Building A Censor-Resistant Web?

from the one-option dept

With recent efforts to take down various websites, which we've been documenting here on Techdirt, there's been increasing discussions about ways to create a more "censor-proof" internet. We've discussed the idea of a decentralized DNS system and now Aaron Swartz is proposing a "censor-resistant web" system that makes use of hashes and authentication certificates. It's an interesting idea, though it does seem like there are a lot of moving parts, which might make it more difficult to implement. Either way, as we've been predicting for a while now, a lot of the events of the past few months have really only served to expose bottleneck intermediaries and to alert people to infrastructure that needs to be more decentralized.
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Filed Under: censor-proof, censoring, distributed, free speech


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2010 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Re: first poster

    When it comes to the ruckus for an alternative DNS and various forms of "darknets" (and trust me, they have been tried before, long before most of the kids on here even had a computer), they are used mostly to disguise or try to hide illegal activity.

    The most obvious reasons are things like piracy and illicit discussions, such as political upheavals. Those people who choose to try to hide usually have something to hide. That in itself makes them suspicious, especially in countries who attempt to control access to the internet (and there are many of them).

    Can you differentiate that an https session to a shopping site isn't actually transferring something else for those that know the secret password?

    Actually, it is incredibly easy to tell the difference. One of the amazing things about the internet is that everything looks different when you start to look at the flows and the movement, the sources and the destinations.

    Can you figure out that a long list of files transferred over a few days using various routes actually includes hidden bits of information that the target can assemble in the end?

    Again, if you are taking steps to hide your activity by using encryption or certain types of connection, your activity will look different from other users. If you are talking a secret code to pass small messages, that might work to a certain extent, but it would require a significant effort to setup and they receive.

    Uses of the common dodges, like VPN or open gateways / relays would stand out like sore thumbs. Rather than blocking you, they might just monitor you instead.

    Nobody is saying that there is 100% blocking from any country, but those who do choose to do blocking (such as some Muslim countries), are often very effective at making sites or materials generally unavailable. Remember, these are places where the only incoming internet connections are peered through government controlled facilities. If you connect to the outside world, they know what you connected to.

    It is what it is. When there is discussions on TD about alternate DNS systems, it is for either piracy or the dissemination of sites like Wikileaks. It is rarely for anything noble.

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