US Underwriting 'Shadow' Internet
Obama administration leading efforts to help dissidents
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2011 4:08 PM CDT
A Syrian man connects on his Facebook account at an internet cafe, in Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday Feb. 8, 2011.   (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)

(Newser) – One of the ways Egypt, Syria, and other regimes crack down on protesters is by shutting down telecommunications networks—but soon they may no long be able to do so. The New York Times takes a close look at the global effort, led by the US, to create “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that could get around such tactics. One of the secretive projects sounds like something out of a James Bond flick: The “Internet in a suitcase,” funded by a $2 million State Department grant, can quickly be used to set up a wide area of wireless communication and link to the Internet.

Other efforts range from the complicated (creating stealth wireless networks) to the relatively simple (burying cellphones near borders where they can be dug up to make secret calls). “We see more and more people around the globe using the Internet, mobile phones, and other technologies to make their voices heard as they protest against injustice and seek to realize their aspirations,” says Hillary Clinton. “There is a historic opportunity to effect positive change, change America supports. So we’re focused on helping them do that, on helping them talk to each other, to their communities, to their governments and to the world.” Click for the full article.