Most countries that are connected to the internet have at least some level of censorship.
Each type of censorship is broken down on each of the following 4 maps.
As a result of the heavy censorship of the internet in certain parts of the world, tools have been developed to assist the user in “working around” the data blocks or whatever software is being used to disrupt the free-flow of information.
Here at Censorship in America, we believe in the freedom of information and ideas, regardless of where an individual lives in the world. Below you will find some resources that may help you if your ISP or government is restricting access to certain sites. If you know someone else that may be having difficulties with internet censorship, please pass this information along to them as well.
♦ HotspotShield by Anchor Free: AnchorFree enables millions of users globally to surf the Web freely and securely through Hotspot Shield, the world’s first and most popular ad-supported virtual private network. More than 8.5 million monthly users in 100 countries rely on Hotspot Shield to secure their Web browsing experience, proliferating freedom of information online and democratizing the Web. It is the only free way to ensure privacy and total anonymity online on desktop computers, laptops and iPhones. Hotspot Shield is powered by AnchorFree’s proprietary communication platform that enables marketers to distribute ad campaigns, messaging and content to millions of users, totaling over two billion page views every month. AnchorFree is a privately held venture backed Company and is based in Mountain View, California. For more information or to download Hotspot Shield, please visit www.anchorfree.com. The UK version of the tool, Expat Shield is available at http://www.expatshield.com.
♦ The U.S. government has developed technology that can cut through Web censorship barriers in countries like China and deliver news and information to people who don’t have currently have access to it.The Feed Over Email (FOE) system — outlined in a recent report by the Broadcasting Board of Governors — uses email to transport censored data to end users. However, instead of sending text-only emails, the FOE client program decompresses and decodes messages and presents the data in the form of RSS feeds, downloaded files, and applications, or in the form of a proxy server address, according to the report.The report about the technology was released on the Governmentattic.org Web site, which obtains documents from the U.S. government through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and then publishes them online.
♦ Ultrasurf is a product of Ultrareach Internet Corporation. Originally created to help internet users in China find security and freedom online, Ultrasurf has now become the world’s most popular pro-privacy, anti-censorship software, with millions of people using it to bypass firewalls and protect their identity online.
Network censorship and surveillance is a booming business. Censorship schemes continue to fragment the Internet and new censorship proposals are constantly introduced around the world, including in liberal democracies. (Lately governments have gotten fascinated by the idea of forcing ISPs to censor particular sites from the DNS, so users can’t find them even though the sites are still there.) Censors usually assume that most Internet users don’t know how to bypass the censorship (or, often, that many users won’t even realize the censorship is going on!).
Unfortunately, the censors are often right, at least in broad strokes: many Internet users get used to censorship and rarely or never try to bypass it. And censorship doesn’t always take the form of simply blocking sites and services. But there are still major efforts to beat technical censorship by technical means, and motivated users can generally take advantage of them. Millions of people are at least occasional users of censorship circumvention services, but it’s a perennial challenge to broaden this pool and give people the tools to maintain uncensored access over time.
Earlier this spring, I took part in a week-long book sprint event in Germany to create a second edition of How to Bypass Internet Censorship. The outcome of the sprint is a 240-page book, available by print-on-demand, for HTML browsing, and as a PDF or ePub download. This book gives details on a wide range of tools for a wide range of audiences, with information on the risks and limitations of particular approaches. It also suggests ways for people on uncensored or less-censored networks to help out.
There are also video interviews with me and other sprint participants discussing Internet censorship and circumvention. A book sprint is a collaborative process where a team produces or revises a book in a short, intense period, typically a single week. (This sprint was convened by FLOSS Manuals, an organization that uses book sprints and Internet collaboration to create open documentation for free and open source software and related technical topics. Their previous sprints have produced some great material in astonishingly short times.)
The manual is now being translated into several languages; if you’d like to help translate all or part of it into some language, please let FLOSS Manuals know!
One of the themes that we gave stronger emphasis in the second edition is the increasingly intimate connection between censorship and surveillance, and, conversely, between privacy and free speech. (One reason for this is that network devices that block particular words and phrases, or access to particular services, are thwarted when they can’t see what people are communicating. For example, it’s very easy for a firewall to block particular Wikipedia articles or Google search terms, but trickier when users use the secure version of Wikipedia or of Google Search.) This means that EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere software and the Tor project, both first conceived as privacy technologies, have significant anti-censorship applications (which are described in the book). It also means that censors are increasingly interested in blocking or subverting HTTPS encryption so that they can continue keeping an eye on the substance of people’s communications.
It’s also great to see that a subsequent book sprint has produced a manual on computer security and was able to re-use some of our material, which is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
There’s always more work to be done to document these topics clearly and completely. FLOSS Manuals has a wiki-like interface; if you have improvements to make, create an account and start editing!
Also check out this post for more information.
*Re-Published from eff.org under the Creative Commons License*