• 12.20.07


An end-run around Internet censorship

The Chinese government is well-known for censoring Internet content, but its Great Firewall is hardly unique. At least 40 countries engage in some form of filtering, forcing dissidents, journalists, and many average citizens into the cyberunderground. “It’s very much becoming the Internet experience worldwide,” says Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. Deibert, though, has a novel solution: MySpace-style social networking. Dubbed Psiphon, his product lets people with unfettered access to the Net set up their computers as proxy servers for people living under repressive regimes, giving them immediate access to the unrestricted Web. A month after its release, the free open-source software had been used to set up 10,000 servers that connect to Iran, Vietnam, Central Asia, even China. To fund further development of Psiphon, the lab will sell enhanced versions of the software to businesses beginning this year.