Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Psiphon & the Western World

A new application may help populations within closed totalitarian societies re-educate themselves, without intervention from local authorities. But, there's a cost !

On Dec. 1st, 2006, the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, in association with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society of Harvard Law School, & the Advanced Network Research Group at Cambridge University, released 'PSIPHON'.

There have been a few landmark treasures that have had an impact on the 'civilization of mankind' throughout history. Some of the more major ones are:

The Declarations of Ur in 2050BC, is one of the oldest recognized 'legal codes'.
The Cyrus Cylinder of 539BC is the first universally recognized document of 'Human Rights'
The Rosetta Stone created about 196BC enabled the translation of thousands of documents from antiquity, thus expanding mankind's wisdom based on precepts that had been long lost.
The Charter of Liberties of 1100
The Magna Carta Libertatum of 1215
The Works of John Locke, in his writings from 1689-1695, which would have far reaching effects on Voltaire, & eventually Thomas Jefferson, principal writer of,
The Declaration of Independence, 1776(US), ultimately resulting in,
The Constitution of the United States of America, 1787
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948

If PSIPHON is successfully implemented, it may stand as one of the great milestones of the early 21st century, reaching the status of the above mentioned items.

These documents, & their associated implementation into society are the hingepin that the claim of 'Human Rights' is loosely based on. The internationally recognized 'Basic Human Rights' are:

The Right to Access the Internet may actually become a basic human right, due to the nature of the present day situation. Global Warming, Advancing Technology, Conservation of Natural Resources, & Global Economics will probably be the major factors that persuade Totalitarian & Oppressive Societies to re-evaluate their national position & policy on this issue. On the western side, the concept that telephone companies can charge for a tiered delivery is just plain 'in opposition' of the very precepts that created both their existence & the society they operate in. Closed Societies, do not by nature, support "Public Telephone Systems"! They may be allowed to exist within a closed society, but only serve to facilitate a service that a regime finds desirable, & can use to further its policies by monitoring. Do you really think that any of the western based telephone companies doing business in closed societies enforce 'human rights', or require any of the 'legal processes' that exist in the western world? The new cellular networks are just a means of providing 'State Communications', & the means to monitor the general population with even greater scrutiny.

PSIPHON is a networking application who's moral character is based in the 'free enlightened democratic dissemination of information' philosophy set of the modern western world. A quick review of the virtues of furthering Human Rights will reveal that promotion of the issue DOES NOT have to respect political boundries, as it is a moral & ethical rather than legal realm (here). Historically, Muslim Countries have opposed the concept in this approach and are sighting religious differences with the basis of the argument that the concept is based on a Judeo-Christian value. The obvious answer here is that religion as a whole, Judeo-Christian, Muslim, Hindu, & Buddhist, need to modernize enough to fulfill their original intent. The world can no longer support war, terrorism, or censorship. Such events attributed to a religious motive are not only in violation of Man, but counter-productive to the actual intent of the respective religion. Any argument against this fact is quite simply, ignorance.

PSIPHON works by acting as a proxy server tool which uses a https protocol to transfer data. With a user name and password, people in countries that use Internet content filtering can send encrypted requests for information to a trusted computer located in another country and receive encrypted information in return. As https protocol is widely used for secure communication over the Internet, governments can not block https traffic without further restricting their ability to use the web, to carry out their day-to-day activities in the Western World.

Closed & Isolated Societies will never stand a chance in the highly competitive, mass consumption, open trade world that exists today. Societies that do not work with the 'Global Community' are doomed to a future of ignorance, starvation, & poverty for its citizens. Mankind has reached a point where we must begin to understand that the 'world functions as an organism'. This is evident in all the major issues that face us & our future generations today. Man's existence on Earth is dependent on a global wide policy of prevention & protection. Global warming or cooling, could be argued over the next decade, but there is no denying it; Weather, in general, has become much more 'extreme' and less 'fair (average)' over the past 50 years. Like it or not, that fact will effect two major locations first:

Areas that are more sensitive to changing climate (Antarctica & Sub-Sahara) by virtue of climate & physics.

Areas that are more sensitive to changing climate by virtue of policy & economics.

PSIPHON is directly aimed at closed societies in order to enable populations to access pure, correct, proven, & true knowledge. Not facts or representations that are determined by a faction after review & manipulation to fit a political, religious, or proactive policy scheme. Closed Societies are not worried about 'Global Warming', they are only worried about getting the harvest in; As such, their populations are completely unaware of the issue.

Closed Societies have strong central governments, & very docile & dependent individuals.

Open Societies have comparatively weaker governments, but stronger and more capable individuals.

In here lies the major issue surronding PSIPHON & the Western World. 'Free Users' are required to be much more active & judgemental of clients using their resource from Closed Countries. 'Free Users' need to always remember that THEY are becoming the first line of defense of the Western World, within this application. THAT'S A BIG RESPONSIBILITY. If you are the type of PC user with an internet connection, allows idle CPU cycles to be utilized by things like SETI, Psiphon will enable your PC to become a 'node' for the network. Expect to be exploited. Expect to be attacked. Yes, it is a very honorable intention, however, the majority of users that utilize access to the application have an entirely different set of concerns & values. I'd watch things REAL CLOSE !! Don't forget where these people come from & the actions of their governments.

A few immediate problems I can foresee is:

That as the first early adopters become filled to capacity, newer 'free' users may not have the trust or commitment needed to allow new 'censored' users the access they wish to utilize.

Sharing of a specific IP Address can be a highway to PC security disaster, on the part of the access point node host. This invites abuse by both unscrupulous individuals, as well as, abuse by unfriendly state organizations in retalliation for the tresspass of their sovereignty.

Abuse by automatated means. This is as in 'spam-bots' directed to exploit PSIPHON as a server point. And yes, spam & viruses DO come from Closed Societies too.

While Canadian citizens may be covered by specific laws concerning abuse of PSIPHON by outside elements, Americans are governed by an entirely different set of priorities. If the federal government can prove your IP Address is connected & aiding someone who's recognized as a 'criminal terrorist', your going to have to provide a pretty convincing argument that PSIPHON is to blame, and not you. After all, how many terraflops do you think it will take 'Big Blue Gene' to decrypt the stream & show investigators that your buddy in the Middle East is involved in a little more than just the forum at Al Jazeera (en).

Courtesy: psiphon.civisec.org Google Video

photo cedit: www.culturalprofiles.org.uk

main source: Wikipedia