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Internet Freedom

It only takes one spark to light a torch. 

Internet freedom tools can provide the spark that lights the torch of liberty for those living under authoritarian censorship of information. For the over 3.8 billion users of the internet, it can be either a route to freedom or a tool of oppression. With the rise of government crackdowns on the freedom of information, internet freedom is a vital lifeline for the promotion of freedom around the globe. We are actively working with individuals, businesses, and policymakers to ensure that a full suite of diverse internet freedom tools are strongly supported. 

Currently the demand is surpassing the capacity of several of these tools, leaving many people behind the wall of censorship. With your help, we can help put these tools in the hands of millions of more people who rely on them for secure communication and uncensored access to information.

Page Overview

1 %
Of people live in countries where people were arrested for their internet or social media posts
1 %
of people live in countries where internet networks or social media platforms were temporarily or permanently blocked

 *Statistics from Freedom House 2019 Freedom on the Net Report

Get Informed

Circumvention Technologies

Multiple circumvention technologies have a long history of successfully circumventing firewalls in countries such as China and Iran for millions of users.

It is alarming that since 2017 a reduction in US government funding has resulted in these same developers having 70% less capacity to operate servers that run firewall circumvention tools.

Visit our "Tools" section below to learn more about one of these circumvention tools.

Securing Communications

Human rights advocates and others living under repression need secure methods of communication

End-to-end encryption communication tools can help provide a level of protection for the sensitive information of human rights defenders. Read more about this topic in the link below.

U.S. Government Response

There are several departments and offices within the U.S. Government that work for global internet freedom


In the State Department the Internet Freedom and Business & Human Rights Section works to coordinate U.S. policy.


The U.S. Agency for Global Media also works for internet freedom through its Open Technology Fund. Visit the Open Technology Fund's website by clicking below to learn more.


Internet Freedom in China

China heavily restricts the flow of information on the internet to its people through its "Great Firewall"

Internet Freedom in Iran

The Iranian government continues to monitor, slowdown, and cut off the internet access of their people

Internet Freedom in Venezuela

President Maduro’s regime often blocks critical news sites and detained

Take Action

Actions for Individuals

Stand with citizens in China who are seeking access to accurate information on that internet that is censored by China's Communist Party. Sign the petition by clicking on the button below to ask the U.S. government to help meet the emergency need for uncensored information to people around the globe. 

Sign Petition

Actions for the U.S. Government

While current circumvention tools have brought uncensored information to millions of users, their server capacities are often limited. We ask that the State Department and the U.S. Agency for Global Media work together to immediately dedicate $20 million dollars to rapidly increase traffic in highly censored environments by funding Freegate, Lantern, Psiphon and Ultrasurf. A diverse coalition of 60 civil society organizations have signed on to a letter supporting the appropriation of this emergency funding. Click on the button below to view the whole letter.

View Letter

Tools

Freegate

Freegate is an app that provides access to a constantly shifting network of proxy servers, called “Dynaweb”, that help users circumvent firewalls.

Freegate

Website: http://www.dit-inc.us/freegate.html

The app automatically tracks the rapidly changing servers for the user, giving users continued routes around censors as Dynaweb without having to track the changing servers for themselves. It was originally formed for users in China but is now being utilized by people in several nations.

Click on the button below to view Voice of America's comprehensive resource page explaining Freegate.

Learn More

Tor Onion Services

Tor is the abbreviation for “The Onion Router.” The “onion” analogy illustrates how Tor utilizes many layers of private computers, called nodes, to route and encrypt Internet traffic. 

Tor Onion Services

Website: https://www.torproject.org/

Tor is one of the most widely known and used tool that offers a level of online anonymity and censorship circumvention. Tor was originally developed by DARPA and funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research. Its developer base has expanded since then with now thousands of volunteers working to form the private network and update it to patch potential weaknesses.

Click on the button below to view Voice of America's comprehensive resource page explaining Tor.

Learn More

Lantern

Lantern is an app that uses proxy servers to avoid censorship. A unique feature of the app  is its selective use of proxy servers.

Lantern

Website: https://getlantern.org/en_US/index.html

Lantern only shifts to proxy servers if it detects that a website is blocked by a firewall. This maximizes browsing speed and allows smoother streaming of videos. It utilizes both central and a peer-to-peer networks to circumvent censors.

Click on the button below to learn more about how Lantern works.

Learn More

Qual.net

Qual.net is a tool to help secure peer-to-peer communication.

Qual.Net

Website: https://www.qaul.net/

Qual.net provides a diverse set of communication features including text, calling, file sharing, and multilingual interface. It relies on an "Ad-hoc Peer to Peer Network" that does not rely on potentially exposed existing networks. 

Click on the button below to view the Open Technology Fund's description page on Qual.net.

Learn More

Psiphon

Psiphon provides “VPN-like security and encryption in a fast, easy-to-use design.” It also differs from many other tools by utilizing multiple technical methods, such as HTTPS, SSH+, proxy servers and others, rather than just one method.

Psiphon

Website: https://www.psiphon3.com/en/index.html

This avoids bulky downloads and removes the risk of banned software being found on a computer.

Click on the button below to view Voice of America's comprehansive resource page explaining Psiphon.

Learn More

PGP

PGP stands for “Pretty Good Privacy” and is a tool that encrypts communications and other information that can only be unlocked with electronic keys.

PGP

Website: https://www.openpgp.org/

It protects the encrypted information with a public key, a private key, and a unique session key. It was first created in the early 1990’s and has gone through many updates since then. It is a very secure method of sending communications without fear of malign actors accessing the information.

Click on the button below to view Voice of America's comprehensive resource page explaining PGP.

Learn More

Ultrasurf

Ultrasurf was launched in 2002 with the orginal goal of helping Chinese Internet users access the open internet. The creators of Ultrasurf now report that this tool now provides uncensored  internet access to millions of monthly unique users from 180 nations.

Ultrasurf

Website: https://ultrasurf.us/

UltraSurf does not reveal its core technologies in order to strengthen its protections for users. UltraSurf offers both circumvention and some privacy capabilities, such as hiding your IP address. 

Click on the button below to view Voice of America's comprehensive resource page explaining Ultrasurf. 

Learn More

NewNode

NewNode is a Decentralized Content Delivery Network that enables users to receive content from apps that would be otherwise blocked in their country.

NewNode

Website: https://www.clostra.com/newnode-mesh-network

According to its website, it is “the first decentralized peer-to-peer content delivery protocol, enabling data distribution free from censorship, spying, and attack.” The size and rapidly changing nature of the network helps to prevent censorship and is free to implement.

Click on the button below to view the Open Technology Fund's description page on NewNode. 

Learn More

Resources

Freedom on the Net Reports

For a detailed summary of trends and research on internet freedom around the globe, explore Freedom House’s annual Freedom on the Net reports.

HRW Internet Freedom Page

Human Rights Watch continually releases articles, videos, and resources on their site that provide updates on the freedom of information on the internet. 

GreatFire

GreatFire is an organization that helps build anti-censorship tools specifically to promote access to information in China. Check out some of the projects they have launched.