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Free speech is essential for a functioning market. If I cannot ascertain a quality product from junk, I simply won't buy. And it's hard to make that assertion without the ability for the average person to speak freely about their experiences with a product.

John Kozubik

In September, the Tor anonymity network was blocked in China "in anticipation of the CCP October 1, 2009 60th anniversary."

As can be seen in a post on the Tor blog:


Providers of Tor "bridges" almost immediately stepped in to fill the void of Tor connectivity in China. This matches a previous increase in Iranian users earlier in the year:


Although providing a Tor bridge is technically just as easy (perhaps a bit easier, actually, since it is neither an exit nor a published relay) as providing a normal Tor relay, it is slightly more difficult for the end user (in China, perhaps) to acquire and use. So it would be wrong to suggest that the Chinese government has had no effect on Chinese users of Tor.

However, it is very clear that we are witnessing just one of many arms races between state actors and individuals. In a contest like this, it is easy to respond to the overwhelming resources of a state actor and conclude that they can win this arms race. There are weaknesses in the Tor bridge protocol (mostly related to bridge distribution) and it doesn't take a states resources to exploit them. But improvements will be made and new protocols deployed.

FSOSA does not stipulate that this arms race can be avoided, nor does it stipulate that it is impossible for a state to "win". What FSOSA stipulates is that the only way that China can "win" is not by blocking Tor, but by blocking modern commerce.

John Kozubik

An interesting article on Freenet and meta networks on the Internet can be found here:


I was particularly interested in this portion:

According to the police, for criminal users of services such as Freenet, the end is coming anyway. The PCeU spokesman says, "The anonymity things, there are ways to get round them, and we do get round them. When you use the internet, something's always recorded somewhere. It's a question of identifying who is holding that information."

This is most certainly true - but note the key assumption "When you use the Internet...". This is the part that is so badly misunderstood and an assumption that is misleading and dangerous to free speech.

The core of FSOSA is that "the mere existence of portable computers, open wireless networking standards and encryption guarantee the populace access to free speech - even without the Internet."

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