Anonymity Networks: New Platforms for Conflict and Contention
32 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2013 Last revised: 18 Apr 2013
Date Written: March 29, 2013
Access to information is critical during population uprisings against repressive regimes. As a venue for information and data exchange, cyberspace offers many powerful social platforms for exchange of information. But the infrastructure of the Internet allows government to block or censor such platforms. In turn, anonymity networks emerged as conventional mechanisms for Internet users to circumvent government censorship. In this paper we show that anonymity networks became “terrains” for government-population conflict as they enable citizens to overpower governments’ conventional control mechanisms over cyber-information exchanges. We delineate escalations of this cyber-conflict by studying two notable cases: Egypt, a simple case, and Iran, a more complex case. We take Tor network as the anonymity network that is subject of investigation. We highlight the range of actions that each actor can take to retaliate via anonymity networks. We conclude that design specifications and protocols of anonymous communication determine the strategies of escalation. Finally, we lay out the foundation for monitoring and analyzing dynamics and control point analysis of anonymous networks.
Keywords: Anonymity Networks, Political Conflict, Cyberspace, Censorship, Internet
JEL Classification: D74, D80, D84, D89, L89
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation