US building tech tools to foil online censors

August 15, 2009
A man uses a laptop computer at a wireless cafe in Beijing in July 2009. The US agency behind Voice of America said Friday it is working on ways to slip news past tough Internet blockades in countries such as China and Iran.

The US agency behind Voice of America said Friday it is working on ways to slip news past tough Internet blockades in countries such as China and Iran.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) confirmed that it is crafting "feed over email" software capable of turning popular Web-based email services such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, or Hotmail into conduits for online news.

"It is very powerful, but not ready for beta testing," the agency's director of technology Ken Berman told AFP.

"We are not there yet; this is just a cool thing we are working on."

FOE software is intended to take advantage of encryption technology in free Web-based email services to create secure channels for news found anywhere on the , according to Berman.

"Some countries block the news. My team tries to offer tools to defeat that censorship on the Internet."

When FOE is ready, it will be beta tested in China and Iran, according to the BBG.

"China is the benchmark, the gold standard, of Internet ," Berman said. "We try things. The idea is to extend freedom of the Internet; freedom of the press, freedom of inquiry to those that want to know more."

A BBG engineer demonstrated FOE technology to large audience of software experts at the annual DefCon gathering of hackers in Las Vegas about two weeks ago.

"It's not a covert program," Berman said. "Everything we do is in the open, unclassified. We are a broadcast agency."

BBG handles the US government's non-military broadcasting, including Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.

BBG reports that its broadcasters distribute programming in 60 languages to an estimated weekly audience of 175 million people via radio, TV, the Internet and other new media.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Canadian software helps Iranian dissidents connect

Related Stories

IPv6: Challenge to Internet freedom?

March 20, 2006

A China-backed Internet technical standard reportedly might allow the traceability of Internet users, especially those opposing government policies.

Nokia 770 Internet Tablet Starts Shipping

November 7, 2005

Nokia today announced that it has started deliveries of the first device in its new Internet Tablet product category, the Nokia 770. The sleek, pocket sized device is Nokia's first Linux-based terminal product and is dedicated ...

Recommended for you

Microsoft aims at Apple with high-end PCs, 3D software

October 26, 2016

Microsoft launched a new consumer offensive Wednesday, unveiling a high-end computer that challenges the Apple iMac along with an updated Windows operating system that showcases three-dimensional content and "mixed reality."

Making it easier to collaborate on code

October 26, 2016

Git is an open-source system with a polarizing reputation among programmers. It's a powerful tool to help developers track changes to code, but many view it as prohibitively difficult to use.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Aug 16, 2009
Has physorg just stopped caring about spelling?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.