Skip to main content

Happy 2017 to Psiphon Users!

2016 was an eventful year, with plenty of world events to be informed about. While access to the Internet and thus information around the world grew, censorship of all kinds including the blocking of websites also rose.

Here at Psiphon we have also seen more users of our software than ever before, and while this comes hand in hand with increasing information controls on the internet, we are happy to be able to help people get round them.

Freedom House's annual report on Internet Freedom noted a decline in said freedom for the sixth year running, and found that two-thirds of Internet users around the world live in countries where criticizing the government, military or monarchy results in censorship. Their other major observation was that governments are increasingly targeting messaging apps.

This chimes with some of the things we've seen on our network this year. For example in January VoIP services were blocked in Morocco, upsetting users of popular free calling services like Viber, Whatsapp, Skype and Facetime. For the month long duration of the ban, we saw our Moroccan traffic triple in the first week and then double each week after that. Then in May a Brazilian judge ordered the blocking of Whatsapp, not for the first time. Again we saw traffic from the country triple, this time in 24 hours.

National elections are another flashpoint for censorship, and we've seen people turn to Psiphon as their governments block social media or oppositions websites, for example in August in Gabon. Another trend we've seen this year is the shutting down altogether of the internet in some countries during turbulent events - something that even Psiphon can't do anything about.

Our hope is that in 2017 we can help people around the world to communicate and stay informed without restrictions. Happy New Year to all our friends and we wish you a safe, happy and free 2017!

Popular posts from this blog

Why You Don't Need Google's Domain Fronting

Google’s removal of domain fronting emphasizes the need for solutions like Psiphon. Google has confirmed that they will block domain fronting across Google domains and App Engine. For many apps and publishers, this represents a step backwards in the fight for internet freedom. While Psiphon has never relied on this Google service, many app developers continued to depend on the practice as a convenient and straightforward means of circumventing state-level censorship, despite the long-running speculation that Google would close this loophole (eg. Will Scott’s blog post in 2017). While the announcement has been met with criticism from internet activists and service providers alike, Google has defended their decision, saying “ domain fronting has never been a supported feature ”. Domain fronting has been a popular means of censorship circumvention for several years, being embraced by popular apps like Signal, who publicly adopted the practice in 2016 . While using Google domain

Social Media and Internet Ban in Turkey

Following the detainment of 12 pro-Kurdish lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the early hours of November 4 th , Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp and Skype were blocked in Turkey . There were reports that Turk Telekom internet provider completely disabled access to the internet or throttled the connection to the point that it was impossible to connect. Despite lack of official decision about the restrictions, and BTK’s explanation that there was a technical problem throughout Turkey, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim made a statement later in the day and said “For security reasons, these kinds of measures can be taken time to time. These are temporary measures. Everything goes back to normal after the danger is eliminated.” Social media and internet bans ended the following evening in most of the country, but there were still some short-term connection problems during the weekend in some regions, and it was reported that some Turk Telekom users

Cybernews Interview, Psiphon: “the world is becoming more and more privacy-conscious”

Most of us are aware of the necessity of having strong VPN protection in place. But what are the inherent issues with standard VPN applications, and how can they be solved? While choosing the best VPN often comes down to its features, the problem with many of the modern VPN applications concerns easily recognizable traffic in certain Internet environments despite the implemented end-to-end encryption. But what can be done about it? To discuss this matter, we’ve reached out to Alexis Gantous, a member of the Business Development and Operations team at Psiphon Inc, a company that works on providing uncensored Internet access for Windows and mobile devices. How did the idea of creating Psiphon originate? Psiphon was founded out of a research project at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, founder and CEO Michael Hull saw the opportunity to take the original peer-to-peer system and further develop it to fill the needs of millions around the world who face restrictions to their access t