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You know what's probably the worst part of all of this?

It's at I'm afraid to say what I want to say about the topic online.

Self-censorship is the worst kind of censorship.

(Meant as words of understanding, not criticism.)

I don't know if that's true. But at least we are aware that we are scared like sh*t about this.

It's true. A government can only censor so much content. Inevitably there will be some escaping it.

But if everyone censors themselves out of fear, then that's much more effective of a power for a government to have, since they barely have to do any censorship work themselves. They just need to set examples every now and then to remind people "what's waiting for them" if they dare try to expose the truth.

I've said it before around here - the most dangerous thing is not the dictator himself. He can be removed if, and only if, the population itself has a free spirit and viciously opposes him, until they remove him.

But the real threat is when part of the population starts believing in the dictator's "ideals" and principles, and defend his actions "for the good of the people", and the other part is too scared to say anything anymore. That's when a dictator can rule in "peace", for a long time, and so will his successors, because then, for "his kind", the environment is very "welcoming".

Here's a good example of the opposite of self-censorship, and what everyone should be doing:


Agreed. Similarly when countries everywhere started changing their law that made living in those places a worse experience.. the terrorists won.

That link is brilliant, well worth listening to.

Same here, this is weird. I live in a country where free speech is given but I still censorship myself when talking about the US online.

This might be paranoia , there are plenty of controversial anti-US things all over the internet and AFAIK the writers have not been rounded up and arrested.

At present people are harassed or turned away at the border for their published views, that policy could get worse in time, and information online lives forever (esp. if it is intercepted and stored). So it might be prudent to limit your statements online, or just accept you're not going to visit the US any more.

Laura Poitras for example is routinely questioned for hours on entering or leaving the US, just because she made a film about Iraq. She is no danger to the US, she is not a terrorist or associated with them any more than another journalist, and yet she is harassed for her views, even before she interviewed Snowden. I believe Jacob Appelbaum is another example.

She's quite high profile, but I personally know of at least one other case of someone being detained every time they crossed the border - an ordinary apolitical person living in the US, stopped every time for hours simply because of where they were born or their name, they were never sure which. It was so frequent that they gave up living/working there.

> At present people are harassed or turned away at the border for their published views, that policy could get worse in time, and information online lives forever (esp. if it is intercepted and stored). So it might be prudent to limit your statements online, or just accept you're not going to visit the US any more.

There is a distinction here to make though; I don't think it is inherently wrong to refuse entry to the U.S./question any person who is not an American. It is not clear why that should be the case ever. (I say this as a person who found the visa system to enter the U.S. profoundly annoying.)

On the other hand, refusal of entry to American citizens is a whole different issue.

The distinction I'd make is between harassment for your political views or because your name is on some opaque list, and legitimate questioning or investigation of known terrorist suspects.

You are confounding two things now too. One is legitimate concerns that would lead to refusal to entry or questioning or similar. The other is pointless harassment due to problems with the system. The OP gave examples of the latter. Hopefully, you don't think the latter is OK no matter what.

> Hopefully, you don't think the latter is OK no matter what.

I never said that; just because I don't think a system is wrong doesn't mean that I think it is right. I am saying that the system is broken. It however is a complicated system; I don't see any possible way of making it magically better.

I am pretty clear that the U.S. can decide however it wants to to allow entry to its soil. For example, the visa process when I traveled was atrocious; yet for most Europeans under a visa waiver program, it becomes easy. It is easy to claim discrimination or complain; however, I am not a voter, there is no lobby out there complaining about why the visa process for non-Europeans is so awful.

Also, the U.S. is not special in this process. A white American traveling to Europe faces way less hassle than someone else who doesn't have the right ethnicity or the right passport does.

Most of you are becoming aware of the process when people you can relate to are being affected; my point is that this has been happening for decades with no domestic opposition to the process.

> On the other hand, refusal of entry to American citizens is a whole different issue.

AFAIK Jake Appelbaum is a US citizen.

They can't actually refuse entry to citizens, but they sure as hell can interrogate/threaten/harass/etc. I know Jake's been harassed a bunch of times at the border (and had his laptops/phones/etc stolen under the guise of searching them - they get to keep them for 48 hours to forensically image but then never give them back).

It's happened to me, too, and I'm not even on any of these lists, I just choose not to answer any of the voluntary questions they ask of everyone coming in. Anyone who values their freedom and has watched the excellent Don't Talk To The Police video[1] will do the same, and will meet with similar harassment and abuse.

Cops in the USA are real dicks, especially the super-"patriotic" border cops, and they can and will make your day really terrible if you don't do exactly as they say (even if you have the legal right not to).

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc


How would we even know if something like this had already happened on a small scale?

Yep. South African here.

You arguably have more to fear from your own government, which has far greater capability to (legally) spy on your electronic communications in real-time.

Both the NCC and the Interception Centres set up under RICA have virtually unlimited power and access, in fact every service provider is required by law to install the equivalent of Verizon's Room 641A which feeds data real-time directly to an Interception Centre.

AFAIK there are no physical RICA interception centres up and running yet.

I'm hearing conflicting reports. I know Laurie Fialkov of CyberSmart has stated that there aren't any up and running and no live interception happening, but I've heard elsewhere that at least one large one exists. I'd be interested in hearing the responses to the same question posed to Telkom, Vodacom, MTN & Cell C, who would be the first to be approached for live streaming.

We do know that the OIC carried out 3 million interceptions between 2006 and 2010 and the implication has been that at least some were live.

The biggest problem at the moment though is the NCC, which the Matthews Commission found regularly conducted warrantless bulk interceptions and environmental scanning. Unfortunately the Matthews Commission's recommendations went nowhere and from what I'm hearing the NCC has even fewer internal controls on what it monitors within our borders.

I just wish South Africans would have as much outrage about what happens locally as they do for what the NSA does.

Just use a handle from LoTR and bounce your trace around China before posting...

Is my up-vote being sniffed?

And that's where RetroShare comes in: http://retroshare.sourceforge.net/


1. Decentralized (real p2p, no central servers)

2. Encrypted communication

3. I'd even add: Easier to set up than encrypted email: Install -> Exchange "certificates" -> Done.

IMO, it's currently the best way to communicate.

I rather think that's where this comes in:

When I was asked to make this address I wondered what I had to say to you boys who are graduating. And I think I have one thing to say. If you wish to be useful, never take a course that will silence you. Refuse to learn anything that implies collusion, whether it be a clerkship or a curacy, a legal fee or a post in a university. Retain the power of speech no matter what other power you may lose. If you can take this course, and in so far as you take it, you will bless this country. In so far as you depart from this course, you become dampers, mutes, and hooded executioners. -- John J. Chapman

Retroshare is nice, but can't be used to talk in public as a member of the public with other members of the public. I mean, a few friends talking freely behind closed doors? Even dictatorships have that.

Don't take this wrong, I know you meant to point out a cool program, and I'm not having a go at you or anyone seeking technical solutions for this.. but I think this is a social/political problem, and ultimately needs to be deal with as such, if we're ever to achieve anything real.

If talking freely is risky, because we're still in the stone age in so many ways, then I want the risks, not to shut up.

I agree. What you are saying is really important, and using RetroShare does not seem to be the correct solution to mark_integerdsv's problem.

> a few friends talking freely behind closed doors? Even dictatorships have that.

But I feel that I do not have this across the Internet! It is good to be able to talk freely behind closed doors, too. This is why RetroShare seems to solve an important problem for me :)

Hah, that is a good point. Of course we need encryption, and we also need to play alpha and beta testers to help find out what works and doesn't. Regardless of politics, there will always be blackhats, so don't take any of that as arguing against using Retroshare, which I like. I just like to stay hungry :)

I applaud that attitude - we definitely need more Edward Snowdens!

In a documentary about Africa I saw zebras trying to cross a river. It was full of crocodiles awaiting them, and the zebras all gathered around the edge nervously... sooner or later, a few zebras would step (or get pushed) into the river, and then the rest scrambled to follow them, as if on cue. A few got surrounded by crocodiles and eaten ("without ever having felt / sorry for itself" .. !), but the vast majority made it across fine.

Imagine if the zebras instead had watched in horror as the first few "pioneers" got mauled... prodding each other saying "your turn", until all of them were too weak to be able to cross, even as a herd, and the crocodiles simply came out of the river and dragged them into it (which is exactly what would have happened, because the reason they cross rivers is that there is nothing left to eat on their side of it).

Not that I consider humans herd animals, or that I want to other humans who prey on humans so much that I would cast them as a different species. But I still think there is a lesson for us in there, too. Cowardice, as rational as it may seem, simply doesn't pay in the long run. Until we learn that, we're stuck.

Thanks for this great story

I've recently started developing something like this. Now it looks like I might not have to. Thanks!

I found RetroShare worthy of its own submission, given today's climate: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5983913

I'd rather have my public opinions public and face the consequences.

If the next time I visit the US I have my laptop confiscated, my luggage searched or have my entry denied, so be it. I'll know that's because the US no longer welcomes free speech and plan my future travels and career moves accordingly.

I'll add that, if that ever happens, it'll be a sad day for me. I still have faith a country founded on principles rather than ethnicity or geography means something. I'd like to keep that faith, if possible.

Nothing has ever happened to me in the past and I have no reason to believe I'm under investigation for anything I've ever said. Yet I've already made the decision to never go back. The "lose" position is simply too high to make it worth it. As it stands, if someone decided to "make an example" out of me for some bizarre reason I could be detained indefinitely with no realistic recourse. I can't think of anything the US has (that other countries don't) that makes that sort of risk, regardless of how unlikely it is, worth it (in case that's not clear, what I mean is, my expected odds for getting kidnapped by the US might be one in 100 trillion trillion, yet if it happens my life could be over).

I am a US citizen, born within the continental US, carrying a US passport.

When I exercise my fifth amendment right to silence when I am questioned upon attempting to re-enter my home country, I get arrested and harassed and threatened for hours and hours.

The phones are all tapped, the cops rule everything, and all of the basic rights we were told we had are now exercised only at the mercy of the military rulers.


A few years ago I went back to the US to visit the crypto museum (incidentally, right across the street from NSA in Fort Meade). It was my first trip to the DC area and the first night I got in, I went over to the Jefferson memorial. A sign on the pathway approaching the dome warns visitors that due to federal law, firearms are prohibited on the grounds.

Jefferson would be proud, I'm sure.

[note to non-US citizens: It's basic right #2 in the USA that people can own and carry firearms.]

Did a google image search on that photo to see if it is a hoax and it's real. The park is in Cleveland Ohio.


With very few exceptions, firearms are strictly prohibited anywhere in DC. Ironic, huh?

Thanks! Going to check this out.

Thanks - I've been looking for something that would be similar to the BBS functionality I found very useful a couple decades ago. This looks like it does an even better job.

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