New tool aims to bypass web censorship

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A new web tool developed by the University of Toronto claims to be able to bypass a country’s censorship of certain web sites by acting as a proxy between people in a censored country and a computer in an uncensored one.

‘psiphon’ will be launched on December 1st and works via social networking. Someone in an uncensored country downloads the software to their computer, and then people in the censored country access that PC with a login name and password, providing them with an encrypted connection.

Anyone hoping to spy on the connection is likely to be thwarted because it simply looks like a single connection to a random computer, not to banned websites.

Doing this on small-scale networks should help to avoid suspicion, though Citizen Lab did warn that using the software could violate laws, and that users should consider the potential consequences.

Ronald Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, told the New York Times: “Governments have militarized their censorship efforts to an incredible extent so we’re trying to reverse some of that and restore that promise that the internet once had for unfettered access and communication.”

Andy Merrett