How to Get Around ISP Filtering/Censorship

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Posted by Cynic | Posted in Australia, Philosophy, Politics, Security, Software, Solutions to Problems | Posted on 25-06-2011

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Well, it’s finally here. Australia is forcing censorship down people’s throats. They’re doing it by getting some Australian ISPs to voluntarily filter some web sites. You can read more about it at the EFF article here. I’m not going to comment on the idiocy of Internet censorship, but instead I’ll tell you how to get around censorship.

Name & Shame

Telus, Optus, itExtreme and Webshield. Those are the Australian ISPs that will be censoring the Internet in Australia.

Now, if you’re not with them, you don’t need to worry, but Telus and Optus are the 2 of the largest, so there’s a good chance that if you’re in Australia, you may need a way to get around their censorship. Here’s how…

How to Circumvent ISP Internet Censorship

There are a lot of web proxies out there, and you can use those. However, if the ISPs are filtering content, and not just URLs, then you have a problem if the web proxy isn’t using SSL, which is more than likely for most of them.

A better way to get around Internet censorship is to use a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel through the Internet and hides your IP. Also, if the VPN is outside of Australia, then everything you do is completely hidden from your Australian ISP, and any other prying eyes in Australia.

There are many different VPNs out there. The important thing for you to do is to find one that does not keep logs. Without logs, nothing can be traced back to you. Some do keep logs, while others don’t.

The folks over at The Pirate Bay have setup a VPN like that at http://www.ipredator.se. It’s not free, but you can do anything you want through it without fear of being eavesdropped on or being filtered/censored. Here’s a diagram that illustrates the basics. Click to zoom on it.

iPredator

It’s €15 for 3 months, so it’s very affordable. From the site:

You’ll exchange the IP-number you get from your ISP to an anonymous IP-number .
You get a safe/encrypted connection between your computer and the Internet.

Further, from their FAQ:

Ipredator VPN service enjoys the strongest legal protection possible under Swedish Law because of the service type (pre-paid flat-rate service). This means that Ipredator do not have to keep an ordinary customer database (to be able handle transactions etc.). This is of importance if forced to hand over information.

But even if they handed over any subscriber information, there isn’t any evidence about what you did because they don’t keep logs.

Since iPredator is run by the same people as The Pirate Bay, you can rest assured that they’re not out to cooperate with any law enforcement, which makes them ideal for dissidents, human rights activists, and people living in police states.

So, if you’re using an ISP that filters the Internet, you can effectively tell them to go get stuffed by using something like iPredator.

Happy uncensored surfing!

Ryan