VOA-funded Circumventor software allows Chinese an endrun around censors

VOA-funded Circumventor software allows Chinese an endrun around censors

Summary: NPR features an interview today with Bennett Haselton, programmer of Circumventor software, which allows users in China to access blocked sites via a compliant machine based outside of China.

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TOPICS: China, Google, Software
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NPR features an interview today with Bennett Haselton, programmer of Circumventor software, which allows users in China to access blocked sites via a compliant machine based outside of China. When you install the software it generates a URL Chinese users can use to use your machine as a proxy for uncensored Web surfing, Haselton explained to NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Since the software is free, Inskeep wondered how Haselton makes money. The answer, Haselton said, is that Voice of America partially underwrote development, and that his other software projects do pay him. A look at the Circumventor page makes it fairly obvious that supporting Chinese users was a secondary concern in the development.

[I]f you want to get around Web blocking at work, don't install the Circumventor on your work computer. Install the Circumventor on your home computer. When the installer is done, it will give you the URL for your new Circumventor, and then you write that URL down and take it in with you to work, where you can use that URL to bypass the Web blocking there. Similarly, if you're in China and blocked from accessing certain sites, don't install the Circumventor on a machine in China; instead, get a friend to install it outside China, and then they can send you the URL that you can use to access banned sites.

In 2004, though, he added an option that communicates Circumventor URLs to users in censored countries.  So Circumventor is evolving into a sort of anti-censorship P2P network. In fact Haselton, through his Peacefire.org, is a software activist against all manner of censoring and web blocking software. It's somewhat interesting, then that the US government is not only supporting his Circumventor software but also subpoened Google in an effort to show that web filtering software is insufficient to block children from viewing net porn.

Topics: China, Google, Software

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3 comments
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  • Wonderful Idea

    I think this is a wonderful idea. A way to keep the chinese people informed on how their own goverment is blocking information that it deems 'wrong' to view. Something similar to what the United States is doing. Though I agree to some sensorship when children are concerned, there should be no reason for a goverment to sensor what its citiizens hear/see on the net. Let the information flow I say
    stepboltz
  • VOA-funded Circumventor software allows Chinese an endrun around censors

    Stepboltz is right, we do need some censorship
    with kiddies. Oh, wait there is a system in
    place. It's called parents. What to do when
    parents fail to keep kiddis safe, that's another
    subject.

    BobJ
    plumnilly
  • software rams firewall of china

    I'm very intresting in this software, but i don't know where can i get it? Someone can help me?
    wu sheng