Cuba Likely Focus of US Firm’s 7-Figure Anti-Censorship Contract

By Tracey Eaton (alongthemalecon.blogspot.com)

the ultrasurf logo.
the ultrasurf logo.

HAVANA TIMES — The Broadcasting Board of Governors (a US Federal agency) earlier this month signed a $2,291,666 contract with the maker of Ultrasurf, touted as “one of the world’s most popular anti-censorship, pro-privacy” computer programs.

Ultrareach Internet Corp., based in Cheyenne, Wyo., created Ultrasurf to help Internet users in China defeat censorship and surf the Web anonymously.

BBG’s contract records available online do not mention Cuba or disclose what countries the agency is targeting. However, Cuba has been a focus of the agency’s Internet Anti-Censorship Division, or IAC.

A 2013 BBG fact sheet on Internet censorship says the agency has provided Ultrareach’s “anti-censorship, pro-privacy software to users worldwide who are subject to foreign government sponsored Internet censorship.”

The fact sheet said the IAC: “provides a variety of tools to circumvent filtering and promote Internet freedom for citizens of countries whose governments censor their access. The Division works closely with BBG broadcasters who target censoring countries to ensure access to their content and educate their audience about Internet censorship and safely circumventing filters.”

The document also states: “In an effort to promote potential future program growth, BBG studies and tests Internet circumvention tools beyond those currently funded.”

Evaluation of IAC tools is ongoing and an essential component of maintaining effectiveness and agility in the ongoing cat-and-mouse game of Internet censorship.
The IAC has worked with Ultrareach to improve the security of their Ultrasurf censorship circumvention client software.

The BBG has awarded Ultrareach a total of $4,699,999.92 in contracts for “custom computer programming services” since May 20, 2013.

The agency signed the nearly $2.3 million contract on June 4. Ultrareach expects to finish its work by June 10, 2016.

9 thoughts on “Cuba Likely Focus of US Firm’s 7-Figure Anti-Censorship Contract

  • June 8, 2015 at 9:33 am
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    Why State-sponsored censorship of the Internet exists in the first place is the question. What are the Castros afraid of?

    Reply
    • June 8, 2015 at 2:22 pm
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      Good question, maybe nothing. After all, as I’ve said before, if Cuba is the paranoid police state that you claim it is, monitoring and blocking sites like HT’s , it is a mystery why “the Castros” allow you into the country at all. The United States certainly wouldn’t allow you in if the shoe was on the other foot.

      Reply
      • June 8, 2015 at 3:39 pm
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        I was wondering how you were going to get your ‘dig’ in on the US. The truth is that if the Castros were not such whores for my money they probably wouldn’t let me in. The US is far more open to people who think like you than we probably should be. I mean Cuba nor its leaders no harm. I’m wanting the Castros to leave town as much as anyone else. But it can’t be from external actions. It must come from the Cuban people themselves.

        Reply
        • June 9, 2015 at 12:59 am
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          Moses, that’s another of your fair, unbiased opinions concerning “The truth” about Cuba. For the Castro’s “to leave town…it can’t be from external actions. It must come from the Cuban people themselves.” Raul is almost 84; Fidel is almost 89. The “external” efforts to eliminate them has cost the U. S. democracy lots of prestige and the U. S. taxpayers billions of dollars while enriching benefactors by billions of dollars. I think it is obvious that old-age mortality will soon be a factor in the demise of the Castros, not “external” efforts nor “the Cuban people themselves.” Do you really think, Moses, there are sane people who actually believe your rants, such as “it must come from the Cuban people themselves.” I believe most of us have read, on the U. S. Security Archive website, the declassified U. S. documents that, in 1962, initiated the embargo to starve and deprive the Cuban people to entice them to rise up and overthrow or kill Castro. Since then such undemocratic farces as Torricelli and Helms Burton have strengthened the embargo. Uh, has it worked, Moses? If not, why? Did it fail for basically the same reason the Bay of Pigs attack failed? I’m sure you can excuse anything since 1952 that has enriched a few Batistianos and Mafiosi by harming everyday Cubans on the island…all in the guise, since 1959, of “hurting Castro!” I bet, Moses, after the Castros die of old age, that “hurting Miguel Diaz-Canel” will not be nearly as lucrative as “hurting Castro” has been since 1959.

          Reply
          • June 9, 2015 at 6:56 am
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            I didn’t need a history lesson. Looking forward is far more important. I will accept the inevitable biological solution as warmly as a political solution. Either way, no Castros. Post-Castro Cuba, I suspect, will be a very different country. The political calculus will warrant a very different strategy. Finally, to your comment regarding the success of the embargo. No one debates that it failed to achieve it’s original purpose. What is debatable is the impact of embargo on the Castros ability to foment revolution elsewhere around the world and in particular in Latin America.

      • June 8, 2015 at 4:38 pm
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        So the question stands…why does Cuba monitor and sensor websites Dan? Stop dancing around.

        Reply
    • June 9, 2015 at 12:42 am
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      Moses, Cuba might be “afraid of” another Bay of Pigs, another Cubana Flight 455, another…well, you understand Cuban history, I’m sure.

      Reply
      • June 9, 2015 at 6:34 am
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        So that fear is why A Cuban can’t access foreign news services in Spain….fear it will bring about a Bay of Pigs event?

        Reply
      • June 9, 2015 at 7:03 am
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        So censorship of the internet will prevent half-baked invasions or attacks on airlines by disgruntled exiles? Do you really believe the Internet is that dangerous?

        Reply

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