This question came up because in certain countries being a Christian can get you killed. As I understand it when one joins the Safe Network a vault is created on the device used to access the Network. Would not this fact alone allow a government to discern that the individual using the device is accessing the Network?
If someone has access to your computer, I think the presence of a vault is the least of your privacy concerns.
SAFE eliminates many of the privacy failures of the current internet, but it doesn’t attempt to protect what is already on your computer. It doesn’t add to your worries - it won’t leave browser histories or cookies, or any easy way to tell what you’ve been looking at, but if someone can look at your computer, yes they can probably tell that you have a SAFE account.
EDIT: I should add that in time even security on your own computer will get better - for example, accessing SAFE using a bootable CD or USB, and not leaving any evidence on the computer. You would have to have Safecoin in your account (for storage and communications, thought not browsing public data), but it should be possible to keep evidence of your SAFE account private.
Thanks for your reply. Could this problem be overcome by setting up vaults for people to use outside the country of their residence?
Yes, Safecoin can be transferred to your account from anywhere. See also my edit above.
Don’t forget monitoring of internet connections, that’s the usual way people are found to be using illegal services in repressive countries.
@dirvine explained that packets will be regular UDP packets with an encrypted payload. Since your client remembers the last close group you were connected to, reconnecting should also not look special at a packet level. I am still a bit worried about the initial joining and account creation to the network though, usually that kind of process is the most recognizable at packet level.
And then there is of course the matter of getting your hands on the MaidSafe client software. Downloading it from the most publicly known internet websites could be very dangerous in some countries.
Running a node in another jurisdiction would be one way to keep supplied with safecoin to fund your communication and file storage, but you’d still have to access the network on a machine running a maidsafe client. As @happybeing said, though, this could be accomplished by booting from a dedicated usb drive, thus leaving nothing to snoop on the computer you were using.