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Psiphon Now Available For Download

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the information-she-wants-to-be-free dept.

Software 140

eldavojohn writes "Project Psiphon has been released for public download under the GPL. CNN has coverage of the Canadian research project that 'works by first allowing a person in a country like Canada that does not censor Internet content to set up a user name and a password for a person in a country that does — China, for example.' While this idea is certainly nothing new to Slashdot, the fact that software like Psiphon is becoming publicly available is interesting. For a quick simplified 'How it works,' Psiphon has a Flash demonstration." Not a moment too soon, apparently. China is moving to assign IDs to bloggers, to register their real identities and track their statements online.

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I think this is great... (1)

xiong.chiamiov (871823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066256)

but I don't know if I would do this for anyone I didn't know well personally. Sounds like a security risk to me.

Re:I think this is great... (1, Redundant)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066608)

My first thought:

"Great. Another thing we're going to have to figure out how to block at the school. This is just what we need: another app to help middle school students surf porn sites."

Yes, it has it's legitimate humanity-improving uses, but any kid in the US who reads /. just found a better way to circumvent their schools' filters.

And do they really think China won't figure out how to stop this?

Re:I think this is great... (2, Interesting)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066964)

Yep - I can think of at least one legitimate use for me. Working for a large nameless and faceless corporation, they do content filtering on the firewall and sometimes some suprising things get blocked. The FreeTDS [freetds.org] site was blocked for some dumb reason, for example. Being a UNIX system administrator, I do a lot of research on security and hacking methods (I wear a white hat, for sure) and frequently get blocked by the firewall because I'm looking up stuff on sites it labels as "hacking related". I mean, duh, the crackers and script kiddies can get to all the information about how to compromise my systems, but I can't see the same information to figure out how to safeguard them?

I could set up my own authenticated server on my home box (Ubuntu) and proxy through it for unfettered access. Granted there'd be a speed hit because of the upload limit on the cable box, but it'd be better than having to send myself notes to download stuff at home and bring it back to work the next day on my pen drive.

Re:I think this is great... (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068404)

I bet that pen drive is against regulations as well....

Re:I think this is great... (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17072092)

How is one of the first posts to the article redundant?

Lovely moderation.

Re:I think this is great... (1)

ilzogoiby (997881) | more than 7 years ago | (#17072164)

Well... middle school students will get access to porn anyway...
I don't believe this will work, but at least it will cause a lot of trouble to them...

Re:I think this is great... (0, Troll)

nittibang (621093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067356)

This is great but why would I give some moron from somewhere else access to something that his govt restricts him from.. I am not the USA I dont need to free the world.. If they dont like how things are where they live they are human and they can leave and come here to the USA it seems we let people live here for free anyways! I personally use ssh and tunnel stuff like IRC, MSN, AOL, HTTP, and GTALK to my home non-filtered address. So it is possible for me to view pr0n at work without some nosy SOB watching what I do.. Granted the feds are always watching but last thing I want is the Dweeb police telling me what I can and cant do. I am technically savoy enough that I dont need anyone telling me what I can look at at work. That and I dont use windows so this makes it much easier to avoid security meausures.. Placed in the wrong hands these tools could be dangerous.

Re:I think this is great... (1)

PDXNerd (654900) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067828)

If they dont like how things are where they live they are human and they can leave and come here to the USA it seems we let people live here for free anyways!

Err, which USA do you live in? Nothing here is free, not even speech. And it's not the Dweeb Police (is that like the fashion police??) that tell you what to do - it's the lawmakers who write the laws, the police just enforce them.

That and I dont use windows so this makes it much easier to avoid security meausures..

Err, how is it easier to avoid security measures on *nix than on Windows? All the tools you mentioned you use are available on Windows too. Please explain what you mean by this.

Placed in the wrong hands these tools could be dangerous.

You mean like a hammer? Yes, we should definitely ban hammers. Do you know how many murders were committed last year by dangerous people with tools?

Please. Start using those spare brain cells - people already think Americans are stupid, for the sake of the rest of us, don't open your mouth and prove them right anymore!!

I can't believe... (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066280)

...that this can work. It seems too easy to detect and filter content from the 'proxy', what am I missing ?

Re:I can't believe... (4, Informative)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066374)

The article says the data between the proxy and user is encrypted. I think the idea is there is no single point of failure. Each user has one 'contact' in the 'free' country. Even if the proxy is identified and blocked you're only cutting off one user. Whereas usually you block the servers at the source, stopping everyone from seeing it.

Gee that flash video explained everything for me! (4, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066596)

lol. I want my 30 seconds and 15 IQ points back.

How to meet someone you trust enough? (1)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066286)

I wonder what the biggest distrobution vector will be; friends and family known through real life in other countries or friends though online games/worlds in other countries...

Canadia dose what???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17066290)

"Canada that does not censor Internet content"

not yet anyway!

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/11/24/05 4220 [slashdot.org]

{PhhhLLLTTTT WAP}

AmberMac (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066382)

The media is lapping this up. I just read about it on a blog for a CITY TV technology journalist, and was going to submit it to Slashdot, when I saw it had just been posted.

I used Tor for a while, but I think I'll try Psiphon and see if it's better.

Re:AmberMac (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066518)

Link to interview [typepad.com] .

Note to moderators: I meant to include this link in the parent post, so please don't moderate it up, unless it falls to 0.

Re:AmberMac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17068830)

I used Tor for a while, but I think I'll try Psiphon and see if it's better.
The two aren't really comparable. Tor is designed for low-latency anonymity. Psiphon looks like it's just an https proxy designed to circumvent webfilters/firewalls. People in China have been using similar services for years now.

Wait, what? (-1, Troll)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066292)

Canada does not censor the internet? So if you put up hate speech they don't take you down? How about slander? How about kiddie porn?

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066464)

Not that sort of censorship silly - BAD censorship. You know - the stuff we don't mind...

Re:Wait, what? (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066732)

BAD censorship

Which means all censorship. Your point was?

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067082)

>BAD censorship
>
>Which means all censorship. Your point was?

Whoooosh.....

Re:Wait, what? (1)

cafucu (918264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068000)

Re:Wait, what? (1)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069014)

I really love the mental acrobatics it takes to go from "free speech" to "kiddie porn is constitutionally protected." Censorship hyperbole FTW!

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17067120)

I can see your point, re slander (though I think you mean libel), kiddie porn etc... and I personally don't know how true it is that "Canada doesn't censor the internet" (I got the impression that the writer meant "doesn't censor the internet to the extent that China does")... but anyway. Child pornography is evil, and using it as an argument against freedom of expression is like putting fish into a barrel before you shoot them. The fact is, despite the best efforts of fascist governments like those of China, Germany and the USA, the internet is still a relative bastion of free speech/freedom of expression. Like Voltaire sort of said, "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Some governments do their best to stop people saying what they want, but most of us can get round that. For example, if you want to put up a site that denies the holocaust, you won't be able to do it in Germany... but it's simple enough to use a provider in another country. And a lot of countries have laws that don't inconvenience child pornographers. And this is good, in a way. I don't mean it's good that kiddie porn merchants can conduct their business with ease. But it IS good that most of us can use the international aspect of the internet to communicate whatever we want, no matter how much it may piss off the Man.

The sad thing is, people in China don't have it as easy as us. They generally can't justg use a service provider in another country to bypass their government's diktats. Hopefully, this latest service will chip away a bit more at the info-wall surrounding them. Chip chip chip, and one day the whole thing will come tumbling down.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17067864)

I believe there was a person in Canada who had some sort of legal punishment inflicted on him for owning child pornography in the form of Japanese manga. However, he had hardcopies, so I don't know whether the law that he broke applies to the internet too in Canada.

I, for one, would prefer to not see an explosion of ideas caused by a free and open internet, and the subsequent martial law in China that would definitely happen (and possible crushing of students again by tanks). But perhaps I am the only one on /.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067892)

"despite the best efforts of fascist governments like those of China, Germany and the USA"

Excuse me, could you deliver a USA example while you hide behind your A/C moniker?

I agree that nearly every government in the world imposes some sort of censorship in some form of communication, I wouldn't put the de and us in the same boat as China.

(and yes every pun and innuendo in that statement was intentional).

Re:Wait, what? (1)

dedalus2000 (704571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069110)

I didn't make the statement but I can probably sort of enplane some of it..

China is in fact mauist ostensibly communist they replaced a dictatorship with a all powerful oligarchy

Germany was Nazi, sort of a mash up between Fasciest and particularly brutal form of racism, though they have after the second world war become a nominally socialist country.

The US is fascist in so much as the defining characteristic of fascism is Corporatism basically primary political power is wheedled by a consortium of industry leaders. there are of course ancillary social movements that have some affect on us policy but could not be said to hold sway over any of the primary levers of power.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

dedalus2000 (704571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069162)

excuse the typo i was rushing and didn't proof read.

This is how Iraq should have been handled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17066294)

Give people the tools to make their own changes, instead of forcing change on them.

Re:This is how Iraq should have been handled (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066506)

Give people the tools to make their own changes, instead of forcing change on them.


I'll probably get punished with modding down for pointing out the truth, but how would that have got us control of the country and its oil? Not that the way we tried worked either.

Re:This is how Iraq should have been handled (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067632)

Can you show me how anyone has control of that country and it's "oil", instead of just parroting left-wing talking points like a complete tool?

Re:This is how Iraq should have been handled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071470)

Your question was not too clear, but this information might be informative to you. It is the Department of Energy's list of oil imports to the US from the OPEC countries for the past 15 years.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/ipsr/t410.xls [doe.gov]

Excellent! (5, Interesting)

Jennifer York (1021509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066364)

This is a fantastic service! It would be a great way for the troops in Iraq to get their message out; since they recently had a big crack down too. China is not the only place where you can be prosecuted / persecuted for what you write online.

Re:Excellent! (1)

yourexhalekiss (833943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066668)

Is there a working download link yet?

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17066958)

Maybe you have to be on Psiphon to download Psiphon, a recursive way around blocking Psiphon.

Or it's release is being prevented by authority's at University of Toronto or Canada.

Re:Excellent! (1)

slack_prad (942084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067754)

The download now page [civisec.org] says 'From Dec 1'

Re:Excellent! (1)

yourexhalekiss (833943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067876)

Yes, but it just links to the "How" page... With no link to the download. The source isn't downloadable now either. :-(

Re:Excellent! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17067598)

If the military person in question posts something that will cause risk to others in doing their JOB, then I would hope the government would tarck down the person setting up this "service" for said military person, and find out who they set it up for...If they refuse, toss them in jail in a 6x8 solitary confinement cell, forever until they do.

I'm all for free-speech. I'm not all for free-speech that can bring risk of life to others in the military (directly).

Re:Excellent! (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069824)

It kinda sucks the parent posted AC, because in my opinion, he should be in mod-point heaven.

Yes, you certainly do have the right to free speech - but not when it infringes on other people's rights and physical safety. If you still disagree, how would you like it if you or one of your family or friends works as an under-cover police officer, and I went and blabbed my mouth off as to what they do, their name, city, etc - resulting in them being found on the bottom of a riverbed. Its fairly close to the same thing - somebody starts shouting out "Hey, we have troops moving into this city to quell guerilla fighters!" What do you think will happen? Either the guerillas will know to wait and ambush, or to simply leave the day before and it takes another 2 weeks to find this group carrying RPG's around the middle east...

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17070416)

Or, a soldier attempts to give information that isn't politically advantageous to certain people, and gets punished for 'compromising security'

Re:Excellent! (1)

Mike Micelli (101524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071334)

Give me a break. When joining the armed forces, you agree to abide by the regulations of your branch of service.

Operational Security(OPSEC) and Communications Security(COMSEC) are clearly defined in the appropriate regulations. A servicemember's right to free speech takes a back seat to both of those for good reason.

Anyone reading some of the blogs I've seen some of my fellow soldiers post could swiftly identify the best time and place for a hasty ambush. Breaking OPSEC/COMSEC = dead soldiers.

Please build your strawmen elsewhere, they're an eysore.

Re:Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17072586)

Mike, someone is looking for you.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=200609 15070240AAkDJhe [yahoo.com]

# es before imply dupl already been said.
# Use a clear su what your message is about.
moderaosts, by adjustreshold on the seage)

Yikes! (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066376)

1) As always, there's a total lack of understanding here of how police states work. You think the Saudi or Myanmanmar police are going to look at your computer and say "Gee, what with your 1337 circumvention software, I guess we can't make a case against you! Have a nice day!"?

2) On the other hand, I'm sure there *are* plenty of people who could make enthusiastic use of web browsing from some stranger's IP. But I'm sure they'd never get you in serious trouble, right?

Re:Yikes! (3, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066512)

You bring up some important points. The 'contact' is putting his trust in the guy he's helping do the circumvention. Its the same idea as an open wireless network. Even if you don't mind sharing your bandwidth with strangers, do you trust them to not download kiddie porn or run a phishing scam over your internet connection? That'll probably come back to bite you in the ass if they do.

Your first point depends on how hard it is to detect that some one is using this circumvention software. They're doing something illegal obviously, but that goes without saying.

Re:Yikes! (2, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066776)

I heard an interview on NPR last night with one of the Professors who was involved with the creation of this software. The idea behind it is that it is to be used in a web of trust, not with random strangers. So if you're mainland Chinese and you have a cousin in the US, you let him provide you the connection. Don't leave it up to strangers to provide you the connection.

Not only good for people in censored countries... (3, Interesting)

B11 (894359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066406)

But also for Americans. More and more of us are going to schools, universities, and workplaces that install and use content filtering/firewalls. Where I work most of /. isn't blocked (obviously), but curiously enough, the games and ask sections of slashdot are blocked. Most blogs and web forums are blocked as well. The sad thing is, a major part of my job is research, and more and more important information is coming via those venues (at least in my field), and other sites that being blocked.

Personal VPN (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068744)

I setup a personal VPN server at home, then tried tunneling X over it via an SSH connection to see how feasible it was to browse from home while at work. Nifty, except I also knew my office had stealthed VNCs installed on all the machines, thereby rendering any such circumvention completely moot. Fine for your personal machines when you're worried about your provider/government. Not so much when you're worried about what you do on your employer's machines or any machine you don't have absolute control over for that matter.

Re:Not only good for people in censored countries. (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070050)

I am responsible for admining this sort of censorware.

If your company blocks gaming sites, yet your job requires gaming sites, you should use the proper avenue to get permission to view gaming sites. In many orgs, our manager will need to tell your security department that you need the access.

If, on the other hand, you use proxy servers or other technology to willingly and knowingly circumvent your company's policy and security controls, you could wind up fired. Don't be a dumbass.

Re:Not only good for people in censored countries. (1)

deadturtle (860629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070192)

>But also for Americans. More and more of us are going to schools, universities, and workplaces that install and use content filtering/firewalls.

The counter to this argument is budgets. Most schools recieve their funding for high-speed bandwidth through a grant. The provisios of that grant state we need to apply a content filtering system to protect our children. As the primary monitor our districts traffic through the firewall, I see and hear these arguments all the time. I do not think it is possible to lump 'schools' or even 'universities' with 'workplaces'. Yes we all have to work here too, but a school is an entirely differnt (public funds, publically voted budget etc.) than a work place or even, to bring this on topic a police state. An employer has every right to say, no you can't chat on AIM or /. during the work day. And unless his policy states that you can circumvent their firewall, then while you are at work it would probably be nice if you abided by your bosses rules.
I think many people would be very upset if we asked the public to subsidize the 12K+ a year we spend on our 100mbs fiber connection, funds that are completely covered under the E-rate grant. With out e-rate funding there would be no-way to pass the tech budget, and in a country where our technological skills are falling behind everyday, I think (and my boss concurs) that suspending students, revoking priviledges and being a general BOFH (not my choice BTW.) is a very appropriate response to users who violate district policy (they have to click accept every time they log in). If we don't crack down in this manner, and many of our students and faculty find us (and call us) rude and nasty names, but the consquences are, from a wider perspective, are deffinately not worth completely opening our filters. Proxy bypass sites like these, while I agree are great for the dissemination of information to people who's connection to public information has been oppressed, should not be taken as a giant glossy lets F*** the filters solution. Especially in schools those filters are in place for a reason. Workplace is a grey area and so is university, but please don't lump schools in with businesses.
-deadturtle

Yeah... (3, Interesting)

jandersen (462034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066452)

Brilliant. But you don't win freedom or anything else by hiding somewhere and spreading nonsense on the internet. If you want things to change, the way forward it to go out there and take the risks. The ones who don't have the courage very rarely have anything real to say. Look at our own history in the West: it is littered with examples of who changes were brought about because of the struggle of those who had vision and courage. The same thing is happening in China, and not at all slowly when you compare to how things went in Europe. Just look at what has happened in the last 20 years; did people in eg. UK ever go through such enormous changes in so short a time?

Re:Yeah... (1)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066672)

Change first requires an expression in limited but signifacant forms.

You can't start a revolution or a movement if people aren't aware of your existence.

(OT) Yes, they did. 17th Century (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066748)

Since you ask, in the 17th Century the English fought a Civil War at the end of which they executed a King. They then had a Revolutionary government which turned them from an obscure island to a major European power. The revolutionary government then collapsed and the Stuarts returned (back to the old corruption, in fact). In 1688 they turned out the Stuarts and started Constitutional Monarchy. In roughly a 40 year period they had a Revolution, a Cultural Revolution under a militaristic dictator, a reconquest by the Stuarts and the emergence of constitutional democracy in which the Commons held the power in the country. There is a rough parallel with the recent history of China except that we are still waiting for the democratic revolution. Given how the Glorious Revolution occurred, the nearest parallel might be the invasion of China by Taiwan, (England was invaded by a political faction in the Netherlands) so don't hold your breath.

I'm simplifying, it's more complicated than this.

Also the French went through just as much change between 1793 and 1815 - the Revolution and Napoleon. And (since this is not any kind of rebuttal Godwin's Law is not invoked) what about Germany between 1933 and 1945?

Re:Yeah... (3, Insightful)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067030)

The U.S.S.R. would still exist today if it hadn't been for all those folks "hiding" behind fax machines, getting the word out.
Vision and Courage are great but they don't exist without information.

Re:Yeah... (2, Informative)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067730)

I think you vastly underestimate the actual reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

(Here's a hint: It had very little to do with "folks 'hiding' behind fax machines, getting the word out.")

Re:Yeah... (0)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068008)

Stay on track, and get informed Lindsey.
You're letting your ideology interfere with your thinking.

The revolution itself required the communication for those folks you claim had very little to do with it.

The "collapse" is a separate issue from the communications that were required for the people who made the changes in government.

Fax machines did not collapse the USSR, but they made the change one that swung towards a form of Democracy instead of another totalitarian regime.

Like the printing press in the American Revolution.

Re:Yeah... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068426)


Fax machines did not collapse the USSR, but they made the change one that swung towards a form of Democracy instead of another totalitarian regime.


Hmmmm...so you think Russia has a form of Democracy and not a totalitarian regime, huh? You might want to pay a little closer attention to the newscasts... Have a look at this Google news search [google.com] . There's more to Russia than meets the eye.

Like the printing press in the American Revolution.


While I don't doubt that printers and printing presses had a lot to do with the American Revolution (with things like Common Sense), movable type printing presses were anything but new in 1776. I would say that the invention of the printing press had more to do with European people seeking to colonize America than with the Revolution itself. The printing press was one of the things that sparked the Age of Enlightenment, and it was the Age of Enlightenment and the ideals that it brought that caused European peoples to seek the arduous journey across the Atlantic.

Re:Yeah... (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069460)

"I would say that the invention of the printing press had more to do with European people seeking to colonize America than with the Revolution itself."

And so you would be revealing your own massive ignorance.
The fax machine was anything but new

Russia is a Democracy last time I checked, elections with opposition party's, am elected head of state and legislature and an operating legal system.
Flawed, broken, but not down or out - it's in a very close approximation to most of the major democracy's around the world.

Yes I read the news, do you think that a bad leadership is the only measure of Democracy?

You and Lindsey ignore the events of 1993.

Re:Yeah... (2, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067142)

One individual revolutionary isn't going to change anything. One revolutionary that spreads his ideas to others and builds a following can. Thats why their internet is censored in the first place. It blocks the message and blocks the crucial organization of followers.

God bless U of T~ (-1, Troll)

kupesoft (1028532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066498)

nt.

Worst flash animation ever (1)

unjedai (966274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066530)

Their flash animation that is supposed to explain how psiphon works has got to be one of the all time worst flash animations EVER.

niggA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17066548)

to Say t4ere have

Um,this has been "publicly available" for a decade (1)

jsm (5728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066676)

As far as I can tell, this is nothing new-- there are a variety of publicly available programs that have done the same thing since as early as 1996, when China and Singapore first announced their intentions to censor the Web. One such tool is CGIProxy [jmarshall.com] , but there are others. Or is there something else about Psiphon, am I missing something?

Re:Um,this has been "publicly available" for a dec (1)

matthewcraig (68187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068964)

Well, you could read their FAQ, but since others have posted the same, I'll reply.

The primary this is easy to install and use. The software package will be designed for easy installation on most operating systems. If you have a friend using a state-filtered 'net connection, then it will be can help them without understanding the specifics of port forwarding, encryption, or web servers. Ease of use allows ease of distribution.

Second, the software encrypts the data, unlike port forwarders and CGIproxy, AFAIK. Hopefully, the DNS lookups are also handled by the Psiphon proxy, since the DNS name often reveals the browsing history. Port forwarding and some proxy services to not handle DNS lookups.

I would say the primary reason for the existence is ease of use. The harder something is configure, the less likely people will be to use it. (See flashing 12:00 clocks on old VCRs.) As more countries and organizations lock down information distribution on their network connections, I am glad to see more accessible avoidance options available.

Re:Um,this has been "publicly available" for a dec (1)

jsm (5728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069508)

The primary this is easy to install and use. The software package will be designed for easy installation on most operating systems. If you have a friend using a state-filtered 'net connection, then it will be can help them without understanding the specifics of port forwarding, encryption, or web servers. Ease of use allows ease of distribution.

Actually, CGIProxy has had automatic installers for several years, for both Unix and Windows. The Windows installer includes a secure Apache server and Perl, and is by design trivial to install for non-technical users-- no need for knowledge of port forwarding, encryption, or web servers.

CGIProxy does not currently encrypt the data itself, but as long as it's installed on a secure server, traffic between it and the user is already encrypted.

Re:Um,this has been "publicly available" for a dec (1)

matthewcraig (68187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070238)

Encryption is very important to someone circumventing authoritative measures. When you are facing jail time for crimes against the state, you want to be sure that your activities are hidden. Wikipedia is not going to be running on SSL anytime soon, so this is a useful feature. Why are you so against new software models, jsm? The slashdot summary did not say it was the first time it was being done, so what's your beef? Or do you look down on any software forking? Listen, that's the beauty of open software. Anyone can take the code and make changes as they require. Plus, any use of OSS which fights against oppression is okay in my book, even if it is, as you say, 99.999% redundant.

Re:Um,this has been "publicly available" for a dec (1)

jsm (5728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070822)

Easy there, cowboy-- I'm not against any new software models, and I don't look down on software forking; I never mentioned either, nor anything about any 99.999% . From my site, it's easy to tell that I have long supported OSS, and even intentionally write my software to be easy to modify. Please do not put words in my mouth.

The story summary says "the fact that software like Psiphon is becoming publicly available is interesting." That is what I was correcting, because such software has been publicly available since at least 1996. Although, apparently, it needs better marketing, since many people don't seem to know about it.

Yes, encryption is very important. That's why CGIProxy and (probably) others support it.

Re:Um,this has been "publicly available" for a dec (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068996)

CGIProxy requires a server and is not stand alone
PsiPhon is supposed to be installable on any PC connected to the internet in an uncensored country.
Plug and go, if we ever see it.
I suspect that liablity lawyers have gotten in the way at UofT.

Re:Um,this has been "publicly available" for a dec (1)

jsm (5728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069604)

CGIProxy requires a server and is not stand alone PsiPhon is supposed to be installable on any PC connected to the internet in an uncensored country. Plug and go, if we ever see it.

Actually, CGIProxy is installable on just about any machine, regardless of OS. For Windows, there is an automatic installer that includes a secure Apache server and Perl, so the package is, in effect, stand-alone. The installing person does not need technical skills. It's already "plug and go".

Onion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17066682)

why no just use the onion network?

The countries just switch they way they censor (1)

Scyber (539694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066688)

Like using a whitelist instead of a blacklist. Only approved sites & services can be used by the citizens. This doesn't seem to hard to get around.

Vapor Ware (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17066794)

There.
Somebody had to say it.
No download links anywhere, not for source code or executable on any platform.
Until the product actually exists "in the wild", China and the University of Parinoia have nothing to fear but enthusiasm.

I appreciate the idea behind PSIPHON and the PR, but until there's a PRODUCT any discussion is just jaw flapping, not discussion of PSIPHON.

Re:Vapor Ware (2, Informative)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067144)

From their web site:

When will psiphon be released?

psiphon software will be released on December 1st, 2006, with subsequent releases to be provided as new features are added over time.

Two things come to mind:

  1. December 1st isn't over yet
  2. Maybe they haven't updated the web site yet

Re:Vapor Ware (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067634)

And that's really what you think?
Promote a Dec. 1 release and then wait until 23:59 to "build suspense"?
It's already Dec. 2 in much of the world that it's intended to help.

Number 2 is not correct since midnight they've added FAQ's and news but still no download-ables.

So you're wrong on both counts Dec. 1 is over and they have updated the site.

Re:Vapor Ware (1)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071322)

No, I don't think it's a "build suspense thing".

And I'm pretty damn sure it's still Dec 1 somewhere. It's December 1 by my clock, and it's on UTC, even, and just by virture of that, I will vehemently contest that your statement of "Dec 1 is over" is incorrect.

Granted, if they were promoting a Dec 1 release date, I'd think it would have been released at the BEGINNING of Dec 1, not the end.

Re:Vapor Ware (1)

varvar74 (1034410) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069440)

its up for grabs, enjoy :)

Re:Vapor Ware (1)

yourexhalekiss (833943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070458)

It's there now...

Direct link is http://psiphon.ca/download.php [psiphon.ca]

Windows-only .msi file, though. Looks like the source (or Linux tarballs) aren't up yet.

So, it's a on-click personal proxy server!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17066806)

Groundbreaking? How is this different from the below python code combined with a putty tunnel to a sshwindows [sourceforge.net] server?

import os
import sys
import string
import socket
import string
import time
import thread
import BaseHTTPServer
import SocketServer
import threading
import urllib
import cgi
import select
import urlparse
 
# ------- Proxy Server ------------
 
# Configuration
PROXYPORT = 1234
 
class ProxyHandler (BaseHTTPServer.BaseHTTPRequestHandler):
    __base = BaseHTTPServer.BaseHTTPRequestHandler
    __base_handle = __base.handle
 
    server_version = "TProxy/1.0"
    rbufsize = 0
 
    def handle(self):
        (ip, port) = self.client_address
        if hasattr(self, 'allowed_clients') and ip not in self.allowed_clients:
            self.raw_requestline = self.rfile.readline()
            if self.parse_request(): self.send_error(403)
        else:
            self.__base_handle()
 
    def _connect_to(self, netloc, soc):
        i = netloc.find(':')
        if i >= 0:
            host_port = netloc[:i], int(netloc[i+1:])
        else:
            host_port = netloc, 80
        try: soc.connect(host_port)
        except socket.error, arg:
            try: msg = arg[1]
            except: msg = arg
            self.send_error(404, msg)
            return 0
        return 1
 
    def do_CONNECT(self):
        soc = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
        try:
            if self._connect_to(self.path, soc):
                self.log_request(200)
                self.wfile.write(self.protocol_version +
                                " 200 Connection established\r\n")
                # self.wfile.write("Proxy-agent: %s\r\n" % self.version_string())
                self.wfile.write("\r\n")
                self._read_write(soc, 300)
        finally:
            soc.close()
            self.connection.close()
 
    def do_GET(self):
        (scm, netloc, path, params, query, fragment) = urlparse.urlparse(
            self.path, 'http')
        if scm != 'http' or fragment or not netloc:
            self.send_error(400, "bad url %s" % self.path)
            return
        soc = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
        try:
            if self._connect_to(netloc, soc):
                self.log_request()
                soc.send("%s %s %s\r\n" % (
                    self.command,
                    urlparse.urlunparse(('', '', path, params, query, '')),
                    self.request_version))
                self.headers['Connection'] = 'close'
                del self.headers['Proxy-Connection']
                for key_val in self.headers.items():
                    soc.send("%s: %s\r\n" % key_val)
                soc.send("\r\n")
                self._read_write(soc)
        finally:
            soc.close()
            self.connection.close()
 
    def _read_write(self, soc, max_idling=20):
        iw = [self.connection, soc]
        ow = []
        count = 0
        while 1:
            count += 1
            (ins, _, exs) = select.select(iw, ow, iw, 3)
            if exs: break
            if ins:
                for i in ins:
                    if i is soc:
                        out = self.connection
                    else:
                        out = soc
                    data = i.recv(8192)
                    if data:
                        out.send(data)
                        count = 0
            else:
                # idle
                if count == max_idling: break
 
    do_HEAD = do_GET
    do_POST = do_GET
    do_PUT = do_GET
    do_DELETE=do_GET
 
class ThreadingHTTPServer (SocketServer.ThreadingMixIn,
                          BaseHTTPServer.HTTPServer): pass
 
class ProxyserverThread(threading.Thread):
  def run(self):
    # Proxy Server
    proxy = SocketServer.TCPServer(("", PROXYPORT), ProxyHandler)
    proxy.serve_forever()

This is just a proxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17066846)


whats so special about this "Psiphon" ? its just another proxy server that is password protected (like squid) or another variant on an authenticated VPN

why this needs a whole article on Slashdot ill never know, i thought this was a geeks site and wee all know about socks,vpns,tunnels and the like

"its not a text editor, its a dynamic structured ASCII string assembler with multiple line support and a word correctness validator"

Re:This is just a proxy (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068872)

Not quite just a Proxy.
Looking at the December 13th, 2004 Psiphon Final Report by Patrick Smith and Jeffrey Jia of Department [toronto.edu]
of Computer Science University Of Toronto (found it with Google, it's a PDF) reveals that Psiphon is
Python based and compiled into a stand alone cross platform GUI application that ANYONE can install and run.

IF they ever release it, Psiphon will amount to a personal https proxy, nothing new until we know the real details.

I for one welcome... (2, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067020)

...our new anonymous Canadian overlords... or I would... if I knew who they were... never mind.

Who is helping the Chinese government censor? (3, Interesting)

br00tus (528477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067200)

The Hippocratic oath that doctors take includes the statement "First, do no harm". What country has the corporations that are creating the architecture to allow the Chinese government to censor material? The answer is the US - Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Cisco and other corporations have been who have implemented this censorship for the Chinese government. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to say you are setting up "free zones" in "free countries" to help evade censorship, when the people who control the capital in the US are the ones who have implemented the censorship in China. If this were a free country, the obvious answer would be to just have these corporations stop implementing the censorship in China. Instead, that, which is the only solution that makes any sense, is not even thought of, and instead these PR "free zones" are set up, so that Chinese people can attempt to evade (at their own personal risk) the censorship which is set up by US corporations, including the US corporations like Yahoo who helped China hunt down dissidents like Shi Tao. This stuff is a joke, if you want to stop censorship in China, stop implementing it in the US.

Re:Who is helping the Chinese government censor? (2, Informative)

massivefoot (922746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17067810)

Regrettably, given the influence of business in modern government, this is unlikely to happen any time soon. The best we can do is attempt to ensure that we are responsible for as little money as possible making its way to such countries. Need to us AOL messenger service? Use a third party programme to avoid any advertising provided by AOL. Need software made by any of the above? Use an open source alternative. Or a pirated version. It's more moral than giving any money to then.

Re:Who is helping the Chinese government censor? (2, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068198)

Oh knock it off with the "EVIL CORPORATIONS!!! EVIL UNITED STATES!!!". You know if the U.S. declared a technology embargo to China, self rightous dweebs like yourself would be all up in arms that "Corporations are trying to intimidate the soveriegn nation of China and undermine socialism", just like you already do with Cuba! Censorship existed in far greater extremes in China back in the day when China was as anti-American and anti-Free-Market as yourself. Tell me the U.S. corporation that was making censorship possible back in the days of the cultural revolution, when censorship meant that having the wrong views would get you starved to death in a work camp or killed by firing squad? Since the opening of China to foriegn buisnesses, average income has increase by 1500% just in the poorest parts of China, music / movies / and books are available from all over the world, and personal freedom and expression are far greater than during the Communist era. In fact, Chinese censorship is more a dying holdover from the days when China was ruled under YOUR anti-corporation ideology of choice.

The only thing that would happen if the U.S. stopped selling data technology to China, is that they would buy it from the Europeans instead (this is what has been happening with weapons technology - The U.S. refuses to sell high tech weapons to China, and so China buys the same or similiar weapons from Europe). That, and then you would switch to calling the U.S. refusal to sell the technology as "Economic Imperialism" and you would be all up in arms about that.

Re:Who is helping the Chinese government censor? (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070046)

"Oh knock it off with the "EVIL CORPORATIONS!!! EVIL UNITED STATES!!!". You know if the U.S. declared a technology embargo to China, self rightous dweebs like yourself would be all up in arms that "Corporations are trying to intimidate the soveriegn nation of China and undermine socialism", just like you already do with Cuba!"

Nice strawman. You have no idea whether or not GP is pro-socialist, or against the Cuban embargo. I haven't heard *anybody* advocating a US government embargo of China.

What I have heard are people advocating a free market response to China -- criticizing and boycotting the companies who choose to do business with China and capitulate to their totalitarian tactics.

Re:Who is helping the Chinese government censor? (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069232)

Wouldn't preventing the transfer of filtering software, in itself be a form of censorship?

Re:Who is helping the Chinese government censor? (1)

max_headroom27606 (986551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17072134)

Tell me a country that will allow you to do business there while having a disregard for it's laws. Yahoo, Cisco, Microsoft, etc.... have to obey the laws of the country they are operating in. Foreign companies have to do the same here... get over it. If you don't like the laws of a country you are doing business in, then don't do business there. But don't try to circumvent their laws simply because you don't agree with it. Those companies didn't just arbitrarily censor information, they were told to do so or they could leave. Period. Now, if they leave, will the censorship just magically go away? No, it won't. They didn't create it, but to do business there, they have to cooperate with the Chinese government and abide by their laws. It's a pretty simple concept here folks, just wrap your brain around the fact that not every country in the world is like us and for better or worse, we have to accept and respect that.

Is everyone overlooking something here? (2, Insightful)

max_headroom27606 (986551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17068906)

I think that most people who rant about China filtering the content of their internet users are forgetting one thing.... China is not our country. They have the right to run their society any way they see fit. We tend to look at the world in a particular way, and if it doesn't match our ideal of the way things are supposed to be, we think we have the God given right to change it. Do we really have that right? How would we feel if an outside interest group decided that we needed to be changed and that our laws should be circumvented? When Yahoo stated that they would obey Chinese law and filter content, that's the price they had to pay to do business in that country, just like any foreign company would have to follow our laws when doing business here. I don't blame them for that, they want to make a profit like everyone else. The bottom line is this... China has it's laws and their citizens have to obey those laws, just as we must obey the laws in our own country. Giving the average Chinese citizen the ability to circumvent those laws is not doing them a service since the Chinese government turns dissidents into organ doners.

Re:Is everyone overlooking something here? (1)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069194)

"we think we have the God given right to change it"
How about leaving God out of it, these are the affairs of men.

"China has it's laws and their citizens have to obey those laws, just as we must obey the laws in our own country"
Except and unless those laws are wrong, then we and they have an obligation to change or violate them. You won't see a change though unless someone is willing to violate them.

"Giving the average Chinese citizen the ability to circumvent those laws is not doing them a service since the Chinese government turns dissidents into organ doners."

The call of the coward, until they know they could be (and others are) made organ donors for merely reading something they will become organ donors in ignorance.

This tool is not the problem, the government of China is.

All people have a right to knowledge, it's the basis of a free society (not a God based theocracy, or a Godless Communist State).

Re:Is everyone overlooking something here? (1)

max_headroom27606 (986551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17069496)

As I said in my original post... we look at the world in a particular way and think we have the right to change things. My point is that we do not. To say that their laws are wrong is a VERY arrogant statement. It might not be right for you, but that doesn't give you or any outsider the right to change it. "All people have a right to knowledge, it's a basis of a free society"...interesting statement....China is not a free society. They have a government that they themselves put in place, and for the most part they like their government. I asked when I was living there.

Re:Is everyone overlooking something here? (1)

matthewcraig (68187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070494)

You asked people in a repressive, authoritative state how they liked it? Where, in this very topic, they are known not to have access to information that goes against what their leaders tell them. Where they could get thrown in jail for saying they don't agree with the state. And thus, your proof that they like their state policies is that they said yes, when you, an English speaking tourist, asked if they liked their government.

Re:Is everyone overlooking something here? (1)

max_headroom27606 (986551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070980)

I wasn't a tourist. I was living and working there. And yes, the many that I asked like their form of government. Here is an example... I asked about the laws there concerning one child per couple because some of the people that I was working with had brothers and sisters. The agree with the reasoning behind the law. I asked them how they felt about only having one child instead of many to take care of them when they get old and was told "oh it's ok.. the government will take care of us". You see, they trust their government to do what they think is the right thing for them. That is their mindset and I really can't fault them for that. If they are happy, leave them alone. Lets take as another example the exploration of the Americas back in the 15 and 1600's. The Spanish set up colonies and because the natives weren't like them, they decided to 'convert' them. A lot of times at the point of a pike. The natives were happy the way that they were before the Spanish arrived. They worked, married, gathered food and hunted just fine. They practiced their own culture without outside intervention. They may not have known anything about the european culture, but that doesn't mean that they "NEEDED" to change because the outsiders said so. It didn't make them better people, and in most cases caused problems. All in all we have taken it upon ourselves to try and change what is not familiar and comfortable. We do so in ignorance and arrogance because we feel that everyone should be like us. It doesn't seem to matter to us that we don't have the right to do so. I am not talking about trying to help people who are being put into physical danger, female circumcision being a good example, but specifically our seeming need to change the benign laws of another country. The censorship in China isn't really "hurting" the people there. They work, marry, have children, and enjoy life much as we do here. So taking that into account, why do we have a problem?

Re:Is everyone overlooking something here? (1)

Mike Micelli (101524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071654)

Well, considering this http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=20931 6&cid=17070338 [slashdot.org] post, from someone in China no less, I'd say your argument about the Chinese not really caring about freedom is , how shall I put this, bullshit.

I'll take the word of a resident over the word of some foreign mouthpiece for the government any day.

Re:Is everyone overlooking something here? (1)

max_headroom27606 (986551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071912)

I never said that they didn't care about freedom. I said that the Chinese people that I worked with and talked to were happy with their government. Notice the statement "I talked with".... as in sitting in a restaurant and having dinner, as in working beside for weeks on end. My statements didn't come from reading a blog, but actual face to face conversations with the natives. I also said that our trying to circumvent their laws was improper, which was the entire point of my post. Read a post in it's entirety before you blurt out comments like that. Don't just skim over it picking out the parts that you want. A foreign mouthpiece fo the government... now that's just funny. I worked in telecom as a unix admin, not for the government. I will have to give you this, that part of your reply did make me laugh.

Re:Is everyone overlooking something here? (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17072632)

"oh it's ok.. the government will take care of us". You see, they trust their government to do what they think is the right thing for them.

You see that same attitude from Americans too. Watch any Slashdot conversation on the subject of "piracy". Count the number of "but the MPAA/RIAA/BSA is doing the right thing by suing 12-year-olds because the law SAYS they're doing the right thing!" posts. That doesn't mean that the attitude is prevalent, it just means there are some people who are incapable of independent thought. Those people really used to bug me, but I finally realized one day that you can basically filter them out of any meaningful discussion or debate - they're far too busy reading about Britney Spears divorce to go out and vote, and they'll slobberingly, blindly support whatever laws the rest of us vote in.

It's the people who have a vested interest that you need to watch out for.

Re:Is everyone overlooking something here? (1)

kalaf (963208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070322)

"Except and unless those laws are wrong, then we and they have an obligation to change or violate them. You won't see a change though unless someone is willing to violate them."

Not that I support the parent post 100%, but if you are talking about laws that are wrong, you don't have to look all the way to China to find some.

Re:Is everyone overlooking something here? (1)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071994)

I knew of a doctor who once said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Someone made him an organ donor, too, but that doesn't mean he was wrong to say what he said. No one has the right to oppress, I don't care what the governments tell each other.

My way to tap the cersorship (1)

imkow (1021759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17070338)

I'm in China. This is how I tapped the cersorship, by having a TOR(http://tor.eff.org/ [eff.org] ) installed. With this software, I can access all banned sites i know. The software has a few flaws, one is that it lacks of fast proxy servers, which anyone of you unchecked freemen can be; Another is its windows version has a very resource-consuming GUI which is based on QT library.
  So here i hope more people can establish more proxy servers for the software and join to the development of the software. That will make us and everyone else in the world who has been restricted better accessible to the internet.

Re:My way to tap the cersorship (1)

matthewcraig (68187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071862)

Greetings.

The problem with TOR is the software you use to find proxy servers is also accessible to the people who want to stop you from accessing them. It is their full-time job to know more about proxies than you. That's why technology is key: Only you and your Psiphon host know of the Internet address. By the way, is proxy circumvention (avoidance) illegal where you live?

It is not only China that is censoring. There is a site-blocker proxy where I live and work. (I am an American by the way.) In addition to blocking "inappropriate" web sites and most network ports, the proxy site-blocker blocks proxy-avoidance sites. There exists a team of network administrators here who spend all day adding sites to the block list and watching browsing habits 24-hours-a-day for additional sites to block. (The Psiphon web site is already inaccessible to me. Slashdot's story submission entitled "Gingrich says Free Speech Forfeit" is blocked, yet the remainder of Slashdot is not.) For the record, I do not use proxy avoidance software, but I do think it is important the technology is available for others.

bow to the cow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17070942)

I havent really done much reading about the tech aspects but isn't this essentially what the Cult of the Dead Cow did with six/four many many moons ago?
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