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Internet freedom

New software allows citizens to bypass their government's internet censorship efforts

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: internet freedom, internet censorship, China


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(NewsTarget) Censorship on the world wide web may be coming to an end for many web surfers in various parts of the country, as a new tool has been created that is capable of circumventing government censorship of the web.

According to researchers, the free program has been constructed to let citizens of countries with restricted web access retrieve and display web pages from anywhere. The program, from The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab software, is called Psiphon and it will be released on Dec. 1.

With internet censorship being a growing issue, several countries have come under fire for blocking access to certain parts of the Internet for citizens of those countries. Ronald Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, recently told the New York Times that "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."

Reporters without Borders recently released a list of 13 countries it believed were suppressing freedom of expression on the Internet, including Syria, China and Vietnam. Toronto's Citizen Lab, however, believes its program will allow surfers to bypass web censorship completely.

The Citizen Lab's Psiphon program works through social networks. An internet user in an uncensored country can download the program to their computer. By doing this, that person's computer then becomes an access point for other computers to use in order to access anything on the internet.

Once the program is downloaded and installed, these customers in unblocked countries can then give contacts in censored countries a unique web address, login and password. This then makes it possible for restricted users to freely browse the web through an encrypted connection to that computer's proxy server.

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