) | about a year ago | (#43220909)

It is of course a translation of Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. That is what took a year to copy.

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43221431)

A bit silly, in a way... I've seen people devote huge effort to arguing over exactly what it was Jesus said or meant, analysing small details of phrasing in the greek, but they seem almost ashamed to admit that the greek text they have is itsself a translation. Jesus would have spoken in hebrew, but the words he said are long lost now.

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43221503)

This thread needs a Michael Hart [wikipedia.org] reference.

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43221583)

Which one?

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (4, Informative)

pollarda (632730) | about a year ago | (#43221941)

There is actually a copy of Matthew in Hebrew and if appears as if the Greek text comes from it. It was preserved by a series of Jewish scholars who wrote nasty notes in the margins and they used it as they argued against Christianity. Little did they know they were preserving the last Hebrew manuscript of Matthew. Funny how life works.

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43222087)

He was referring to a cylon centurion, of course.

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#43222315)

... the KJV Bible ... it used to take the scribes a year to make a single copy. It would also cost a centurion's annual salary.

Eh? Wasn't the KJV Bible published in 1611? There were still Roman Centurion's then? Or are ye refering to the Byzantine (East Roman Empire)?

Obligatory local fundy quote:

If the King James Bible was good enough for Moses, it's good enough for me!

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (4, Funny)

blindbat (189141) | about a year ago | (#43220889)

The centurion with access to the KJV would be an impressive story.

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (-1)

nazsco (695026) | about a year ago | (#43220931)

Yeah, the only problem is that girl never lived in Cuba.

I expect her interviews on lame right media, but now even here...

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (4, Informative)

jelizondo (183861) | about a year ago | (#43221111)

At least check your facts pal... You know Google is your friend...

Yoani was born in Cuba in 1975 and left the island in 2002; how's that for never lived in Cuba?

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (2)

worf_mo (193770) | about a year ago | (#43222349)

She also returned to Cuba [wikipedia.org] in 2004 and has been living there ever since.

Re:A Subversive Library at their Fingertips... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43222355)

but communism is the savior of the people!

who needs truth, justice and the American way (let alone spirituality)

Thesaurus game (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43220775)

How many word phrases do you know for a removable storage device?

Re:Thesaurus game (2)

Garridan (597129) | about a year ago | (#43220977)

More like, why does a "news for nerds" site spend a third of a paragraph telling us what thumb drives are?

Re:Thesaurus game (4, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43221517)

Needs to be differentiated from uSDHC, which is what we modern subversives use - it can be hidden under a stamp, in a cheek,tucked in an unlikely place, or just left in the camera. Probably foolishly trying to hide their methods.

Message from Cuba (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43220801)

I got this flash drive from a Cuban and was instructed to relay this message here.

Hello my friends,
I would have gotten first post if the stupid messenger got to the computer on time.

Regards
Anonymous Cuban

Re:Message from Cuba (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43221063)

Dear Anonymous Cuban,

We have your friend. He didn't want to give up your name at first, but after we broke a few of his fingers, he was able to provide us with a description and your whereabouts. We've decided not to pursue the matter, as trying to get first post on an imperialist dog's website isn't a problem for us. However, your friend would appreciate it if next time you didn't use his "no questions asked" courier service for such a trifling matter. When he gets out of jail in three years, you may wish to discuss this with him further.

Thank you Comrade,

The Cuban Government

Re:Message from Cuba (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43221683)

Dear Lisa,

As I write this, I am very sad. Our president has been overthrown and replaced by the benevolent general Krull. All hail Krull and his glorious new regime!

Sincerely,

Little Girl.

Re:Message from Cuba (1)

rvw (755107) | about a year ago | (#43221673)

I got this flash drive from a Cuban and was instructed to relay this message here.

Hello my friends,
I would have gotten first post if the stupid messenger got to the computer on time.

Regards
Anonymous Cuban

Did he run Linux?

Spreading situation (3, Interesting)

alantus (882150) | about a year ago | (#43220803)

With Venezuela's only remaining independent tv station stated to be sold to a government sympathizer next month, the country is going in the same direction as Cuba.

Re:Spreading situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43222615)

yeah, a success story of socialism over capitalism.

Hence both must be crushed.

TrueCrypt? (1)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | about a year ago | (#43220805)

Despite export controls, one has to wonder if they'd be better off protecting themselves w/ encryption on these drives, in case of undesired interception. It's unfortunate that encryption bans can't distinguish between malicious government intent and citizens avoiding the restrictions applied by the same oppressive government.

Re:TrueCrypt? (2)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year ago | (#43220825)

I am pretty sure a oppressive government would have no issue making the ownership of encrypted media a capital offense.

Re:TrueCrypt? (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year ago | (#43220833)

Also, obligatory [xkcd.com] .

Re:TrueCrypt? (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#43221317)

If a popular OS/distro encrypts a container file by default, that interrogation method becomes less effective.

Hence the bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/148440 [launchpad.net]

It could be layered - for instance the entire drive can be optionally encrypted. But the container file is always created and encrypted by default (unless you specifically deselect it).

yoani... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43220807)

What about her? She has lots of money (way more than any cuban can have), and lots of help by the CIA & friends (various "pro-USA" NGOs), she doesn't care about "censorship", she only cares about money. She's just a troll. But she won't say that, of course.
Poor Yoani! She can't talk! Except that that is bullshit, you can read her blog, her articles in international, US govt.-backed or associated, right wing media, she manages to get out of the country when she wants, etc. And she GETS PAID for doing that.
Let's not talk about most "journalists" and their "morals."
Seems like "defending cubans" and their "freedom of speech" is highly lucrative. I can only dream having her money...

Re:yoani... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43222501)

Sad, but true.

Solutions (2)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year ago | (#43220817)

Sometimes a big problem can have a simple solution.

QOTD (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43220863)

I can't imagine that they can put a police officer on every corner to see who has a flash drive and who doesn't.'"

Why not? The United States does [aclu.org] . We already have given the police broad authority to stop and search people for flash drives, mobile phones, or other electronic gear without warrant or cause. If a "free" country like the United States can do this, what makes people think Cuba can't (or won't)?

Not comparable (1, Insightful)

necro351 (593591) | about a year ago | (#43221021)

Every time someone posts about some awful dictatorship like Cuba, someone on Slashdot invariably equates them to the US. I like putting freedom in "scare quotes," that was a nice touch, but also really lazy. You basically did not have to substantiate or prove your point at all, yet you still got 3 points, phenomenal. I am sorry, but having to swap forbidden books using flash drives dwarfs whatever first-world problem crawled up your posterior and made you feel like you could ever possibly understand what it is like to live in a mind-controlling, life-or-death, blighted country like Cuba.

Re:Not comparable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221077)

Just because you don't see it does not mean that its not there...

BTW. I have a friend from Cuba and he likes the country. He feels that people (especially Americans) blow the problems out of proportion. According to him its a great country to live in as long as you follow the rules, same as anywhere. He lives in Sweden (married a Swedish girl) now but his family still lives in Cuba and he goes there to visit at least once a year.

Re:Not comparable (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#43222201)

... its a great country to live in as long as you follow the rules.....

The Devil is in the details, or in this case, the rules.

Re:Not comparable (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43221095)

but having to swap forbidden books using flash drives dwarfs whatever first-world problem crawled up your posterior and made you feel like you could ever possibly understand what it is like to live in a mind-controlling, life-or-death, blighted country like Cuba.

forbidden books [sjgames.com] , mind-controlling [wikipedia.org] , life-or-death [cnn.com] , blighted [freep.com] ...

whatever first-world problem crawled up your posterior [blogspot.com]

I rest my case, your honor.

Re:Not comparable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221177)

Well that's good because long dead programs and crazy conspiracy theories aren't much of a case.

Re:Not comparable (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#43221235)

It might be worse in cuba, but that doesn't make what he said about the USA incorrect. Hell, I wish he wasn't correct.

Re:Not comparable (4, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year ago | (#43221297)

It might be worse in cuba, but that doesn't make what he said about the USA incorrect. Hell, I wish he wasn't correct.

No, the fact that there are not police on every corner makes the original statement incorrect. If you are seeing this, I'd like to know your zipcode. Hell, my apartment complex alone has at least a half dozen law enforcement officers living there, yet I never see them patrolling the sidewalk in front of my dwelling (and my car got broken into once). Hyperbole is one thing; pretending the exaggeration is fact is quite another.

i was waiting for the false equivalency (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | about a year ago | (#43221293)

please note you just freely criticized the us govt, from within the usa, and no one stopped you, no one watch listed you, no one knocked on your door, no one cares

understand the difference?

you should. and you should value it. because it actually is a significant, material difference between the usa and repressive countries

in your whiny clueless post you have exercised a luxury many people in this world wish they had. and you don't even fucking notice. what does that say about your level of awareness and knowledge about the world?

the usa certainly has problems. the usa is certainly not perfect. but on this measure: freedom of expression, especially on religious and political matters, the usa is heads and shoulders above the likes of cuba

i am certain there are whiny clueless characters like you in china, iran, cuba, etc too

the difference between them and you is they are petrified with fear to say a damn thing about their governments

don't be ignorant and count your blessings

Re:i was waiting for the false equivalency (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43221529)

please note you just freely criticized the us govt, from within the usa, and no one stopped you, no one watch listed you, no one knocked on your door, no one cares understand the difference?

Well first, I'm behind 14 proxies. Good luck, assholes. Second, how do you know I didn't get watch listed? It's not like they're published. And I have gotten knocks on my door for criticizing my government... usually for campaign contributions. I know, ha ha, but more seriously, yes I've been visited by the police for criticism of the government. Oh I'm sorry, did that not fit with your worldview?

in your whiny clueless post you have exercised a luxury many people in this world wish they had. and you don't even fucking notice. what does that say about your level of awareness and knowledge about the world?

I think it says that I'm not above suspecting my own government of engaging in the same activities that every other government does, simply because the popular media tells me it doesn't happen here.

i am certain there are whiny clueless characters like you in china, iran, cuba, etc too

According to you, they don't exist, you know, since they're all in jail.

the difference between them and you is they are petrified with fear to say a damn thing about their governments

I seem to recall a major student uprising in Iran... something about the Spring... oh gee, if I wasn't so clueless and whiny, I might remember the name. Oh gosh darn it.

don't be ignorant and count your blessings

Yes. I'll count my blessings... let's see... gay rights? Don't got those. Non-discrimination in choice of housing? Don't got that either. Free healthcare? Yeah no, that's not on the list either. The right to be free of unreasonable searches? Nope... that one's dead. Uhh... the right not to have the President excercise unilateral authority to bomb me using a drone while I'm in my own house because of an unreleased and unknown secret memo that he drafted giving himself the power? Wait... checking... nope, that one's not there either! Well, damn. Do I at least have the right criticize my government? Actually, no. Something about the ability of the government to secretly declare certain areas "national interest zones" and then arrest anyone who protests there, with no prior notification to the public...

But please, you were saying?

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221965)

Mod parent up! I'm sorry you got downvoted. I was going to add a comment about the "no-fly-zones" added around wherever the president is flown, but those are usually covered by prior notifications as NoTAMs [wikipedia.org] and TFR's [wikipedia.org] (Temporary Flight Restrictions). Except for when the Prez makes an unscheduled flight and screws everyone over by landing at a major airport near other airports, effectively closing down that and the surrounding airport within 30 nautical miles for scheduled flights (10 nautical miles for unscheduled flights). They also put TFRs around big events like the Superbowl and televised golf classics (and also around big hollywood weddings to restrict helicopters used by paparzazi to photograph the stars).

Re:i was waiting for the false equivalency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43222373)

Yes and no. Natural rights are being eroded daily. Freedom of speech is pretty painless for the state to put up with mainly, especially when they are in bed with the major media outlets for the most part. Freedom of religion also isn't really what they care about in the main, when other freedoms are gone these things are easily done away with. I'm not saying these things are not important - of course they are, but these are things the state can effectively ignore when it's busy working on other things. Which they are.

Private property, a right indeed, necessary for the statist to take, most certainly. You have a lot less of this than your parents did, and their parents. Get me?

The right to keep and bear arms, now there's something your hard core statist just drools over putting a stop to; oh and they are hard at work it seems every day working on this huh? Check.

Fourth amendments against against unreasonable searches and seizures, of yea pretty important. Easy to forget, easy to lose this one.

I could go on but I won't.

Re:i was waiting for the false equivalency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43222541)

Awwwwhhhh!!! cute! you are so inocent...

Sneakernet Lives! (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#43220871)

I'm from the era in which 8" floppy diskettes were used and passed around. So here we are almost 4 decades later and Cuba's Sneakernet is saving the day. Glad to see it.

Re:Sneakernet Lives! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#43221119)

It's a lot easier to fit a flash drive up your ass, that's for sure!

Re:Sneakernet Lives! (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about a year ago | (#43221225)

You don't even need to do that - unless you're into that kind of thing. Some drives - micro SD - are so small you can fit them between your fingers and cops wouldn't see them.

Re:Sneakernet Lives! (1)

killkillkill (884238) | about a year ago | (#43221273)

Obligatory.

Not an issue for some [goatse.cx]


... when did that become an email service?

Re:Sneakernet Lives! (1)

Technician (215283) | about a year ago | (#43221141)

Sneakernet is still alive in the US. Check your kid's ipod. Where did he get the content? Most of it is likely from the Sneakernet. Many kids don't have the money to blow in iTunes.

Re:Sneakernet Lives! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221443)

Check your kid's ipod.

I'm sorry, I couldn't reproduce this step.

Re:Sneakernet Lives! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43221467)

I'm a school IT tech. We had to ban USB sticks because of the amount of illegal mp3s and games that were appearing in user folders. I'm sure they still run the school pirate network (good for them!), but it's no longer on our server now and thus Not My Problem.

Re:Sneakernet Lives! (1)

jelizondo (183861) | about a year ago | (#43221171)

You insensitive clod!

We had to pass around a stack of punched cards! And they were not easy to disguise from the police either...

Bah! Modern children, so spoliled... Floppy disks... Jesus! Get off my lawn!

(Note for the humor impaired: HTML does not recognize the <humorous> tag.

Okay hang on, (5, Funny)

Hermanas (1665329) | about a year ago | (#43220887)

I'm still not quite sure what this new-fangled device is they use in Cuba to pass along information. A "memory stick"? "thumb drive"? "Flash drive"? "removable" or "small" "computer memories"? This is all just too much, please explain using a car analogy.

Re:Okay hang on, (2)

MassiveForces (991813) | about a year ago | (#43220927)

+10 internets for making me burst out in random laughter at work

Re:Okay hang on, (2)

nazsco (695026) | about a year ago | (#43220941)

It's like a cabriolet covetable convertible spider topless targa car.

Clown car. (0)

neoshroom (324937) | about a year ago | (#43221045)

It is like a clown car; it fits a lot.

Cuba is also like a clown car. It's driven by silly people in circles.

__

Re:Clown car. (0)

worf_mo (193770) | about a year ago | (#43222379)

Cuba is also like a clown car. It's driven by silly people in circles.

Sounds awfully like G+

Re:Okay hang on, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221089)

Imagine a station-wagon full of data tapes barrelling down the highway, except much smaller.

Re:Okay hang on, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221129)

It's like this, the meme "Yo dawg." is real. They put a car in yo car, but it's a really tiny car.

Cuba is oppressive and stuff so their highways are no good for moving certain types of luggage. Cubans, being crafty, take out the tiny car and move it around on foot. Oddly enough, foot traffic has a higher luggage capacity than road traffic.

The end.

Re:Okay hang on, (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43221135)

This is all just too much, please explain using a car analogy.

Well, imagine a car driven by an angry man. That's cuba. Now imagine a semi truck. That's me. Now imagine you're standing in the middle of the road. You're the flash drive. Cuba tries to take the flash drive, but it's no match for my semi truck, so I run it over. Then I run you over, for asking for a car analogy. And everyone is satisfied, the end.

Re:Okay hang on, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221193)

It's small and removable compared to [most] computers in the way an 8-track cassette compares to a car

Doesn't this make them targetable with malware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43220933)

What better vector?

Re:Doesn't this make them targetable with malware? (1)

lkangaroo (2663383) | about a year ago | (#43221255)

You're targetable either way, although in cases like Cuba the propagation rate via Internet vs. flash drives is probably different than the rest of the world.

The practice of samizdat is alive and well (4, Interesting)

dido (9125) | about a year ago | (#43220955)

Similar techniques were used in the old Soviet Union and former eastern bloc countries, called samizdat [wikipedia.org] , except that with today's technology it's even easier. A US$40 64 GB flash drive can hold a lot of data, more text than a person could read in their lifetime, and to copy data from one to another would take only minutes. With a program like Truecrypt it even becomes possible to hide such incriminating data on it without anyone being the wiser. The only way to restrict this practice would be to ban or regulate all computers and computer equipment the way printers were, and I doubt that this is in any way feasible for Cuba.

In B 4 "How long before we have to do that here?" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221011)

But, seriously, with freedom of expression being attacked or chilled to silence, and government and corporate snooping on who says what and who looks at what, and insane laws for information sharing and consumption crimes...

INFORMATION IS THE NEW ILLICIT DRUGS!

We will need "mules" to carry information that should be legal across borders.

I forecast that porn will be the new marijuana -- where a few over-enthusiastic politicians might manage to make it illegal to possess or distribute, and a society convinced that's the right course, until decades pass, and new generations reverse the gross injustice.

Yoani Sanchez is not next door blogger (1, Troll)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#43221061)

Yoani Sanchez is obviously not an independent blogger, as she can afford translation of her blog in 20 languages. She must be backed by some bigger entity, but which one? And in what extent does she speaks for who is paying?

Re:Yoani Sanchez is not next door blogger (1)

jelizondo (183861) | about a year ago | (#43221197)

What? Never heard of volunteer translators?

I do translations for free, for people like Joel Spolsky and TED, neither of which is precisely poor.

Whatever it is you're smoking, please share.

Re:Yoani Sanchez is not next door blogger (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#43222633)

Well, at least the french version of wikipedia has the same questions (and note that even UN does not have as much translations), and some answers.

Re:Yoani Sanchez is not next door blogger (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about a year ago | (#43221251)

Jesus, dude - I'm fuckin' wasted, and even I can come up with Babelfish. For example, do you know that her "translations" are 100% semantically and idiomatically correct? Probably not. C'mon, mate. Try harder.

Re:Yoani Sanchez is not next door blogger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221475)

I'm having trouble understanding what you're saying. That's probably because having Lenin's, Marx's, Fidel's and Raul's cocks in your mouth all at once is playing hell with your enunciation.

Re:Yoani Sanchez is not next door blogger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221697)

Backed by the US, most probably. Or fishing for a green card. My impression is that they need not circumvent censorship as muchh as illegally exchange data to escape the insane sanctions Cuba is under.

Re:Yoani Sanchez is not next door blogger (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#43222203)

She is backed by USA, maybe CIA. Nothing really new.

more likely, private business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43222661)

You know, the private businesses that got kicked out of Cuba because they were so totalitarian that a popular uprising and revolt happened. Indeed, it was very very much the same as the USA when kicking out the UK (or later on, India's independence uprising against the UK, again).

They want their fiefdoms and slaves back. They want the billions to themselves, not to go to the people of Cuba.

So they push and create a fake controversy abroad and, genuinely, exhort treason against the state (which is illegal in EVERY country) and criminal attacks (much like the IRA in the UK) to try and throw out the POPULAR DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED government.

You know when you pretended you'd done some good in Gulf War 2 by proclaiming you were "bringing democracy to the middle east"? Well why are you so hell bent on removing democracy from Cuba and Venezuela? Is there only a limited amount of democracy and you want to save it up for the middle east?

Evade censorship or crapy network workaround? (2)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#43221075)

Perhaps flash drive helps evading censorship, but I wonder if the widespread usage could not just be a workaround for poor network coverage. Everyone use a flash drive when hit by network connectivity problems.

Works for other forms of repression as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221097)

Movies and music for example .....

Re:Works for other forms of repression as well (1)

peppepz (1311345) | about a year ago | (#43221417)

Yeah, the Cuban government could plant a few Mickey Mouse cartoons inside those USB sticks, wait for them to spread, then call some USA corporation and have them arrest, extradite and sue the owners for hundreds of thousands of dollars or the equivalent in jail-time.

JumpShot (4, Informative)

Ian Wojtowicz (2870477) | about a year ago | (#43221107)

I wrote some scripts for updating my offline Debian machine through a SneakerNet. Y'all might find it useful:

JumpShot [github.com]

Not that hard (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year ago | (#43221117)

I can't imagine that they can put a police officer on every corner to see who has a flash drive and who doesn't.

Bah. If the regime truly can't crack down on this in an effective way, it only indicates that they have grown spineless and unable to contemplate drastic measures. Here's how you deal with "flash drive samizdat":

1. Ban possession of flash drives, with very stiff penalties (e.g. capital punishment).
2. Do random spot pat-downs and dwelling searches. Also follow up on any tips.

The idea is to make getting caught a possibility - not likely, but not outlandish, either - and making it hurt really bad, so that most people would think twice before participating. It won't completely shut the network down, but it'll make it very small, and will exclude the majority of the population from having day-to-day access to it, which is good enough.

Alternatively, if you want people using computers, and need them to be able to own flash drives, require them to be registered, and make the possession of a drive not registered to you a crime with a very stiff penalty.

Re:Not that hard (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43221479)

If I were in charge of surpressing dissent, I'd add 3. Mandate all computers be sold with a government-approved antivirus program. As well as being a functioning (though hardly world-leading) antivirus, it also has a hash index of known subversive content. Upon detecting this, it immediately informs the government. Obviously this only works on internet-connected computers so it can download updates and report back violators, but those are also the ones you want to catch the most - people who can not only take part in the sneakernet, but also add new material or transfer incriminating files out of the country to a global audience.

Re:Not that hard (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year ago | (#43221881)

Pat downs are basically useless for this.

The smallest available form factor for flash memory is the MicroSD card ; which comes in capacities up to 64GB in a device the size of your fingernail, and can be concealed in any number of places - a roll of body fat, beside the gum in the mouth, taped to virtually any location on the body, inside a body cavity, tucked between any of the layers of a pair of sneakers, tucked into the hem of your coat, etc, etc.

Even the full sized USB thumbs are incredibly easy to conceal in a cavity. And what do you do about smartphones, MP3 players, etc, that all come with their own vast complement of flash RAM? Ban iPods?

Policing this is basically impossible, because the number of police you'd need to police it effectively would become uneconomical very rapidly. Even to dissuade this kind of sneakernet, you're talking random arrests and full strip-searches including X-ray and cavity search of a significant number of the population - which is yet more incitement to revolution.

I call BS (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221127)

Cubans aren't doing any of this. Why would they? They have free health care, the capitalist pig dogs were chased out so long ago most Cubans can't remember them, their per capita energy use is really low, high literacy prevails, they have no RIAA, no middle-east conflicts to fight... what would a Cuban possibly have to say that might offend one of their wonderful apparatchiks?

Commie-hating 'murikans around here, I swear.

Re:I call BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221879)

Cubans aren't doing any of this. Why would they? They have free health care, the capitalist pig dogs were chased out so long ago most Cubans can't remember them, their per capita energy use is really low, high literacy prevails, they have no RIAA, no middle-east conflicts to fight... what would a Cuban possibly have to say that might offend one of their wonderful apparatchiks?

Commie-hating 'murikans around here, I swear.

Yeah, but for some strange reason they keep throwing themselves in shark infested waters trying to escape all the happiness you just describe.

Never underestimate the bandwidth (2)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about a year ago | (#43221507)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a Yank Tank full of flash drives hurtling down the Carretera Central.

Geek fanboys are so naive and think backwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221633)

> Cubans Evade Censorship By Exchanging Flash Drives

No, the are not evading censorship, they are infecting their computers with some advanced USB-borne malware like Stuxnet. You see, nation states are NOT stupid, else they would not be continously in existance for something like 5000 years.

Re:Geek fanboys are so naive and think backwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43222229)

Egypt?

TOR?! (2)

Zeroedout (2036220) | about a year ago | (#43221659)

67 posts and no one has mentioned TOR yet? Everyone above has geek credentials suspended for a week.

On top of doing this, I suggest creating a TOR site mirroring all this material. The USB sticks can include the Tor Browser Bundle for all platforms and a txt file (or better yet, bookmarks) with the urls. Maybe also a note saying "Be patient, anonymous browsing is *slower*"

Re:TOR?! (1)

alantus (882150) | about a year ago | (#43221891)

67 posts and no one has mentioned TOR yet? Everyone above has geek credentials suspended for a week.

On top of doing this, I suggest creating a TOR site mirroring all this material. The USB sticks can include the Tor Browser Bundle for all platforms and a txt file (or better yet, bookmarks) with the urls. Maybe also a note saying "Be patient, anonymous browsing is *slower*"

Wow this is great technology, how does TOR work without any Internet connection?

I don't get this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43221913)

Wait. We were told there were no vehicles, no frigdes and of course no computers under communism. Where the hell would a cuban plug a flash drive?

Re:I don't get this (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year ago | (#43222063)

Where the hell would a cuban plug a flash drive?

Same place where he would plug a thumb drive or a removable memory or a small memory or a USB stick or memory stick or a memory drive.

Anybody taking up a collection? (1)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#43222221)

I imagine that most of you are like me and have a drawer full of thumb drives that will never be used. Is anyone accepting these and sneaking them into Cuba? Or do they have all they want and need already?

wanna bet? (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about a year ago | (#43222395)

" I can't imagine that they can put a police officer on every corner to see who has a flash drive and who doesn't.'" Wanna bet?

"known as memory sticks" (1)

Captain_Chaos (103843) | about a year ago | (#43222467)

..., passed around on removable computer drives known as memory sticks. The small computer memories, also known as flash drives or thumb drives, ...

Thanks for explaining that, grandpa...

Government Malware (1)

domatic (1128127) | about a year ago | (#43222507)

The government could distribute malware infected drives themselves. It isn't as though the Cuban underground isn't full of double agents and provacatuers. The malware will of course scream it's head off to the mothership anytime it finds itself on a network connected machine. To be sure, the tech savvy can avoid this but the distribution of the savvy in the underground just like in all other walks of life will be concentrated on one end.

Of course, it's easy if you're the USA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43222589)

All you do is declare that you can sieze any memory stick or computer to "combat terrorism".

Look, the "censorship" of the media in Cuba is NO DIFFERENT to the censorship that you get anywhere else. AlJazeera is banned in the USA, Abu Hamza was extradited because he preached against christianity and the western governments, asking them to be torn down in the UK. The police kettle protestors until an accident and then use that to proclaim the protesters were getting violent (yeah, hitting back is violence...).

What is being censored are no different than "terrorist cells" in the USA, UK, France, ....

But because Cuba is a proof of how communism CAN WORK, it gets demonised.

It's the same with the national postal services. They demonstrate how government can do a job better than the private industry, so the government has to kill it by mandating it jump through hoops to kill the service off and proclaim that it failed because private business is the only way to run a successful business.

UUCP (1)

hey (83763) | about a year ago | (#43222649)

i wonder whats on the drives. Is it folders of content organized by subject?
Would be cool if they had a way for people forwarding messages ... to other flash users and to the public internet.
Like UUCP.

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