Mixed Messages: US Talks Of Cleaning Up 'Rogue' Internet… While Underwriting Censorship-Proof Shadow Internet
from the follow-along dept
It appears the US government is giving out mixed messages these days. On the one hand, we keep hearing about the need for laws to stop “rogue sites,” to punish Wikileaks, and to shut down online black markets and alternative currencies like Bitcoin… but then you have President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton constantly praising the importance of internet freedom.
To make matters even more confusing, the NY Times now reports that the State Department has been funding the creation of various tools and services to help dissidents route around online censorship:
The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype ?Internet in a suitcase.?
Financed with a $2 million State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet.
The article also discusses “stealth” networks being deployed in various other countries as well. It’s a fascinating article, and while I’m not sure that these projects are really quite as interesting (or, in some cases, workable) as the article and the project cheerleaders suggest, it is certainly nice to see the US government supporting such projects. It just seems pretty odd that it’s doing it at the same time as it’s supporting efforts to censor other forms of internet communication at home. Of course, all that needs to happen then is for people to use the same “stealth” technology here at home as well…