Information Warfare: America Pays Hackers To Annoy China

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January 20, 2011: While the U.S. government has had a long, combative and acrimonious relationship with the hacker and Internet freedom communities, that has shifted a bit since Internet freedoms programs were established. The American government has provided $30 million dollars for hackers seeking to create software that will enable people to evade Internet surveillance and censorship. One of the more notable programs funded from this program is Tor, a system that enables users to communicate without anyone able to identify the sender. Similar to anonymizer software, Tor is even more untraceable. Unlike anonymizer software, Tor relies on thousands of people running the Tor software, and acting as nodes for email (and attachments) to be sent through so many Tor nodes that it is virtually impossible to track down the identity of the sender.

The American money has funded development of software that makes smart phones safer for users who want to say things to others that their governments disapprove of. All this activity is directed at countries with heavy Internet censorship programs, like China, Burma, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and several African countries.

While this software can also be used by criminals, terrorists and spies, the U.S. government believes that these groups already have access to software that can hide them, and that it's more important that police states have more reason to pay attention to what their citizens want.

 

 


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