RSF Cuba Report



RSF has released a new report on Cuba. The report reflects experiences I have had testing the Cuban Internet, very few sites are blocked. The report notes that expensive, restrictive access and slow speed (lack of fibre optic cables due to the US embargo) are the main issues.

This, however, is the first time I’ve heard of the local software installed on PC’s. The software described appears to be some sort of key logger.

One of the things I noticed a lot of people are doing, and it is noted in this RSF report is saving emails in a “draft” folder instead of sending them thinking that it will protect them from electronic surveillance. In most cases it is either irrelevant or not protecting you at all..

Thereafter, I took every kind of possible and imaginable precaution. I even used an e-mail address created by Reporters Without Borders. I would write systematically-encoded articles that I would leave in its “Draft” folder without sending them. Then someone in France would go to the same e-mail address, remove my stories from the “Draft” folder, and send them to the newspapers they were meant for.

Here is the problem, it matter how you are receiving and sending your email. For example, if you use webmail (e.g. gmail) unless you are using HTTPS encryption for the whole session (not just the login) the all the traffic between you and gmail is in plain text and can be intercepted, it does not matter if it is a draft or a sent email. In this scenario saving an email in the “draft” folder is not helping you at all, its actually worse since you think your are secured from interception when in fact you are not.

If you do use HTTPS encryption for the whole session and actually send the email it is fine in the scenario above because the connection between the eavesdropper (Cuba) and the email provider (France) is encrypted and since the email, even though it is in plain text, is sent from France. In this case saving in the drafts folder is just unneccessary.

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