Web Tools Help Protect Human Rights Activists

Reuters reports on the use of Tor and other web circumvention tools in China:

The U.S. government is one of Tor’s biggest financial backers. It contributed $250,000 of the $343,000 in income the nonprofit reported in 2007, the most-recent year for which financial data is available.

“We are trying to encourage a certain freedom of the Internet,” said Ken Berman, director of information technology at the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America.

Tor use has risen in China as authorities block access to sites that the government has banned for political reasons. They include Google’s e-mail service, Lewman said.

“People who were never were never concerned about censorship suddenly had it thrown in their face when they couldn’t get to Gmail anymore,” Lewman said. “Average people said ‘How do I get around this?'”

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