Saved by the Gong

Quico says: This one is straight from the Annals of News Whose Relevance To Us is Downright Depressing. TNR, in an article about the weird confluence of interests between Chinese hippie cultists and Iranian liberals, notes that,

When dissident Iranians chatted with each other and the outside world [after Ahmadinejad’s fishy re-election], they likely had no idea that many of their missives were being guided and guarded by 50 Falun Gong programmers spread out across the United States. These programmers, who almost all have day jobs, have created programs called Freegate and Ultrasurf that allow users to fake out Internet censors. Freegate disguises the browsing of its users, rerouting traffic using proxy servers. To prevent the Iranian authorities from cracking their system, the programmers must constantly switch the servers, a painstaking process.

The Falun Gong has proselytized its software with more fervor than its spiritual practices. It distributes its programs for free through an organization called the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIFC), sending a downloadable version of the software in millions of e-mails and instant messages. In July 2008, it introduced a Farsi version of its circumvention tool.

While it is hardly the only group to offer such devices, the Falun Gong’s program is particularly popular thanks to its simplicity and relative speed. In fact, according to Shiyu Zhou, the deputy director of GIFC, the Farsi software was initially so popular that the group shut it down soon after introducing it. Iranians had simply swamped their servers, even outnumbering Freegate’s Chinese users.

It terrifies me to realize that, in the coming years, these kinds of technologies are likely to go from novelty to necessity for Venezuelan liberals.

But with Henry Rangel Silva taking charge of CANTV, it’s a reality we all need to start getting used to.