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Obtaining Freedom of Communication


Americans are always whining about net neutrality or other “infringments” they believe are levied against their Internet experience. It’s a good thing they’re not Iranian. According to Internet publishers and blogs, the Iranians have recently begun to block all forms of encrypted Internet traffic? presumably in an effort to permit network censors to monitor all indigenous traffic. When users attempt to access webpages over SSL, they’re redirected to a page loosely warning them that “according to computer crime regulations, access to this Web site is denied.” Such measures seem focused on allowing the government to monitor network traffic such that social uprisings can be pinpointed on various, insidious individuals and suppressed quickly.

When the Internet can be shut down in countries like this so easily, what are the best mechanisms for a resistance to use for organizing?

  • amateur radio?
  • pre-paid cell phones?
  • mesh networks?

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Not so easy by Occams

Amateur radio has the advantage that the HF bands can carry communications around the world, whereas cell phones and mesh networks require local infrastructure. Ham radio is not really an option because it is used under a licence that can easily be withdrawn. Sure, the technology could still be used illegally but, strictly, it is against regulations for an amateur to communicate on an amateur band with another operator he knows is not licensed. Also, they are supposed to confine subjects to the hobby of amateur radio. Phone patching is allowed in the USA but not in many other countries. HF is not very suitable for long range IP traffic, although it can be done with suitable modems.

So it would simply be clandestine use of the same frequencies as are used for amateur radio. There are many other bands for which cheap equipment is available and much HF amateur equipment can be simply tuned to non amateur frequencies. Most amateurs would be opposed to their frequencies being used for political purposes. The hobby only survives because their governments trust them, and this would be a dangerous precedent (it has never been done before to my knowledge).

My medium of choice for getting out propaganda and reports of struggles against my government would be AM radio broadcasting on ( unused ) short wave broadcast frequencies. This would have the advantage of being able to be received by anyone using commonly available receivers. It would need to be done from mobile vehicles, but even so the operator would not survive for long because such transmissions can easily be found using simple directional antennas.

An ideal arrangement would be to uplink to a retransmission service on a hill located across the border in a friendly country, or better still, to a satellite from where the signal can be relayed into the internet.

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Mesh by Anonymous

Mesh networks are the biggest threat we face. People would be able to completely bypass the monitoring system. This makes it critical that we force hardware and software manufacturers to provide kill switches.

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