[tor-talk] Iran cracks down on web dissident technology

Michael Reed reed at inet.org
Tue Mar 22 20:57:39 UTC 2011

On 03/22/2011 12:08 PM, Watson Ladd wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 11:23 AM, Joe Btfsplk<joebtfsplk at gmx.com>  wrote:
>> Why would any govt create something their enemies can easily use against
>> them, then continue funding it once they know it helps the enemy, if a govt
>> has absolutely no control over it?  It's that simple.  It would seem a very
>> bad idea.  Stop looking at it from a conspiracy standpoint&  consider it as
>> a common sense question.
> Because it helps the government as well. An anonymity network that
> only the US government uses is fairly useless. One that everyone uses
> is much more useful, and if your enemies use it as well that's very
> good, because then they can't cut off access without undoing their own
> work.

BINGO, we have a winner!  The original *QUESTION* posed that led to the 
invention of Onion Routing was, "Can we build a system that allows for 
bi-directional communications over the Internet where the source and 
destination cannot be determined by a mid-point?"  The *PURPOSE* was for 
DoD / Intelligence usage (open source intelligence gathering, covering 
of forward deployed assets, whatever).  Not helping dissidents in 
repressive countries.  Not assisting criminals in covering their 
electronic tracks.  Not helping bit-torrent users avoid MPAA/RIAA 
prosecution.  Not giving a 10 year old a way to bypass an anti-porn 
filter.  Of course, we knew those would be other unavoidable uses for 
the technology, but that was immaterial to the problem at hand we were 
trying to solve (and if those uses were going to give us more cover 
traffic to better hide what we wanted to use the network for, all the 
better...I once told a flag officer that much to his chagrin).  I should 
know, I was the recipient of that question from David, and Paul was 
brought into the mix a few days later after I had sketched out a basic 
(flawed) design for the original Onion Routing.

The short answer to your question of "Why would the government do this?" 
is because it is in the best interests of some parts of the government 
to have this capability...  Now enough of the conspiracy theories...


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