Using Fax Machines to Route-Around Internet Censorship in Libya
As we’ve reported, Libya is facing an Internet crack-down similar to the one faced in Egypt earlier this month. As the organization did for Egyptians, French Data Network is offering free dial-up Internet for Libyans. But, if the Internet is offline, how are Libyans supposed to learn how to connect to the Internet? It turns out landlines are still up, so one group is using faxes to pipe information into the country.
Although I applaud efforts to curtail censorship, I can’t help but think about Vinay Gupta’s recent post “Reserving judgement about other people’s revolutions.” Gupta writes “This is not safe territory. It is not an armchair sport. Please respect the lives of all involved.”
The people behind Haystack created it with the best intentions, but may have done more harm than good. I can only encourage those getting involved in this sort of international cyber-activism think through what they’re doing, and try to understand the consequences for the people receiving their help.