The Wicked Witches of Cyberspace

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Joel Harding


Lately I’ve been doing a deep dive on technologies that enable one to bypass filters, blocking and jamming, to get uncensored information into denied areas. 

I’ve been talking with all the really big boys about how they get information virtually and physically into North Korea, China, Iran, and other places.  It’s very interesting and very dangerous at times.

So when I see the same technologies, supposedly developed by the US for this purpose, being used to conduct illegal activities, such as the selling and buying of illegal drugs, it rocks me back on my haunches. I guess when we use these technologies it is on behalf of goodness, apple pie and the American way. 

When someone else uses these technologies they do it for illegal, nefarious and evil purposes.  I’m being sarcastic in my logic, but I hope you get the point.  If you read this any day after 30 August 2012, read the comments, they’re going to full of comments from conspiracy theorists, truthers and other whack jobs.

Here is an example of use of the same technologies for illegal purposes.  In the article we see primarily Tor being used to anonymize website users, hiding their identity from law enforcement.  How they get around the ‘shipping police’ I have no idea.. heck, I’m scared to order green tea online, for fear a drug dog might sniff it out.

Who are these countries we’re trying to get uncensored information into?  North Korea, Cuba, Iran, the People’s Republic of China and others, according to Political, here.  

The governments are considered authoritarian, controlling the information their citizens see, hear, discuss and share.  Why?  Arab Spring scares the heck out of them.  Free, unfettered, uncensored information exposes the lies their governments prefer to feed them, allowing their citizens to know and understand the truth. 

Authoritarians, like dictators, communists, fascists and many sectarian or religious governments, are said to enhance their authority over their citizens with the use of filters.

Recently I received an expert opinion from an expert in China:

"…the state organ does use various technical tools (such as tapping on phone messages, cutting into email transmission, etc) to monitor social information flow and, when necessary, filter or block certain information…"

This was further illustrated when the Shanghai Cooperation Organization released their position paper on cybersecurity, proposing how the United Nations should form their cyber policy. It was clear that China, Russia and the other members wanted to shut down the internet and control the information flow internally to prevent mass uprisings – to protect the State – during a possible crisis.

According to the Newseum, these are the most oppressive countries when it comes to freedom of the press and freedom of expression, the map is very depressing.  All the countries marked in red should be called the “Wicked Witches of Cyberspace”.

Cross-posted from To Inform is to Influence

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