There’s a new Google tool that protects users from nosy governments and allows them to get around restrictive firewalls. It’s called uProxy, a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that is similar to a VPN. uProxy was developed at the University of Washington with help from nonprofit group Brave New Software and was announced by Google at the Google Ideas Summit in New York. It is currently in closed beta.
The key different between uProxy and a traditional VPN is that uProxy establishes a direct connection between a user in, say, North Korea or Iran, and a trusted friend in a country with free Internet access like the United States through a link that can be sent via email or chat. There is no single, centralized server, which means its tough for a government to crack down on. The connection lasts as long as both computers have uProxy running.
“The reason it is closed source at the moment, the reason we’re not open sourcing it right now, is exactly that we don’t want people to start using it before, actually, it’s safe and secure,” Lucas Dixon, the lead engineer at Google Ideas, told Mashable.
And while we briefly got our hopes up about Chinese users finally being able to bypass the Great Chinese Firewall, users on the Google Ideas YouTube page are claiming that the service has already been blocked in China.