Sunday, February 19, 2006

Psiphon: the anti-censor


(Photo: Deborah Baic)

This May, a team of researchers from Citizen Lab, at the U of T, will be unveiling a program called Psiphon at the international congress of PEN, a free speech organization with branches in over 100 countries.

The Globe and Mail:
More than fifteen years after the Berlin Wall was shattered with hammers and bulldozers, a Canadian-designed computer program is preparing to break through what activists call the great firewall of China.

The program, in the late stages of development in a University of Toronto office, is designed to help those trapped behind the blocking and filtering systems set up by restrictive governments. If successful, it will equip volunteers in more open countries to help those on the other side of digital barriers, allowing a free flow of information and news into and out of even the most closed societies.

Great news for writers in repressive countries all over the world. The Inquirer notes the difficulty for government officials who specialize in censoring online information about such topics as Tibeten independence, democracy and the Tinanmen Square massacre of 1989:

[Psiphon] enters users' machines through computer port 443, which is designed to transport secure data for banking. If China wanted to close this avenue down, it would also have to shut off a lot of its foreign electronic banking operations.

Once again, the Internet is proven to be the medium of free speech.

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