Jillian C. York » Haystack and Media Irresponsibility I have been reading about this "Haystack" anti-censorship tool for a while, but have withheld comment up to now. The above linked article seems to justify my reticence.
This tool has been a media darling, hyped in many different publications, but try as I might I have never been able to find out any solid information about what it actually does. Just a lot of marketing hype.
It now looks like the system was well intentioned snake oil. I still have not seen it, so this is all hearsay. Unfortunately it can be very difficult for the average person to tell the difference. One thing to look for is transparency in security systems. No security system should rely on assuming the enemy will not work out how it operates. It absolutely must be secure even if the opponent knows everything.
Other good signs are the experience and reputation of the author, the length of time the tool has been in use, and published analysis by other independent security experts.
As it turns out, media hype has a very poor correlation with real security.