In many countries, the government censors certain websites, blogs and social media networks to stifle dissent and filter the type of information the population is able to access. Censorship can pose a challenge to people like you, who are trying to collect information about a particular topic. If you are having trouble accessing information due to censorship, there are a number of tools you can use, including proxy servers, anonymizing peer-to-peer networks, alternative DNS root name servers and private alternative network devices. Here is a list of tools you can use and links to their websites where you can find more information about how to use them:
- The Tor Project allows users to transmit messages and access websites anonymously by disguising their IP addresses (and thus shielding their locations and any other identifying information).
- Psiphon is a proxy server software which enables users to access censored websites by establishing connections through an intermediate, non-censored system. The project views the Internet as a “global commons.”
- FreedomBox is a project designed to “facilitate free communication among people, safely and securely, beyond the ambition of the strongest power to penetrate”, and the project’s website explicitly describes itself as a “platform that resists oppression and censorship”, and “an organizing tool for democratic activities in hostile regimes.”
- Diaspora tries to provide Facebook-like functionality without being dependent on a centralized company which stores information about its users.
- The Serval Project is free open-source software under development for mobile telephones, letting them communicate even in the absence of phone towers and supporting infrastructure.
“Tor recorded its highest usage rates in Iran [2009 elections] while the Iranian government was blocking the Internet most heavily.”
- Andrew Lewman, Executive Director, Tor Project