Newzbin Versus Big Telecom

September 20, 2011

This year a landmark decision concerning the censorship of a Usenet provider, Newzbin and Newzbin2. A British judge ordered an ISP, BT, (British Telecom,) to remove the provider from their index, essentially rendering the site invisible to anyone using their service. The order was supposed to take effect in October, an presumably the ISP will use the system that they already have in place to block pornography, Cleanfeed…but it will do them no good.

The guys over at TeamRDogs have already released a version of the Newzbin client, version 1.0.0.127, that gets around the Cleanfeed technology…and any other censoring measures that the ISP may implement. At least that’s their claim. In a rather bold statement Newzbin2’s site administrator, Mr. White, said, œThis is targeted at UK users who are likely to get blocked in October. This first version is a bit rushed and so not very polished. Then went on to say that the client would be improved and features would be added to it.

Adapting Is The Key

Presently only available in a Windows version, (presumably Linux, and OSX will be coming soon,) the system has been tested against all Cleanfeed techniques that are used, but the system also incorporates Agility Technology. This will allow the system to adapt to any measures or œanti-censorship countermeasures, that may be added in the future. The client will give access to basic functionality on the Newzbin2 website, but the admin wouldn’t say exactly how the client goes about the process of circumvention.

What They Did Say

Initially the Newzbin client will attempt to resolve the website domain name to IP address using the normal channels, DNS. This is where the magic that they won’t tell us about happens. Then the client will start an encrypted session with a Newzbin2 website using methods that Cleanfeed won’t œlike. According to Mr. White this makes blocking and snooping virtually impossible.

Diamond In The Rough

Even though it is in the early development stage, the client does do what is promised, provide access to the Newzbin2 website using the TOR anonymity network. Links to online resources like IDMb, and the more common search engines have also been incorporated in the interface. To gain the status of œBulletproof there will have to be a few tweaks and features put in, but we’re sure that the developer who put the most heart into it, Mr. Violet, is already working on these.

Promises Made…And Kept

After the court ruling was made by Judge Arnold in London, the administration at Newzbin2 was livid…understandably so. As they felt that there was no legitimate reason to associate their website with the website that had been taken down by another court ruling. In a statement they made after the ruling was made they said that, œWe know how it works. Security through obscurity doesn™t work. And after October neither will Cleanfeed. Looks like they have lived up to their promise, and with plenty of time to spread the word around.

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