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Networking The Internet Censorship Government Hardware Hacking Wireless Networking Build Politics

Getting Past Censorship With Unorthodox Links To the Internet 82

An anonymous reader points out a short article at The Economist, which says "Savvy techies are finding ways to circumvent politically motivated shutdowns of the internet. Various groups around the world are using creative means like multi-directional mobile phone antennae and even microwave ovens to transmit internet traffic accross international borders."
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Getting Past Censorship With Unorthodox Links To the Internet

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  • by arcade ( 16638 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:49AM (#35541642) Homepage

    This really depends on the country in question, but there are many way s to gain access to the Internet. If the country is connected to more free country by land, it should be possible to set up RONJA-devices for cross-border communication. (For more information about RONJA: http://ronja.twibright.com/ [twibright.com] ). The devices might seem very conspicious but can be made to be less obvious. If using light outside the visible range, this might be a rather good alternative. Not easily blocked with radio-jamming neither.

    One can further develop this with more links once inside the country - from location to location, without links that are easy to shut down without knowledge of their location available for the government.

    Directional antennas for wireless devices is another alternative - but those are easier to jam with interference.

    Now, it's a completely different ballpark if you don't have any friendly regimes close by. If you're an island nation (say cuba, australia, or others) - you might have to piggyback on existing communication links, and if the links themselves are completely severed - like they were in Egypt - it automatically gets more difficult. You'll need to piggyback on radio or satelite. I don't know the current state of packet radio, nor do I know how easy it is to trace or jam - but my suspicion is that it would be relatively easy to both track down and to jam.

    Satelite, as pointed out in the article, is expensive. I do seem to remember some satelites having support for relaying messages for free for people using amateur radio - however - I suspect this is for voice communication and not for packet radio. It should, however, be possible to get tweets out if you can find someone to type them in outside of the country. Not easy to upload stuff to youtube using this, though.

    Other ideas?

  • Re:Needs more work. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @11:48AM (#35542262)
    The solution is to find an X that is difficult to ban. Something that can be assembled from scrap with minimal training, like a cantenna. Or that is so useful and popular that to ban it would further feed the rebel's cause. Or even just something that is small and cheap enough to be easily smuggled or hidden, so that enforcing a ban would become very difficult. You might not be able to stop the secret police, but you can make their job very difficult.

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