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The US government is financing the development of "shadow" Internet systems to enable dissidents abroad to get around government censors, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
The newspaper said the covert effort also includes attempts to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries.
The operation involves a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype "Internet in a suitcase," the report said.