EVERYONE’S GUIDE TO BY-PASSING INTERNET CENSORSHIP
FOR CITIZENS WORLDWIDE
A CIVISEC PROJECT
The Citizen Lab
The University of Toronto
cover illustration by Jane Gowan
Web-based Circumvention Systems
Anonymous Communications Systems
Tricks of the trade
Things to remember
Circumvention technologies are any tools, software, or methods used to bypass Inter-
net filtering. These can range from complex computer programs to relatively simple
manual steps, such as accessing a banned website stored on a search engine’s cache,
instead of trying to access it directly.
Circumvention providers install software on a computer in a non-filtered location and
make connections to this computer available to those who access the Internet from a
censored location. Circumvention providers can range from large commercial organi-
zations offering circumvention services for a fee to individuals providing circumven-
tion services for free.
Circumvention users are individuals who use circumvention technologies to bypass
Internet content filtering.
Internet censorship, or content filtering, has become a
major global problem.
Whereas once it was assumed that states could not control Internet communications,
according to research by the OpenNet Initiative (http://opennet.net) more than 25
countries now engage in Internet censorship practices. Those with the most pervasive
filtering policies have been found to routinely block access to human rights organi-
zations, news, blogs, and web services that challenge the status quo or are deemed
threatening or undesirable. Others block access to single categories of Internet
content, or intermittently to specific websites or network services to coincide with
strategic events, such