Privacy and Subversion with Distributed OSS

Posted 18 Jul 2000 at 01:48 UTC by jwcheung Share This

Several of my peers have expressed interest in working on projects for gnuidea. One project would guarantee GNU/Linux users the freedom to surf with privacy by using a distributed trojan horse program that will reside on unsecured Windows computers with broadband connections to the internet. This trojan horse would create an anonymizing (excuse the metaphor) "cloud" that will disguise and/or spoof and/or reroute any and all incoming/outgoing traffic.

The second project would also be a distributed effort to circumvent the beijing firewall blockage of certain western media websites like NY Times online. If anyone could work with a mass-market media company like NY Times, ABC, Turner, etc., perhaps we could get permission to use push technology to repost headlines and articles on personal websites. If we could get people around the world to create pages with headline-reposting code, this would probably be an effective temporary workaround that would also be adaptable for future blocks and chokes developed by Beijing.

Privacy at the deliberate expense of others., posted 18 Jul 2000 at 02:34 UTC by jlbec » (Master)

If I understand this article correctly, the first paragraph suggests that we anonymize ourselves not by creating good anonymizers, but by suborning unwilling users of a particular operating system (windows/mac/whatever, the point is that a group is singled out).

This does not seem very "White Hat".

Can it be done? Sure. Should it? No. A person suborning another's resources for their own personal gain is - *gasp* - invading their privacy. And isn't privacy the topic of such an effort?

This has been done..., posted 18 Jul 2000 at 04:22 UTC by mnot » (Journeyer)

albeit without the subversive angle, which IMHO is frankly just a bad idea from about every angle.

call me uninspired but, posted 18 Jul 2000 at 04:27 UTC by joey » (Master)

You seem to be promoting the implementation of something like wingate.

You seem wholly unaware of web proxy servers, services like, and so on. Or does china's firewall somehow detect use of such things?

I agree with jlbec.

One Good Idea - One very Bad, posted 18 Jul 2000 at 16:01 UTC by cmacd » (Journeyer)

I can see merit in creating some sort of distributed system to allow news from various organizations to penetrate into areas where the local powers would rather that it did'ent flow.

Note that to do it well, one has to have some mechanism to ensure the ultimate end user that the data they are getting is really what it proports to be.

The other idea is very bad

Just because it is not only not nice to use something you don't own without permission, but also such a plan whould (here in Canada anyway) be clearly covered under the heading of "Theft of Telecomunications services" under the Criminal Code.

The first idea would be allright as long as the folks providing the service were aware of what their CPU and bandwidth was asked to do, and the Content providers also allowed the re-distibution. (I suspect that Non-US sites could get lots of co-operation from the USIA for example- see USINFO for example)

What has "Western Media" done for us?, posted 18 Jul 2000 at 17:00 UTC by kbob » (Master)

Yes, censorship sucks. But why should we promote organs of propaganda and misinformation like the New York Times (free registration required)? Why not work to ensure that Chinese surfers have access to Slashdot, Technocrat, and Advogato?

Sorry, my example sites show my interests. Somebody name some sites that are (a) open, in the Jon Katz sense, (b) likely to be considered subversive by the Chinese government, and (c) not free software oriented. (-:


how about .., posted 18 Jul 2000 at 19:04 UTC by cmacd » (Journeyer)

admitedly all are suported by the respective governments. (and Rdaio Moscow may be online by now, and THEY disagree with folks in china.

I am sure the local staions in .TW are also blocked.

Doesn't work, posted 19 Jul 2000 at 10:40 UTC by PaulJohnson » (Journeyer)

I can sort of see how this might work as a volunteer system: by running this program you get plausible deniability on your own browsing (honest, it wasn't me who downloaded those TNT recipies, it must have been someone using my privacy server). However this assumes that the Authorities cannot do traffic analysis. Unless you are seeing such heavy anonymising traffic that your own browsing is lost in the noise the Authorities can subtract out any requests that immediately follow encrypted traffic arriving at your PC, and thats that. Also if they can do this correlation then they can correlate traffic from the originating PC with the plaintext requests sent out from yours.

Or am I missing something?


Implementation Draft, Project AnonCryptoProxy, posted 19 Jul 2000 at 20:53 UTC by apostle » (Journeyer)

We have been thinking about this for some time. The project outline for an anonymizing encrypting proxy server that also employs cover traffic can be found at the AnonCryptoProxy project page.

We think that the idea of breaking into other peoples machines so you can use their cycles and bandwidth sucks.

Anonymous Developers Wanted

Enjoy and Deploy,


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