Last week, Usenet indexer Newzbin2 delivered on their promise of delivering a mechanism to circumvent the court-ordered blocking measures set to hit their site in the weeks to come. After releasing a second version of their encryption software in just three days and an OSX version in under a week, the site’s operators now say they are prepared to adapt their client to help other blocked sites stay online.
Last week, in response to a High Court judge’s decision to order UK ISP BT to block Usenet indexer Newzbin2, the operators of the site delivered on their promise to neutralize the looming threat.
Last Wednesday, TeamRDogs – the group behind the site – released Newzbin Client 188.8.131.52, their first software release designed to circumvent BT’s Cleanfeed online censorship system. Our tests revealed that encryption is one of the main tools being used to circumvent the system.
Following the release, TorrentFreak caught up with Mr White from TeamRDogs, a character far more colorful than his monochromatic name might suggest. He told us that being forced to create this software was not only a waste of their time, but a sad testament to the state of the open Internet dream.
“Having to write a client program like this is an admission that the open web is in the process of failing. The ability of vested interests to choke the Internet with a vinculum woven from malevolent law and technology is very depressing,” Mr White told us.
“TeamRDogs would rather spend its time in titty bars drinking whisky and snorting lines than hacking the MAFIAA’s Client of Doom (hmmm, CoD – we may call it that), but they’ve made it necessary.”
The Newzbin2 anti-blocking software, which was updated with a new release just before the weekend followed by a brand new OSX version this week, is said to include ‘Agility Technology’. But what does that mean?
“This is simply a mechanism that will allow the application and its configuration to be modified to adapt to the new web censorship techniques that we can envisage arising,” Mr White explains. “The App can also ‘Phone Home’ for a friendly message if Newzbin2′s Intarwebs is cut off.”
While Newzbin2 could indeed become the first victim of the pro-copyright web-blocking movement in the West, if the lobbyists get their way it certainly won’t be the last. But by picking on a site like Newzbin2, which has already shown it is prepared to fight technology with technology (a route to failure in itself), the prospect of successful future web blocks has already been reduced.
Mr White told TorrentFreak that rather than keep their toys to themselves, in the spirit of sharing Newzbin2 could adjust their code to assist other victims of web-blocking.
“We could adapt it to help out other websites so if, for example, the MAFIAA start to go after NZBMatrix [another Usenet indexing site] or torrent sites we’d be happy to help them out.”
However, it’s not all plain sailing. We’ve already had pessimists point out that since TeamRDogs obtained the original Newzbin database by unconventional means, their software should be viewed with caution. But that notion is dismissed by Mr White.
“Some people will worry that [the client] will have adware/malware etc: given the heuristic examination that it will inevitably be subject to that would be dumb on a Sony scale,” says Mr White referencing the Sony CD rootkit fiasco. “It’s clean, we swear this on Ron Jeremy’s manhood.”
Mr White says that in addition to the new client, TeamRDogs also recommends tools offered by 3rd parties.
“Despite the App we reckon that MAFIAAFire will also be a good bet for most for now but we believe in having options,” he concludes. “And doubles all round.”