We saw that (at least as of 8 PM UTC) outbound connections to HTTP servers wasn't really a problem. A fresh ec2 box with a basic web server wasn't effected.
So, early yesterday I set up an OpenVPN server on ec2 (eu-west-1) to try to get some slow but functional internet access. What we saw was that about 15-30 seconds after the TLS handshake the connection would stall and drop out. To me this says they're doing some deep packet inspection to find TLS and dropping those firewall states. I also noticed while running `tcpdump` that almost every tcp segment from a BY address had incorrect CRC's after the IDS kicked in.
Tonight we're going to try using an xor tcp proxy to obfuscate the VPN traffic. The system we're using has a name, but I'm not going to say it to risk KGB (yes it's still called that there) creating IDS signatures and killing our VPN. I'm sure that after a few hours it will start dropping these connections as well, but if we can buy some time that's worth while.
This, really, is the real problem with the internet. In many small countries there's only one IX, often under government ownership or supervision. You might think that they know better than to do stuff like this, but push comes to shove they'll all lock it down as soon as there's a threat to their authority.
10 years ago I would have said 'it's probably Western companies helping them'.
Now, I would say probably it's Chinese. Frankly, because it's going to be so, so much cheaper, let alone it probably doesn't come with any potential political headaches, and, they are developing a 'core competency' in this.
That said, Putin has serious geopolitical interest in Belarus, and himself is supportive of the regime. Since the Russian state is also 'good at that stuff' it could very well be a state-sponsored initiative.
Finally, Belarus is not Venezuela, wherein they might have difficulty recruiting all the talent necessary to do this. Belarus has enough native talent to contemplate the task.
But it'd be interesting to know 'who' is helping them do this.
You might want to pad the traffic too. IIRC, the GFW can detect many kinds of VPN connections based off of a sequence of characteristic packet lengths during the handshake.
I've been wondering why it's called that for the last few days, thanks! Curiously, it's not mentioned on the Russian NEXTA wikipedia page.
At a casual glance, look at how Beltelecom is one of the very, very few that has any international peers just based on the flags: https://bgp.he.net/AS6697#_peers
Then look at the others:
This is similar to to Iran's ITC/TIC (there's a handful of them, pop in 12880, 49666, 48159, etc. onto bgp.he for a quick look) where they are the in-between to international peers and domestic peers.
If it happens again (but SSH still works), then to enable general web browsing you can:
1. Set up Squid (a proxy server) on a remote host. eg a VM in Digital Ocean. You may need to ask someone to do this for you, if you don't have a VM you can access remotely already.
2. Configure SSH to proxy traffic from your (desktop) web browser to that remote Squid server
3. Configure your browser (eg Firefox/Chrome) to use the new SSH proxy
It sounds like you're familiar with the Linux or macOS command line, so you shouldn't have much trouble.
I've done exactly this before, and it works reliably. Browsing speed is a bit slower than standard though, but not horrible. :)
Today all mobile data is switched off, but there are still small streams of information, I think using sat connections.
BTW, it's 1.25m already. Gotta be 1.5m tomorrow. And those users are extremely engaged - view counts on post from just an hour before is north of 0.5m.
Bell 201A, for example. Loading modern webpages over 2400bps would be hell but IRC might still work. Or maybe time to break out the old UUCP.
Losing that and risking jail, isn't going to happen because people want change. So people better be lucky, because if they lose this revolt, they will be crushed mercilessly. Not sure EU /USA has any say over him, after all staying in power is his goal.
* the companies want to be paid by their users somehow, and local governments usually have control over money flows inside their own banking systems
* the country can ban receiving/sending equipment. It's not small and thus easier to spot but people will likely get creative and build their own equipment instead of importing it
* the country can also install jammers but those cost money to set up and maintain and while you can put jammers close to the users, you can't put jammers close to the satellites. I'm not sure what that means about ability to jam both directions, as directional receivers on the ground should still be able to receive a signal, but maybe ground jammers can just send at larger strengths.
SpaceX doesn't have to worry about the ITU. All they have to worry about is (1) keeping the US government happy (2) avoiding conflict with powerful foreign countries like Russia, China, etc
So long as they obey US laws and keep the US government happy, and avoid making unnecessary enemies of powerful foreign countries, SpaceX can completely ignore the ITU
(Belarus is a complex situation because it is right next to Russia. If SpaceX was helping the US install a pro-US regime in Belarus, that is going to offend Russia, and it would be dangerous for SpaceX to offend Russia. But if we were talking about some other country which was not immediately bordering a major world power, that consideration would not apply.)
> No transmitting station may be established or operated by a private person or
by any enterprise without a licence issued in an appropriate form and in conformity with the provisions of these Regulations by or on behalf of the government of the country to which the station in question is subject (however, see Nos. 18.2, 18.8 and 18.11).
SpaceX cannot help establish, or help operate, these ground stations. Technically could they sell them in another country? Maybe, I don't think the ITU would accept that considering that have to have control over the software for routing purposes, and that they know exactly where the ground station is because of beam forming.
The Outer Space Treaty article 3 also states that
> States Parties to the Treaty shall carry on activities in the exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, in the interest of maintaining international peace and security and promoting international co- operation and understanding.
(Later incorporated against private entities in a different article).
It would not be much of a stretch to consider this a violation of this article as well.
It is slightly less clear cut than I remember though.
While radio licenses will probably prevent them from operating in geographically large countries like Russia, information can seep in through regions several hundred kilometers away from the border.
Take a look at this map representing current coverage: https://satellitemap.space/
Belarus is covered by a single satellite.
SpaceX uses phased array antennas, so they know where they are sending their service.
Instead, what these satellites are doing is using something called a phased array antenna, that let's them narrowly select what area they are broadcasting to and receiving from at any point in time with some fancy electronics controlling an array of many little antennas that constructively/destructively interfere. As a result, they have to know where the base stations are reasonably precisely.
I'm not actually sure how they discover where base stations are, my guess would be GPS on the base stations and omni-directional signalling to find them, in which case they know to within meters where a base station is. If that guess is wrong, you might be able to be a small amount over a border and have SpaceX not know it, but not substantially.
Doesn't seem like it would be that hard of a task at that proximity.
What is the task you are talking about?
They can imprison people with terminals but they can't radio shield their airspace.
Also, doings such a thing to an American corporation that's only one or two degrees of separation from the USDoD may prove to be a costly mistake. I think Belarus would need to depend on the strength of their relationship with Russia to avoid retaliation. That hasn't protected Syria though, so maybe Belarus [Lukashenko] should think twice before attempting some hotheaded shit like that.
They are spread out with many satellites over a small number of orbits, pretty ideal for Kessler, or pretty ideal for another satellite to pass by a whole line of them and stick a bullet (small detachable impactor) in each.
Would they need to shoot down the entire constellation? I could imagine them threatening to shoot it down (and maybe a few demonstrations) would be enough to convince SpaceX to stop sending signals into Belarus.
Russia to create orbital Internet satellite cluster by 2025 - Tass https://tass.com/science/1005554
The real question is if there's going to be enough receivers to make a difference.
edit: In response to below - they are putting SHORAD lasers on Strykers soon. Things have become a lot more compact.
Note that the response to star wars contributed to the Soviet Union's bankruptcy :).
But the whole point of a laser is that you don't need to put it in space, it could be a large facility on the ground.
Main considerations are political impact, not technical feasability.
As for Soviet bancrupcy, impact of Chernobyl was definately much larger than space program shenanigans.
That Musk guy lives in America? What about some extra persuasion?
Source: Myself, in a very bad situation without a working Sattelitephone
Usually there is no proper technical solution for a political problem.
China for example been trying to crack down on vsat ownership for decades, to no avail
Also, people forget that low latency global internet is a requirement for next generation drone operations, particularly removing pilots from high performance aircraft. Again, this is strategic and something the Pentagon has gushed over for 30+ years. To see it as anything but is naive.
(I don't know whether it is Internet-protocol based. My guess is yes.)
Low latency, high bandwidth
2. Any company will think really hard about doing something against the government wishes. They might be frozen out for ages and the next dictator will not like what you did either.
An ISP should not be registering with the government, and it must follow any laws. Oppose censorship.
Anonymous, censorship free communications is a lethal threat to rogue regimes.
It allows opposition to organise and subvert their governments without a threat of its leaders being exposed, and killed.
Saudi arabia is still a dictatorship, despite being our 'allies' and having internet. They even dismember dissidents from time to time.
...and look how well that went over? I'm not sure I'd chalk that one up as a win for MBS.
On the flip side, I don't think they can block communications forever, so is that tactic even going to work ?
People are still going to be pissed in one month.
This walled garden has its risks when dealing with freedom.
An alternative would be Bridgefy, but that's a closed-source product.
Internet shutdowns are disastrous economically and the countries that need to resort to them are just feeding fuel to the fire. There are countries that simply shutdown access to certain social media platforms (not that that's better) but shutting down the entire internet is the very definition of desperate to me.
Those fascists are really getting more and more brutal against people. And population will soon start treating them as they treated fascists during WW2.
Can these internet shutoff valves intercept dialup? Could be useful for at least text based communication.
If you're going to fake an election result that had some legitimate measurable opposition, why make it so extremely high? Does that mean nearly every vote counting place is rigged and it's so bad they don't even bother hiding it?
Just like when Crimea voted to join Russia it was 97% . People use it as justification pretty widely but it's also hard to tell what's true in such an environment. It's nearly impossible to trust such a number, even if a majority potentially existed.
Note: I'm not suggesting it's at all accurate but it makes it all the more outrageous and suspicious. The protests are then predictable.
In Crimea's case the majority of the population being ethnically russian, the neglect from Ukraine, anger over the maidan, russia promising pension payments and infrastructure investment and the opposition boycotting the vote probably all contributed to this result.
As far as I know the main thrust of the argument against this vote from the EU and Ukraine was that having the vote was illegal and/or unconstitutional and thus null and void.
All Russia cared about was maintaining access to warm water ports.
That said, after reading Nuland's Wikipedia her brazenness is something I'd expect more from the old CIA than the modern state dept. It's rich hearing her protest against Russian interference in the sovereignty of another country while trying to play the cocky puppet-master role in the background over the future leadership of Ukraine.
But the main forgiving grace is that she was only assistant for Europe which isn't top tier and in other cases has demonstrated a maverick streak, not a person receptive to operating under authority or established norms. She’s also super pro-intervention in general which is less popular these days.
Most importantly this is not anywhere near the level of intervention shown by Russia. Really, it's extremely insignificant by comparison.
Russia has long been grasping at straws to build the western intervention is just as bad conspiracy. If all Russia has is some heavy-handed backroom phone call by a minor diplomat then the US doesn't have much to worry about.
A country that borders it and has been repeatedly invaded via it.
I am not questioning the morality or strategy. I am questioning the principles. Additionally, "minor-thing" is completely objective. What might seem like a minor action from the US POV on the other end things are often taken very differently.
> Most importantly this is not anywhere near the level of intervention shown by Russia. Really, it's extremely insignificant by comparison.
Again who gets to say what is or is not insignificant?
Lastly, Nuland was the Assitant Secretary of State. That is a high-level position, not a mid-tier diplomat.
In this case they were apparently afraid of a 75-25% loss, to make up for that you'd have to aim for an 80/20 win or accept a real chance that your stuffing will end up being inadequate.
1. I think it's a lot harder to rig something to look good vs. like a landslide.
2. Making it "close" could potentially open up risk if something the victorious/controlling party didn't account for it (eg. uncounted ballots are uncovered due to a legitimate accident)
3. Suspicions don't really matter when you can just jail your opponents for arbitrary crimes.
High polling numbers are not automatically suspicious.
Unless you can refute an extremely trusted independent pollster, I'm inclined to believe the statistics rather than anything subjective.
How do we build a network today in peaceful countries that is resilient to state actors?
Protesters are in jail (more than 2000 people), a guy has been killed by a truck, etc.
The declaration she made after arriving in Lithuania is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DzisJ388Xs
In it, she roughly says "I thought I've been hardened by this campaign and that I will handle it. But I am still the weak woman that I was initially. I made a difficult decision. God save you from the kind of choice I had to make. Take care of yourself. Kids are the most important thing that you have in life."
And indeed, the internet is completely down in Belarus. Phone network still works.
I've been able to contact a few of my friends there sporadically over the past few days, but have heard nothing from them for 24 hours. Initially it seemed like a block on communication apps like WhatsApp and they could get around it with a VPN but now it seems that it's turned into a full internet shutdown.
Sure, it’s apocryphal, but after a month there travelling all over, the only person I met who thought lukashenko was good for the country was a multimillionaire from “business”.
Try to use Telegram for communication, it might work. It's not full internet shutdown, some programs like Telegram or VPN Psiphon, Tachyon work from time to time.
Anyways, VSAT + WiFi nodes for non-cellular mobile Internet seems to be a good case for protecting the freedom of Internet.
Here in the US, communications just need to be "of a personal nature." Part 97 prohibits (with some exceptions) commercial communications, encrypted communications, music, and things which are otherwise illegal. It's also not the licensing test.
It's not unusual for the US to ignore a treaty, of course, but I can't find anything about this online either.
I've always heard "don't discuss politics" as a sort of unspoken agreement.
Plenty of contacts on the spotter. I don't imagine they're about politics, though.
If I installed a raduo antenna on top of an apartment block, the average cop wont distinguish it from a 4G antenna or whatever else installed nearby. Plus you have to climb the rooftip and inspect it, imagine the amount of time an manpower that would take. Meanwhile they have nassive protests on the streets, etc.
But ham radio is like satellite internet - it's hard to cut off. You can ban it, as you say, but then you have to actually enforce the ban - either by jamming, or by finding sites that are transmitting and cutting them off.
But even worse, I don't think the point of cutting off the internet is to keep news from Belarus from leaking out. I think the point is to keep outside ideas (like the idea that elections should be fair, and outrage when one isn't) from coming into Belarus. Well, a ham can sit and listen and broadcast nothing. It's hard to track that down to be able to enforce the ban on the listening station.
Special interests are so cram packed we cant even see the windshield of the car we're driving.
Im starting to agree that US should or potentially could have a larger share on the legwork for telecoms, fiber, and community servicing. I'm not sure how long starlink ect will be competitive with the bandwith, total information speeds in the future.
I haven't heard of any escalations today, but obviously my sample size is limited (70 people in Minsk).
I don't think elections in Belarus have ever been seen to be free and fair.
The rest, not so much, however even if we directly compare with previous Belarus elections, this time the election rigging went further than before, turning it into a farce that's not taken well by the public this time.
There are already dead protesters.
Calling these elections "controversial" is like calling WW2 "a disagreement".
"In the interest of the people everywhere in the world, there should always be dial-up access points available, in different countries.
The "national interest", for whichever country, should always be the people's interest; and restricted information has never been of any benefit except for those restricting it"
Someone had raised the point that with the current technology, modems might not work internationally anymore.
Is that the case? Can such a system still be put in place?
It does take an "activist" ISP to set up a general access dial-up line though. There's not that many around.
For those reading this still in need of dialup access but blocked from visiting Twitter, the details from the tweet are:
Phone number: +31205350535
BS. Russia has never done anything like that.
Who's to say that Musk, or whoever will own Starlink next, won't side with an authoritarian regime, and do the same?
I think radio based communication like amateur broadcasting, walkie talkie like things for short distances can be an effective tool to prepare for situations like this.
Regarding HAM radio, there are some alternatives
I think one amusing thing is some phones before smartphones had radio receivers for FM. It would have been fascinating if same hardware was there in the current phones and could have been possibly used to power local broadcasts.
Do you think Starlink would be allowed to route TikTok traffic if it got banned?
There's no reason to ban TikTok or other apps if people in China have unrestricted access to US companies.
Yes, without a doubt it would be allowed. The "TikTok ban" has already been signed by Trump, and nothing in the order prohibits AT&T, Verizon, Comcast or any other ISP from routing the traffic.
The executive branch doesn't have authority to prohibit legal speech. It has some powers to regulate commerce, that's it.
There are some specific exemptions for government/military (eg GPS), but Starlink won’t help here.
It's a precedent for the world ignoring such actions.
We should not wait for the arc of history to prove strongmen wrong. We owe it to the oppressed peoples of the world to advocate for non-militaristic measures which help reduce or eliminate their oppression. Some self-doubt is healthy, and the West has done a lot of bad things in the past. We can't let that self-doubt paralyze our foreign policy though. The world would devolve into a worse place. Obama misused MLK's belief on the arc of history (bending towards justice) to justify what is increasingly looking like a terrible foreign policy regime (hands off on Russia --->Syrian genocide--->refugees flooding Europe--->alt-right backlash and Brexit--->Crimea --->alt-right worldwide--->widespread election manipulation--->shaky NATO and EU--->hyperventilating Eastern Europe--->emboldened strongmen--->??? But wait, there's more! Do the claims that sanctions can cause WWIII seem hollow now? Is it becoming clear to everyone that Russian imperialism and Iranian imperialism need just as much scrutiny and backlash as Western imperialism?).
On that note, sanctions on Belarus are very limited. Here's the thing with sanctions: sanctions on one bad actor can be dodged if there are other, larger bad actors who aren't being put in their place. However, systematic sanctions, against all major human rights abusers, would be really hard to dodge. That is especially if we give them a well-defined route out of the sanctions regime, where sanctions are gradually relaxed until the abuses are stopped.
“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The person is frustrated and that part of the comment is sarcastic. I think it's understandable given the context.
the local population was not allowed access till february and i happen to have photos of the "undertaking" that businesses were made to sign. https://ibb.co/Fnd6mPj
this isnt mine, i could not find that but a local shop. this was never about terrorism like this jammucoder guy is larping about. this is plain and simple censorship to prevent people from making a noise and bringing to attention the attrocities committed. "terrorism" is what got obama to bomb afghanistan, bush to flatten iraq and so on.
"The Jammu and Kashmir administration has restored the Internet connections of more than 80 subscribers who have signed a bond agreeing to use the services strictly for business purposes...The bond directs users not to upload encrypted files containing any sort of video or photographs. “For the allowed IP, there will be no social networking, proxies, VPNs and Wi-Fi and that all the USB ports will be disabled on the network"
Wow. I shouldn't be surprised but that's awful.
Unless you have some hard evidence that's a weak-sauce claim. Correlation at best.
I firmly believe restricting internet access is just not humane at this point. There is too much dependence on internet and I consider it as a basic right.
I think this heavy-handedness is going to backfire. To treat an infection, you can't just cut off the whole limnb.
But this doesn't mean it is right, internet is a fundamental right at this point. You can't just deprive people from it with a blanket ban.
where do you say terrorism in that sentence? did hongkong stop internet when there were protests? or BLM which were protests organised on social media, telegram, whatsapp, facebook? or do rules apply differently when protests are against injustices in usa and kashmir?
> He oft-elaborated about the idea of India being entirely incompatible with Islam thus mandating a destruction at any cost, and aimed of unfurling the flag of Islam on Delhi’s Red Fort.
This is the exact sort of sentiment that have been used by the current Indian government and many others around the world to stoke fear and champion for their ideology.
I honestly think you do disservice to your genuine concerns when you defend people like him and this makes it easy for your real concerns to be muddled with such bigotry. Same with the protests. This will not help your cause and I honestly believe whether it is Xinjiang or Kashmir, armed separatism is not the answer and is never going to succeed. Both the countries do really need to find a better way to deal with it though.
Which other countries deal with cheating in exams or rumors on whatsapp through internet shut downs?
Arguing in favor of censorship is not the same as censorship. The whole point of free discussion is that you can talk about the philosophical merits of anything, regardless of whether or not the argument itself is "correct".
On the flipside, policing other's willingness to engage certain arguments is itself a form of micro-censorship. The pushback is against arguments like "This argument has no place on HN", which is not a useful argument and doesn't address the merits of GP's comment.
I want to re-iterate that I agree with you that curtailing the freedom of information is bad, but that simply arguing about it and hearing from those that feel otherwise — especially those that claim to be directly impacted — is incredibly valuable for me, sitting in New York City.
In fact, it was from HN that I learned of ByteDance's desire to distance themselves from the CCP and that the war on TikTok in both countries is likely in response to their refusal to play ball with the CCP. The American media's barrage of anti-TT reporting never really made sense until that revelation. After all, there are plenty of more significant Chinese tech companies whose apps are more pervasive, yet are rarely mentioned in the news, i.e., Tencent.
> x is NEVER okay
is a just-so assertion, not an argument.
I mean, you probably participated in and even supported the Coronavirus lockdowns, yeah? Why is a terror lockdown so philosophically different?
Even I don't agree with his assertions but he is free to have his opinion and as someone who actually lives there is free to express it.