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Monday, May 07, 2007

Set Up Your Own Private Web Proxy with Psiphon

Developed by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, Psiphon is a private web proxy for bypassing censorship. We first mentioned it back in November when it was still more of an idea than a reality, but it's come a long way since then.

The idea behind Psiphon is to get users in countries or areas that don't censor web traffic to act as proxies for users in countries that do censor. It's private in the sense that only users with the right access details like usernames and passwords can access a "psiphonode". Like a private social network, only members can gain entrance. This makes it tough for psiphonodes to be discovered and blocked.

Not only can you bypass the Great Firewall of China by using Psiphon, you can also use it to set up your own private web proxy that you can use from school, work, or any other place that censors or monitors your web traffic. Traffic is encrypted between a psiphonode and the user. Importantly, only the user who sets up a psiphonode needs to download the software; users who simply want to access a psiphonode don't need to install anything.

It's easy for censorship software to block access to sites that have the words "proxy" or "proxies" in the domain name or site content, but it's rather more difficult for said software to detect a psiphonode. That makes it a moving target for censors everywhere, and an extremely valuable tool for any web surfer.

Colorful, step-by-step user guides available in both English and Spanish will help you quickly set up Psiphon.


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