Experts unleash tool to bypass Internet censorship

A new tool aimed at circumventing Internet filters used by some governments was released, offering hopes for freer access to information for activists, journalists and others, an AFP report said.

The AFP report said 'psiphon' software, developed at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, offers more potential for bypassing government censors than most other tools because it allows simple access and leaves no traces on the computers of people who use it, developers say.

Psiphon, released through the Open Net Initiative, a project of four universities in the US, Canada and Britain, 'operates on private social networks of trust,' Ronald Deibert, director of Citizen Lab, was quoted as saying.

Deibert said psiphon functions like a 'virtual private network' used by many companies and organizations to securely transmit data, but without the cumbersome installation of VPNs.

'The user does not have to install anything. They connect to the software with a unique user name and password and Web site address, ' he said.

Because the system relies on a connection through a proxy computer outside the country, 'there is nothing authorities can block,' Deibert said.

With psiphon, a user in a country such as China, which limits the information that can be seen on the Internet, connects to a proxy in another country that allows them to bypass restrictions, the report further said.