Monday, February 13, 2006

Helping Citizens in Repressive Societies Get Around Censorship

This ia follow-up to the Feb. 7, 2006 post Toronto Academics Get Huge Grant to Fight Internet Censorship.

The blog Slaw has an item today about Psiphon, a tool developed by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab to help people circumvent government Internet restrictions in repressive countries.

Slaw links to an article in the Globe and Mail, Scaling the firewall of digital censorship (subscription may be required for access after 2 weeks), that describes the project:
"Psiphon is designed to eliminate a drawback of anti-filter programs: incriminating the users behind the firewall. If found by authorities, that anti-filter software can lead to coercive interrogation, a bid to uncover the suspect's Internet travel secrets using a tactic known to insiders as 'rubber-hose cryptoanalysis'. Mr. [Nart] Villeneuve [of the Citizen Lab] built a system that won't leave dangerous footprints on computers. In simple terms, it works by giving monitored computer users a way to send an encrypted request for information to a computer located in a secure country. That computer finds the information and sends it back, also encrypted. (...) The team at Citizen Lab is now racing to put the final touches on the program in time for its public debut at the international congress of the free-speech group PEN in May. Billed as a uniquely Canadian approach to 'hactivism,' the first generation of Psiphon will then be made publicly available. Its release is set to come against a backdrop of ever-diminishing free access to the Internet. Just last month the popular search engine Google agreed to self-censor, restricting access to certain content and websites in order to gain access to the Chinese market."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:05 pm


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