Feeds

Kaminsky takes on censorship with info-mapping tools

Wants to transparency to provoke debate

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Black Hat 2012 When he's not working on DNSSEC, Dan Kaminsky is taking on censors, both in government and in private industry, with plans for a series of user-friendly tools that will map out where information is being deleted or blocked online.

Last year Kaminsky released his n00ter tool, which mapped internet traffic speeds to spot any monkey business by ISPs on the censorship front. But the tool was difficult to install and use and lacked wide support, he acknowledged in his presentation at this year's Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

To rectify this he's working on a new system, due to be released in the next few months, which will be a simple browser add-on that can map out where censorship is occurring. Kaminsky said that he wasn't looking to run a censorship information service himself, but to provide a large data set to privacy organizations that do, like OONI-Probe, Herdict, and the EFF.

"It's crowdsourcing censorship detection," he explained. "The internet is becoming less and less flat every day. The actual content that you see on the network is changing based on where you are because ISPs and governments are altering content."

dan kaminsky

Censorship needs to be pointed out, warns Kaminsky

Kaminsky cited the example of Verizon, which is currently trying to contest the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet Order, which insists that ISPs can't censor content for payment, or if they disagree with it. Verizon is claiming that it can do what it likes with content under First Amendment free speech rules.

"Just as a newspaper is entitled to decide which content to publish and where, broadband providers may feature some content over others," Verizon said in its filing. "Although broadband providers have generally exercised their discretion to allow all content in an undifferentiated manner, they nonetheless possess discretion that these rules preclude them from exercising."

Kaminsky's plan is to release a tool which will capture the actual identity of the certificate used in a connection, to counter spoofing and intervention by third-parties. This will collect a data set and allow users to know just how their connections are being managed.

"My goal here is transparency," he said. "If networks are going to be blocking or altering content, let that be transparent, and let us have that political discussion about what that means. We can't have the discussion until there's awareness and these tools exist to increase that." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.