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Unless you're from Bhutan, you're already facing down a violent authoritarian regime. It's all just a question of degrees. People in Iran may well look to North Korea and be thankful that at least they don't have it that bad.

Those of us behind the "relative safety of a western computer keyboard" may have more of an obligation to act than those under more strenuous restrictions. At least in our case we likely won't be hanged from a crane, as you say. Or at least our governments will have the good courtesy to have us shipped off to a friendly tinpot dictatorship first so we can be spared the humiliation of having such a thing done at home.

I don't think marketing really comes into it, all the circumvention tool vendors are quite direct and honest with the current state of their efforts and the extent upon which they can be relied. Also, they're not commercial efforts, and the creators stand to make no real direct economic gains from their adoption.

Those of us behind the relative safety of a western keyboard may have more of an obligation to convince people in Iran to use tools we write that claim to keep them safe but instead pinpoint them to the Iranian security apparatus?

I wouldn't criticize someone using circumvention tools in Iran. I might criticize an American who tried to make a name for themselves by building half-assed tools for Iranian dissidents. That was my point.

It's a fair one, I just don't know that it's reason to refrain from doing so. As a theoretical Iranian dissident with a typical end user grasp on technology I'd definitely rather have such tools available than need to resort to creating them myself.

I think the chances such a theoretical user who will engage in subversion at any rate no matter the risk level is much more likely to be less capable of creating a circumvention tool than say the tor team.

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