How to Bypass Internet Censorship


  1. A significant proportion of the world's population, especially in developing countries, does not have personal access to the Internet at their homes. This can be because of the costs of having private Internet connection at their homes, the lack of personal computer equipment, or even problems in the telecommunication or electrical network infrastructures.
  2. For this portion of the population the only existing, convenient or affordable mean to access the Internet is to use places where the computers are shared with several different individuals. This includes Internet cafés, Telecenters, work stations, schools or libraries.

General risks of shared computers

  1. The fact that you access the Internet in a public space does not make it anonymous or safe for you. It is quite often the very opposite. Some of the main threats are:
  2. In some countries, such as Burma and Cuba, Internet cafe clients require to show their ID or passport before using the service. This ID information can be stored and filed together with the clients' Web browsing history.
  3. Any data you leave on the computer you have used may be logged (browsing history, cookies, downloaded files, etc.)
  4. Software or hardware keyloggers installed in the client's computer may record every keystroke during your session, including your passwords, even before this information is sent over the Internet. In Vietnam, an apparently innocuous virtual keyboard for typing Vietnamese characters was being used by the government to monitor user activity at Internet cafes and other public access spots.
  5. Your screen activity may be 'eavesdropped' using special software that takes screenshots at frequent intervals (screenloggers), monitored through CCTV cameras, or simply by a person (e.g. the Internet Café manager) looking over your shoulder 
  6. Shared computers and censorship

Besides the surveillance, users of shared computers are often offered access to a limited Internet and have to face additional hurdles to use their favorite circumvention solution:

  1. In some countries, such as Burma, Internet café owners have to display posters about banned Web content and are responsible for the enforcement censorship law inside their business.
  2. Extra filtering might be implemented by Internet café managers (client side control and filtering), to complement the filtering implement at the ISP or national level.
  3. Users might be pushed by the environment restrictions to avoid visiting specific Web sites for fear of punishment, thus enforcing self-censorship.
  4. Computers are often configured so that the users are prevented from installing any software, including circumvention tools or connecting any kind of devices to the USB port (such as USB flash drives). In the case of Cuba, authorities have begun deploying a controlling software for Internet Cafes named AvilaLink that prevents users from installing or executing specific software, or to run applications from a USB flash drive.
  5. Users may be prevented from using any other browser but Internet Explorer, to prevent the use of privacy or circumvention Add-ons or settings for browsers such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

Potential advantages of shared computers

  1. There are also some advantages to accessing the Internet on shared computers:
  2. You may receive technical advice and assistance from other users or even the manager of the Internet café on how to circumvent the filtering.
  3. Circumvention tools may already be installed and pre-configured
  4. Other users may share uncensored information with you through alternative, offline means.
  5. Best practices for security and circumvention

Depending on the environment in which you use your shared computer, you should try:

  1. Identifying the surveillance measures implemented based on the list mentioned above (CCTV, human surveillance, keyloggers, etc.) and behave accordingly
  2. Running portable circumvention software from a USB flash drive
  3. Using an operating system on which you have control through the use of a LiveCD
  4. Changing Internet cafes often if you fear recurring surveillance, or sticking to one where you trust it is safe to connect
  5. Taking your own laptop to the Internet café to use it to surf the Web from there rather than using their computers

Post a Comment

M14 Network Inc. | Hassnain Arts