Telegram has put in place a tactic to circumvent Russian censorship. However, it requires a certain passivity of the platforms that serve as frontage. However, Google, which could be one, has made an update that annihilates this tactic. Voices rise to ask Google to reconsider this decision, which has a detrimental effect on anti-censorship tools.
For escape censorship in Russia , the Telegram messaging app has set up a ploy, called ” domain fronting “, Which is to hide the actual endpoint of a connection. In the case of the discussion software, this plan goes through Google and Amazon, two web giants who sell hosting solutions to a large clientele.
For the authority in charge of applying censorship, this tactic is obviously very annoying: if it wants to effectively neutralize Telegram, it must not only block its IP addresses but also, and massively, those of Amazon and Google . More than 17 million of them were thus neutralized in Russia, the extreme majority belonging to the two American companies.
More domain fronting
The consequences are obvious: many sites and services become inaccessible, or very difficult to use.
Now, it turns out that Google made a modification on the App Engine, which had the effect of rendering inoperative the “domain fronting”. While this technical adjustment should prevent Telegram’s battle against Russia’s telecoms regulator from spilling over to third-party sites that have nothing to do with, it also has the effect of not simplifying the task of anti-corruption tools. censorship.
This decision has obviously been extensively commented. ” Google has long claimed to support Internet freedom around the world, and in many ways the company has been true to its beliefs. Authorizing domain fronting has allowed millions of people to enjoy a freer Internet and enjoy their human rights Responded a cadre of Access Now .
Google had planned to end it
” We urge Google to remember its commitment to human rights and Internet freedom and to allow domain fronting to continue Adds the manager, whose group has been dedicated for several years to the defense of an open and free Internet. But obviously, the American company does not intend to change its policy.
” Domain Fronting has never been a supported feature at Google Said a spokesman for the company, requested by The Verge ” Until recently, it worked because of a quirk of our stack of software. We are constantly evolving our network, and as part of a planned software update, it no longer works. We do not intend to offer it in functionality “.
Chance of the calendar
Here, the effectiveness of the method was partly based on a relative passive complicity of the firm of Mountain View, According to the American company, this modification was planned for a long time, which is perhaps true – always is- he that the occurrence of this update, in April, the same month that occurs the fight between Google and Telegram, can only feed suspicions.
According to Access Now, at least a dozen human rights technologies rely, in whole or in part, on Google’s commitment to protect them and increase Internet freedom. These programs and services include: Signal, Psiphon, Lantern, Telex (in development), Tor, Obsf4, ScrambleSuite, Meek, Meek, Meek_lite, Collateral Freedom, and GreatFire FreeBrowser.