It’s no secret that those living in Canadia are a bunch of bleeding-heart lefties. If you need proof, you need only to turn to the wonderful Psiphon project. Pieced together by grass-roots Internet activists (we refuse to use the word “hacktivists”), Psiphon is a communal tool for helping others access parts of the World Wide Web denied to them by their governments.
Restrictive regimes, such as the Chinese or North Koreans, often block huge swaths of the Web from its citizenry, from dissident sites and pornography to western news sites and blogs. This leads to much anguish in those areas, and there has been something of an Internet arms race as those who want the freedom of information and those who act to suppress it each vie to outdo one another.
That’s where the cool idea behind Psiphon comes in.
Many of the methods of circumventing Internet roadblocks have taken the form of proxies of one sort or another. The problem here is that the proxies can be identified and the parties hosting them punished. Psiphon takes the proxy out of the affected country. Any reader in an uncensored country might download the software and host it for those less fortunate. The Web users in the censored countries then use your connection to browse the same unrestricted Internet you do.
The idea is based on numbers: if only a handful of users install the software, then it can be blocked easily. But if several thousands use it, then it gets hard. And the more users who share their connection, the more difficult it is for the Internet cops to block them.
The point-to-point traffic is encrypted, and leaves no trace of its use on the client computer. This marks a great way for those behind the digital curtain to peek through, and a great way for average Web users to help out their fellow man. A worthy project that’s overdue, to be sure.
Psiphon Project [Project Homepage]