News You Really Need To See: “U.S. Promotes Network to Foil Digital Spying”

“U.S. Promotes Network to Foil Digital Spying”

The New York Times, April 21, 2014, p.A1

“A group of academics and computer enthusiasts who took part in the 2011 uprising in Tunisia that overthrew a government deeply invested in digital surveillance have helped their town become a test case for an alternative: a physically separate, local network made up of cleverly programmed antennas scattered about on rooftops.  The State Department provided $2.8 million to a team of American hackers, community activists and software geeks to develop the system, called a mesh network, as a way for dissidents abroad to communicate more freely and securely than they can on the open Internet.  One target that is sure to start debate is Cuba; the United States Agency for International Development has pledged $4.3 million to create mesh networks there. … [I]t is clear that the United States sees Sayada [Tunisia] as a test of the concept before it is deployed in more contested zones.”

Quickie analysis: Interesting article on an interesting technology (mesh networks).  Of course, the irony of the US supporting efforts to subvert (some) countries’ abilities to spy on their own populations while having no apparent problem spying on its own population is quite rich. 

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