We all know that countries like China, Singapore, North Korea, as well as organizations such as the U.S. military, the State of Kentucky, and various corporations, local school districts and public libraries censor their Internet users’ web surfing. Bennett Haselton of Peacefire has a solution he calls the Circumventor.
And to bring in more Circumventor users, Peacefire is paying $10 per IP address to anyone who installs the anti-censorship software and leaves it running for at least a week.
Circumventor is a simple piece of software based on James Marshall’s CGIProxy script running under ActiveState Perl and the OpenSA web server on Windows 2000 or XP. (No word on whether it runs on Windows Vista, but I suspect it would.)
Once installed, the Circumventor creates a small Web service for which Peacefire then shares its URL with “people who need them, such as people serving in the U.S. military overseas, and victims of totalitarian dictatorships such as China, North Korea, and high school,” Haselton wrote on the Peacefire Web site.
It usually takes three or four days before Web filtering companies and national governments add new URLs to their blocking lists, Haselton said.
- Download ActivePerl and install it. It must be installed to C:Perl (this should be the default). Accept all of the default options.
- Download OpenSA 2.0.2 beta and install it. Accept all of the default options. (If you get to a screen titled “Server Information” and it doesn’t have values filled in for “Network Domain”, “Server Name” and “Administrator’s Email Address”, just fill in these boxes with made-up random values — the Circumventor doesn’t use them.)
- Download the circumventor-setup.exe program and pick “Save” — then once you have saved it on your computer, run the circumventor-setup.exe file that you saved.
Note that even if you have more than one computer in your home, you can only install it on one computer per external IP address (the address assigned by your ISP), you need a broadband connection where the IP address will remain the same for at least a week, and you may need to forward port 443 from your cable or DSL modem’s firewall to your computer.
Once you’ve installed it, e-mail email@example.com with the URLs of the Circumventor scripts, which the program gives you during setup. After they’ve been up a week, he’ll send you $10 via PayPal or mail you a check.
And you’ll be helping people in less free countries bypass their national censorship filters, as well as helping U.S. servicemembers bypass their censorship filters.
(Hat tip: Electronic Frontier Foundation)