Private Proxies for Everyone!

I guess there will be demand for these in the UK too:

Web Tool Said to Offer Way Past the Government Censor: Deep in a basement lab at the University of Toronto a team of political scientists, software engineers and computer-hacking activists, or “hactivists,” have created the latest, and some say most advanced tool yet in allowing Internet users to circumvent government censorship of the Web.

The program, called psiphon (pronounced “SY-fon”), will be released on Dec. 1 in response to growing Internet censorship that is pushing citizens in restrictive countries to pursue more elaborate and sophisticated programs to gain access to Western news sites, blogs and other censored material.

Psiphon is downloaded by a person in an uncensored country (psiphon.civisec.org), turning that person’s computer into an access point. Someone in a restricted-access country can then log into that computer through an encrypted connection and using it as a proxy, gain access to censored sites.

Instead of publicly advertising the required login and password information, psiphon is designed to be shared within trusted social circles of friends, family and co-workers. This feature is meant to keep the program away from censors but is also the largest drawback because it limits efforts to get the program to as many people as possible.

So who will be the trusted third party, introducing the censored to the free?

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2 Responses to Private Proxies for Everyone!

  1. Sounds like a great program! Now they just have to figure out how to let the people in China and North Korea know about it.

  2. LACJ says:

    No one, but no one in China with an ounce of desire and interest should have any trouble getting an internet proxy up and working. There are numerous tools available, I would think the hardest part would be technical, i.e. configuring everything properly, rather than not having useful tools.

    Now whether people have home access to the Internet is another question. And whether an ISP’s records can be used to identify which sites have been accessed is another.

    Although I will admit that certain sites do seem to be effectively blocked, and the few tools I used were all ineffective. There was a diplomatic situation in Australia not long ago that I could not read about, no matter how I tried. Similarly, BBC must have done something to piss someone off years ago, as I have never been able to access their site.

    I don’t like this proxy’s model. When crackdowns occur they tend to be done in an aggressive, sweep up everything connected and not style. There must be one blog on blogspot that posts something considered bad, and so the whole site is blocked and has been for years. Wikipedia goes up and down like a yo-yo. Sites get unblocked and the re-blocked 3 weeks later, or the reverse. This is not micromanagement.

    So now if I use this service I am joined at the hip to a group of people that I don’t know. When sweep time comes what will happen? Honestly if one person in that grouping were to be suspicious the entire group could have big problems. No thank you sir, this is not the right model.

    If I may, I would argue that proxies have little to do with what is going on in China. North Korea I really can’t say. But in China there is no cache of info out there that is important but truly not known. Sure there are certain incidences and cults that are not discussed in polite society, and I don’t agree with that, but try discussing prison rape and our society’s knowing acceptance of such systemic victimization at your next cocktail party.

    Indeed, it is the fact of censorship rather than any effects of censorship that grinds most people. Today chatboards are all the rage, and people enter discussions on a wide range of topics including shall we say sensitive topics.

    Sorry but I really think proxies are old news, at least as far as China is concerned.

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