On Thurs. Mar 25 ISOC-NY hosted Prof. Jinyang Li in a talk about the use of distributed systems, and particularly the use of the Kaleidoscope Firefox plug-in, in circumventing censorship. This is part of her ongoing research into “exploiting the real world social relationships among users to improve the security and reliability of open distributed systems.” The talk explains how traditional censorship workarounds like proxies and P2P can easily be discovered and defeated, but how Kaleidoscope – which passes encrypted data through trusted relays – defies such efforts.
Video + audio is below. A DVD of this talk is available free ($5 paypal donation optional) from firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask for DVD1725
Dr. Li is a graduate of the University of Singapore (1998) who
completed her PhD in routing dynamics at MIT in 2006. After designing
a multichannel MAC protocol at UC Berkeley, she has been teaching and
researching distributed networks at NYU. She received an NSF CAREER
Award in 2008.
Current projects include cooperative distributed storage
(Friendstore), censorship circumvention (Kaleidoscope),wide area
distributed file systems (WheelFS) and high throughput multi-radio
wireless mesh networks.
Kaleidoscope uses social networks to spread the word about
anonymous proxies via a trusted social network. The software has two
components, a Firefox plugin for the notifications, and a backend that
creates the proxy server.