In an article in the newspaper The New York Times tells of secret projects the U.S. State Department, the purpose of which — to circumvent censorship and government control in the Internet and telecommunications systems.
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The Obama administration has led a global effort to deploy a system of "shadow" Internet and mobile telefanii, which could be used by dissidents to resist the repressive authorities that are trying to close their mouth censorship or closure of telecommunication networks.
These efforts include the creation of secret projects in foreign countries, independent of cellular networks, as well as one operation out of a spy novel as if in a studio on the fifth floor of the house on the L-Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look like an amateur rock band, sculpts with a deceptively innocent look of parts prototype "Internet in a suitcase."
Established over two-million grant from the U.S. Department of State, the bag can be secretly transported across the border and quickly transformed into a wireless communication station with a broad coverage area and access to the global Internet.
These American efforts, manifested in a newspaper produced The New York Times dozens of interviews, planning documents and classified diplomatic cables have very different scales, price and level of difficulty.
Some projects use the technology developed by the United States, while in others adapt the device, previously created by hackers in the so-called liberation technology movement that has swept the planet.
The State Department, for example, to project, financed by the creation of secret wireless networks that would enable political activists have uncontrolled power of communications in countries such as Iran, Syria and Libya.
Within One of the most large-scale projects, as American officials say, the State Department and Pentagon have spent at least $ 50 million to create an independent network in Afghanistan using the antenna on closed military bases in the country. It was created in order to undermine the ability of the Taliban arbitrarily exclude network of official Afghan providers.
These efforts have gained new momentum after the government of President Hosni Mubarak in the last days of his reign has disabled the entire Egyptian internet. In recent days, the Syrian government also temporarily disabled in the country most of the Internet, which helped mobilize protesters.
In a sense, the Obama administration's initiative represents a new front in the long-term diplomatic efforts to protect freedom of expression and promote democracy. For decades, the United States was broadcast on the country's autocratic through the "Voice of America" and other channels. Recently, Washington's support for the development of software that preserves the anonymity of users in places like China, and training of those citizens who want to pass information through the Internet controlled by the authorities without the risk of being discovered.
However, the latest initiative focuses on creating a fully independent paths of communication. Within its framework, in an incredible combination of working together diplomats and military engineers, young programmers and dissidents from a dozen countries, many of them calls this new approach is more ambitious, clever and cool.
Sometimes the State Department is simply using the enterprising dissidents who have found ways to circumvent government censorship. U.S. diplomats, as the secret dispatch in contact with operatives who instilled Chinese mobile phones in the mountains near the border with North Korea, where they can dig up and make short calls.
The new initiatives have found support in the face of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose department heads the American efforts in this direction. "We can see by the Worldwide more and more people are using the Internet, mobile phones and other technologies to make their voices heard as they protest against injustice and seek to realize their aspirations, "- Mrs. Clinton wrote in a letter by e-mail in response to a question about our theme. "We have a historic opportunity to induce positive changes that are supported by America, — she said. — Therefore, we focused on how to help them do it, help them talk to each other, with their society, with its authorities and the world . "
Developers caution that independent networks have their weaknesses: repressive regimes can find by tracking and arrest activists who use the new technology, or just hold them while trying to carry the necessary equipment across the border. However, others believe that the potential benefits are greater than the risks. "We will build a separate infrastructure where the technology will be almost impossible to turn off monitor or control it," — said Alexander Maynrat, who runs the project "Internet in a suitcase" as the director of the Initiative, open technology at the independent research group in the New America Foundation.
"The essence of the project is to deprive the central government can violate the fundamental right of people in relation to each other," — adds Maynrat.
In an unnamed office building on L-Street in Washington, four people, a little similar to the State Department contract, sitting at the table. Josh King, with his ears hung with piercings and leather bracelet with studs engaged in programming, while working at the bar. Thomas Gideon — an experienced hacker. Dan Meredyt, velafutbolu enthusiast, helped companies protect their secrets Digital.
And there appeared to tie the 37-year-old Mr. Maynrat, the most senior in command. He has a Master of Psychology and fostered wireless networks in poor areas of Detroit and Philadelphia.
Project developed by a group of Internet-based bags on the technology of "mesh network," in which devices such as cell phones or personal computers are used to create an invisible wireless network without a central hub. In other words, voice, picture or e-mail can be transmitted directly between the modified wireless devices — each of which acts as a mini-tower and telephone — to bypass the official network.
G. Maynrat told that the bag will contain miniature wireless antennas, which could expand the coverage area; laptop to control the system, flash drives and CDs to expand the program to other computers and to encode communications, cable and other auxiliary components.
The project will also build on the invention of independent developers in the field of Internet and telecommunications.
"The best in this political context is that all this is difficult to control," — said Aaron Kaplan, an Austrian expert kiberbyaspeki whose work will be used in the project "Suitcase". Mr. Kaplan has developed a mesh network in Vienna, he said, such systems operate in Venezuela, Indonesia and other countries.
G. Maynrat said his group is vpakavannem the system as a normal looking bag and simplistic use of it — with the icon in the users manual.
In addition to the initiatives of the Obama administration, there are about a dozen independent projects that also aim to provide inexperienced users with the ability to use existing tools, such as laptops or smartphones to build a wireless network. One mesh network was created around Jalalabad, Afghanistan five years ago, using technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Creating simple lines of communication outside official networks is very important, says Colin Anderson, a 26-year-old researcher in the field of technology release from North Dakota who specializes in Iran, where the authorities have blocked almost all Internet during protests in 2009. Slowing the internet almost deprived of meaning most of the "circumvention technology" — a variety of programs that allow dissidents to transmit coded messages through official channels.
"Whatever tricks or use the protesters, the authorities slow internet, that he could barely crawl, download videos on Youtube or send something on Facebook is not — says Anderson. — Here we need alternative ways to transmit information or alternative ways of sending her out of the country. "
This need so large people find their way nalazhannya simplest networks. Yahyanezhad Mahdi, an Iranian expatriate and technology developer, co-founder of the popular site in Farsi, estimates that about half of the visitors from Iran used bluetooth — which in the West is used for wireless headphones. In more closed societies bluetooth technology is used for bulk transfers of information — such as video — directly from one mobile phone to another.
G. Yahyanezhad says that he and his colleagues applied for a grant from the State Department to work on a project modification "blue tooth" to, for example, a video with footage beating a protester is automatically sent from phone to phone within a "trusted network." This system is more limited than the "Internet in a suitcase", but it requires only a mild modification softveru in conventional mobile phones.
According to official statistics, by the end of 2011 the State Department to spend about $ 70 million for projects bypass formal networks and similar technologies.
Mrs. Clinton gives Internet Freedom extraordinary attention. However, the State Department has carefully limited his mission to support freedom of speech and human rights as such, it does not include attempts to destabilize the autocratic governments.
However, the distinction between these tasks can be difficult, says Clay Sherki, professor at New York University, which explores the internet and social media. "You can not say we want people to be able to speak freely only, and not to throw autocratic regimes. This is virtually the same," — says Sherki.
He added that the United States can be accused of hypocrisy, when the State Department will continue to support, tacit or open, autocratic regimes in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, while developing technology that could blow up these regimes.