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Anticensorship Tool Proves Too Good to Be True

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Technology Review

A software tool designed to help dissidents circumvent government censorship of the Internet contains flaws so severe that it could endanger those who use it.

The tool, called Haystack, has won awards and praise for enabling political activists and ordinary citizens to beat government controls barring Internet content. But security expert Jacob Appelbaum warns that it leaves a trail of clues that could be used to find whoever's using it, and what content they have accessed. Experts say this highlights the importance of having outside experts review technologies intended for this kind of use.

Haystack was created by the San Francisco-based Censorship Research Center, founded last year by two activists Austin Heap and Daniel Colascione. The software was intended to "provide unfiltered and undetectable Internet access to the people of Iran," according to the project website. Its creators received much attention—Heap was declared Innovator of the Year by the Guardian newspaper and also received the First Amendment Coalition Beacon award.

From Technology Review
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