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Thread: Leveraging Technology for Peace: attacking censorship

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    Default Defeat Internet Censorship

    Older article (Nov 07), but a first read for me. I'd be interested in hearing feedback on this from people who are much more active in this field than I am, and thus actually able to comment intelligently on the subject.

    Defeat Internet Censorship: Overview of Advanced Technologies and Products
    ....This article aims to provide a non-technical overview of the leading and most influential technologies used to circumvent Internet censorship in repressive regimes. We will also discuss the software packages that were found to be most effective in countering the blockage for endusers. Thus, this article will document the state of the art in this field, and provide practical guidance for users who need to make judicious choices of the best tools available for their protection.

    We will use the censorship in China as the primary example because the most advanced censorship technologies have been deployed and tested there. The circumvention tools to defeat the censorship in China will work equally well or better in other countries......

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    Default Leveraging Technology for Peace

    We have all seen numerous examples of how our foes leverage information technology to spread their message of hate and violence. There are parallel efforts to leverage the same technology to spread the message of peace and tolerance.

    One example at the link below, please post others as you come across them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45SOdlIa4xs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    We have all seen numerous examples of how our foes leverage information technology to spread their message of hate and violence. There are parallel efforts to leverage the same technology to spread the message of peace and tolerance.

    One example at the link below, please post others as you come across them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45SOdlIa4xs
    Wow, that was nauseatingly saccharine.

    But to the point, "peace" activists haven't been starving for outlets to connect with one another since the Age of Sail, and they haven't been short-changed when it comes to using whatever tool allows them to do their long-distance minority/ecumenical/tree/whale hugging. Right now, Googling "world peace" and "sustainable" (activists love those terms, right?) with the most popular social, wiki, and blog engines returns almost 900 results.
    Last edited by Presley Cannady; 03-22-2011 at 12:13 AM.
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    that was nauseatingly saccharine
    True to an extent, but an advertising piece advertising peace so what do you expect. The story behind the site is there are a few initiatives like this in the Philippines that appear to be gaining traction with the youth. Real traction, not simply shallow listening, but active participation by numerous youth looking for solutions to long term problems. Unlike their parents who simply accept things as they are. Sites like this are gaining bigger audiences than sites sponsored by Anwar Awlaki fortunately. The key in my view is to offer alternative sites for youth to build online communities. Actually forming communities that are proactive in solving problems appears to be working, and I rather they hug trees than build IEDs. Only time will tell if this influence continues to spread and more importantly hold over time.

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    Default goal of...

    The original goal of "hacktivism" was to generate peace, to reduce the cover & expose war crimes and the like. While it's not really widely known, up until the late 90's / early 00's, technology wasn't really used very much in the sort of classic 'peace work' that goes with resolving intractable conflicts with some form of reconciliation...

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonamatic View Post
    The original goal of "hacktivism" was to generate peace...
    Really? Which one?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    Really? Which one?
    Hacktivism originated as a concept in the late 90's, & the goals at the inception were to use technology to do things like expose the activity of authoritarian regimes. Initial uses included using digital means to compile witness accounts of war crimes in a number of conflict zones. Previously this had been an entirely paper process, & was vulnerable to everything from document seizure to weather ruining the data. Since it's possible to transfer data faster, & less obviously than it is to move it around on paper or on printed photos, there's an element of risk reduction that goes with using electronic means to report problems that make it quite useful.

    What's new is social networking being widely available and useful as a tool to do those types of things.

    The kind of message in that video was aimed at young people, and I'm not quite clear on why you found it too sweet. I suppose spicing it up with some putrid mass graves would have made it more gritty and palatable for you, but that wouldn't do much to inspire conflict reduction would it.

    I'm not unrealistic about conflict, & there's quite a lot of bad guys out there that I'd rather see dead than much else. The fact though is that war is always the last worst choice, and too often violent insurgencies end badly, or worse, don't end at all, so I'm all for creating change that results in peace. Conflict reduction efforts can be just as much of a weapon against repression as any other weapon if used when there's an opportunity to do so, & I think dismissing them is a bad choice.

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    Default Information warfare

    Bill:

    Two points floating out there.

    First is why Tripoli still has a TV broadcast system, which they use to great advantage.

    Second is a knowledgeable Brit's advisor who explained that well-planned disinformation, re: who is defecting from Q, and Q's use of foreign mercenaries to gun down Libyans, would be the greatest impact versus military efforts.

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    Posted by Steve,

    First is why Tripoli still has a TV broadcast system, which they use to great advantage.

    Second is a knowledgeable Brit's advisor who explained that well-planned disinformation, re: who is defecting from Q, and Q's use of foreign mercenaries to gun down Libyans, would be the greatest impact versus military efforts.
    Steve, I think it would be better to present these questions on another thread concerning Libya or how to use influence to augment the conduct of war. I'm trying to keep this one focused on using information to maintain or achieve peace. I think you make good points though, and it still amazes me that Q can use mercenaries to kill his own people, and yet in the Muslim world the focus will be on the West attacking another Arab nation and the longer Qadhafi lives, the more heroic he will become as one who stands up against the barbaric West. Little will be said about Qadhafi killing his own his own people. Of course if we didn't intervene, we would also get slammed by the Arab world. It is beyond a psychological disorder, it is a serious social disease where the majority of an entire religion is delusional. Rational approaches don't work. Maybe we better off dropping anti-psychotic meds instead of bombs?

    anonamatic, I enjoyed your posts on hacktivism and would like to see some examples. I recall a few hactivist movements that went after North Korea once or twice, and then a popular online generated movement that went after the Cartels in Columbia, etc. In the Philippines it "appears" (I write that cautiously, because it is an assumption based on limited reading material and discussions with some people there) that the youth there are motivated to challenge the old ideas of their parents that has kept the country in a state of conflict grid lock due to fear, hate, and greed (corruption). Through education, and I'm sure expats returning, they know they have unlimited potential as a people and nation. The NGOs and academic groups are facilitating a dialogue between various groups to discuss issues and explore solutions. It seems to be gaining ground. The Philippines is also the location where thousands (if not millions) were mobilized by SMS texts to toss a corrupt President out. Those of us that worked there are frustrated because they are a great people that are trapped in poverty by bad ideas that have not been challenged previously, they were simply accepted as the norm, the norm that will never change, but now that norm is at least being questioned.

    I know there are many naysayers out there who claim the revolution in information technology doesn't matter that much, and while I respect their views I also think we are only in the beginning of the IT revolution and as people learn to leverage it then its impact on war and peace could be exponential. Revolutions can and have been started by word of mouth, but that process was significantly accelerated by the printing press where ideas could be shared on a wider basis, then we had radio which permitted one communications to a mass audience, and if it was the only access to information you had it was determinative in how you viewed the world (and the decisions you made), one only need to review the impact of the radio show "War of the Worlds", a fiction story that many thought was real and went into a panic, then we had T.V., again a one way broadcast media mechanism controlled by a few media elites who added powerful visual images to their words (in my opinion largely shaped our views of which wars to enter, ignore, and pull out of such as Vietnam and Somalia based on selective information presented with selective imagines and maybe even moving music). Break and now we jump not only to the internet where counterviews can be researched, but more importantly we have interactive media for the masses (globally) where the common man can present his own observations, views and supporting media. Not an equal voice to media elites yet in the West, but perhaps in developing countries this form of communication is considered more credible than state controlled media? What does mean? The bottom line is we don't know, but I think many of us who study war, irregular war and the impact of information on war think there is more there than we currently realize.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonamatic View Post
    Hacktivism originated as a concept in the late 90's...
    "Concept" is stretching it for what is otherwise a self-laudatory endonym. I'd wager few widely perceived "hacktivists" actually use for themselves, and those that do are generally on the sidelines when it comes to computing. To be honest, "hacktivist" might as well be a synonym for typical left-leaning Slashdot denizen. That said, the concept you do describe here--narrowly--is called "leaking." It's certainly not a new or poorly understood notion, and I question whether any critical opportunity or challenge featured changes in any significant way as you move from hard media to telecommunications, let alone from a second order migration from say email to BBSes to Facebook.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    "Concept" is stretching it for what is otherwise a self-laudatory endonym. I'd wager few widely perceived "hacktivists" actually use for themselves, and those that do are generally on the sidelines when it comes to computing. To be honest, "hacktivist" might as well be a synonym for typical left-leaning Slashdot denizen. That said, the concept you do describe here--narrowly--is called "leaking." It's certainly not a new or poorly understood notion, and I question whether any critical opportunity or challenge featured changes in any significant way as you move from hard media to telecommunications, let alone from a second order migration from say email to BBSes to Facebook.
    Compiling statements of witnesses to war crimes has nothing to do with leaking anything. In fact i don't look at leaking as all that much of a hacktivist activity. At best it's whistle blowing, and often it's politics or something worse than that.

    Hacktivism is stuff like the Tor project, & other anti-censorship efforts using technical means, or applying standard technology to safeguard peace & reconciliation efforts. It can be stuff like smuggling news in and out of North Korea using technical means, & at it's most basic is just to use technical means in unexpected ways to undermine various repressive practices by dictatorial regimes.

    You'd lose that wager by the way. Your first mistake is to think it's somehow a self-laudatory label, it's not, rather it's used to describe an approach to problems. Your second mistake is to think that somehow people are sitting on the sidelines doing nothing. That's wrong too. One of the first efforts I became aware of in this arena was being done by the AAAS for instance. You're making some unfounded assumptions based on scant knowledge.
    Last edited by anonamatic; 04-05-2011 at 08:44 AM.

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    Default U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors

    The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.

    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.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/wo...t.html?_r=1&hp
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    This might be very useful in a disaster too. They aren't far removed from each other in terms of results.

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    Default Have a "shadow' at home

    Will the USA allow independent "shadow" networks in the USA, that attempt to operate outside state control (FCC etc)? Whistle blowers I expect would appreciate such a resource. Ironically given the American character and culture it might be the first place to have such a network in places.
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    Default Like Fab Fi

    Still thinking about asking for a mod on this.

    Mod adds: link not working in the UK, maybe because it is an Afghan website and then discovered a cached edition via Google does work.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-13-2011 at 09:16 PM. Reason: Mod's Note

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    This four-week online professional development certificate course will explore how new communication and mapping technologies are being used to respond to disasters, create early warning mechanisms, improve coordination efforts and much more.

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    Posted by Jeffersonrion

    This four-week online professional development certificate course will explore how new communication and mapping technologies are being used to respond to disasters, create early warning mechanisms, improve coordination efforts and much more.
    I am familiar with several of these efforts, it has immense potential (some are realizing it already), but you didn't provide a link to the online course?

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