The Internet Skeptic
Posted in: Miscellaneous at 17/10/2010 19:21
Evgeny Morozov discusses cybersecurity and how software meant to help Iranian political dissidents put them at risk
Evgeny Morozov is a skeptic in a world of Internet believers. His forthcoming book, entitled Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, delves into how governments are using technology to silence dissenting voices and shape public opinion. In his blog, Net Effect, Morozov -- currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University -- has dissected Moldova's Twitter revolution and chronicled Google's contretemps in China.
In a series of posts starting in September, Morozov exposed gaping flaws in an anticensorship program called Haystack. The software purportedly let Iranian political dissidents access banned websites without detection. Haystack, the brainchild of 26-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur Austin Heap, received glowing media coverage and was fast-tracked for a government license to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iran. But when Morozov and software expert Jake Appelbaum revealed technical and security gaps in the software that could put its users at risk, Heap withdrew the product. His fledgling company's lead software developer resigned, admitting that Haystack amounted to a case of "hype trumping security." Morozov discusses with Bloomberg Businessweek's Caroline Winter the Haystack controversy, as well as his views on cybersecurity.