Haystack: Good Luck Finding That Needle

Haystack: Good Luck Finding That Needle

Hey Internet, we need your help!

In the upcoming days, Daniel Colascione and I will release a new program to provide unfiltered internet access to the people of Iran. A software package for Windows, Mac and Unix systems, called Haystack, will specifically target the Iranian government’s web filtering mechanisms.

Similar to Freegate, the program directed against China’s “great firewall,” once installed Haystack will provide completely uncensored access to the internet in Iran while simultaneously protecting the user’s identity. No more Facebook blocks, no more government warning pages when you try to load Twitter, just unfiltered Internet.

The network will be supported by donated high-quality servers outside of Iran. We will be able to provide an individual user with unfettered internet access that costs the donor $0.015 to $0.0375 per month.

Proxyheap, the precursor to Haystack, was launched on June 22 just ten days after the election. That project, though, was only envisioned as a bandaid. It relied on proxies set up by individual users that were (through no fault of the thousands of generous contributors) unreliable and temporary. Moreover, individual users in Iran had to request access to a proxy. Haystack is a more efficient, effective and long-term solution.

We are in the process of stress testing the network of servers and verifying their functionality. The program will initially be made available at http://haystack.austinheap.com but will shortly thereafter be available through other distribution mechanisms to ensure maximal availability on the ground in Iran.

The Khamenei/Ahmadinejad government has been extremely effective at silencing prominent members of the opposition. But the uprising in Iran was not the result of top-down leadership, it was the result of individuals using whatever means they had at their disposal to organize and communicate. We want to continue to support, in whatever way we can, those who started this and will lead it forward: the people.

Tags Posted under Iran, Technology by