During the Cold War, authors would sometimes discover that their books were being published underground and distributed clandestinely to interested readers in the Soviet Union. No one in the West ever saw these books, or got any royalties from them, but it was heartening to be part of the spread of art and information in a controlled society.

There is still media censorship in China, as well as some other Asian and Middle Eastern countries. And we also have something new: the internet.

A group of hackers called Hacktivismo is using their skills to do good things, for a change. They?re creating tools to help people get around internet censorship in countries where information is controlled by the government.

They?ve produced two programs to help people swap messages that would otherwise be banned. The programs will make it much harder for web control systems to spot and block messages they consider subversive. The dark side of this technology is that it could also make it harder for law enforcement to spot websites that promote sordid subjects like child sex.

The creators of the programs have made them easy to use. The first program is called Camera/Shy and allows people to hide messages inside images. You can insert encrypted messages into pictures created with the gif format. If your recipients know where to look, they can retrieve and read them, as long as they have Camera/Shy software. Camera/Shy scrambles messages using same system used in the U.S. Government encryption system.

The second program is called Six/Four. It works like systems that let members share music and movies with each other. The software allows users to create their own virtual network on the internet that is invisible to the firewalls and filtering systems that many regimes use to block access to parts of the web. Six/Four represents the date of June 4, 1989 when Chinese authorities cracked down on democracy protests being held in Tiananmen Square.

What is our government hiding from us? Find out by scrolling through the Conspiracy section of our store,click here. Note especially ?The Black Vault? CD-Rom by John Greenewald and the new ?TWA Flight 800? video.

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