Digital Cuba

Circumventing government censorship is nothing new to people in Cuba.  The New York visit-cuba-print-c100197302Times posted a story today about how students in Cuba are challenging the status quo.  It’s interesting to see how people get around the limitations other people put on them.  For example Havana currently has only one Internet cafe, it’s owned by the government, it costs five U.S. dollars of use. This may not seem like a lot of money but according to the New York Times that’s about 1/3 the average Cuban monthly salary.

People in Cuba have gone to great lengths to get the basic Internet access that we take for granted.  The the most popular way to get Internet content is through the use of memory sticks.  A lot of different software has been developed over the last few years that allows for offline browsing.  The software allows one user to select content and have a download from the Internet and stored on the thumb drive for later viewing.  When you think about it anything with a memory stick could actually be a mule for Internet Data.  Digital cameras, iPods, watches, in just about anything else with writable memory.

The story also mentions that some industrious people have smuggled in satellite dishes to use live satellite based Internet connections.  Most if not all of these connections would be paid for by family members living in the United States earning a much higher wage.

Hotels that cater to tourists are expected to provide free wireless access to their guests.  I don’t think I’ve stayed in the hotel and the last five years that hasn’t had this feature.  Anyone with a laptop and a wireless card would be able to use this including the local residents.  And it appears the locals don’t Cuba_2778keep the Internet connection for themselves, they tend to download everything they can and share it with others who don’t have access.

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