U.S. funding tech firms that help Mideast dissidents evade government censors
Ian Shapira - March 10, 2011
The Obama administration may not be lending arms to dissidents in the Middle East, but it is offering aid in another critical way: helping them surf the Web anonymously as they seek to overthrow their governments.
Federal agencies - such as the State Department, the Defense Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors - have been funding a handful of technology firms that allow people to get online without being tracked or to visit news or social media sites that governments have blocked. Many of these little-known organizations - such as the Tor Project and UltraReach - are unabashedly supportive of the activists in the Middle East.
But the United States’ backing of these firms has the potential to put the government in an awkward diplomatic position, not only with the countries where uprisings are active, but also with economic partners such as Saudi Arabia and China, which are known to block Web sites they deem dangerous.