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Needles in a Haystack - Computer Programmer Takes on the World's Despots

Catz Part Deux

DP Veteran
May 19, 2009
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Redneck Riviera
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Computer Programmer Takes On the World's Despots - Newsweek

In many authoritarian countries with a closely monitored Internet, citizens evade the state by using proxy servers that mask their identity as they surf the Web. So, at first, Heap thought it would be helpful to create safe proxies that people in Iran could use. He posted advice on his blog about how people could run proxies from home. He soon had nearly 10,000 people following his instructions. But his efforts were almost pointless; Heap was taking on the Islamic Republic in a game of one on one, and he was no match. The regime’s censors apparently read his blog, too, and simply trailed behind him, closing proxies as he pronounced them ready to use. “We could watch Iran respond,” says Heap. “We would do something, and they would block it.”

But then he had a stroke of luck. Someone with the online handle Quotemstr asked Heap to join a specific chatroom. Quotemstr wasn’t interested in making idle conversation. He was a disaffected Iranian official with information to share. He provided Heap with a copy of the internal operating procedures for Iran’s filtering software. The 96-page document was in Farsi, but the diagrams told Heap what he needed to know. (A computer savant, Heap learned his first programming language in fourth grade; he was programming in 18 languages by his senior year in high school.) “Four days ago I was killing dragons with my firepower,” he recalls, “and now I was getting leaks from inside the Iranian government.”

This is such a cool story, thought you guys would enjoy it.

Haxors - +9,000. Iranian despots - zero.
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austin heap's haystack hasn't reached Iran yet. I couldn't get a copy of it anywhere. although, tor always works, and it's open source.
austin heap's haystack hasn't reached Iran yet. I couldn't get a copy of it anywhere. although, tor always works, and it's open source.

Just thought you could keep an eye out for it. And, if necessary, you might be able to get in touch with him. I know you're pretty smart. ;)


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