Table of Contents

Comment Icon0 Besides exploiting filtering loopholes to circumvent censorship filters, a more dedicated alternative would be to use web-based circumventors. These are actually unique web forms that allow users to simply submit a URL (i.e. a link address) where it would retrieve and display the content of the requested webpage to the user. In essence, the circumventor behaves similarly to a proxy server, seamlessly allowing users to browse blocked webpages, re-writing links along the way so the user only appears to be accessing the web-based circumventor and not the prohibited webpages. Similar to the improvised proxy techniques, web-based circumventors require neither the installation of special software nor a change in web-browser settings. Publicly available web-based circumventors are shown in Table 6.

Comment Icon0 Table 6: List of public web-based circumventors

Comment Icon0 While easy to use in practice, these public web-based circumventors also have the downside of the earlier techniques. Once the Chinese authorities have discovered the addresses of these websites, they too can be blocked. A workaround to being discovered and blocked would be to privately set up the web-based circumvention software. This requires more technical expertise, as well as the availability of an overseas web server to host the circumvention software. The added benefit of privately running a circumventor would be to personalize the service for added convenience and security. For instance, changing the network port numbers for web services as well as implementing secure sockets layer (SSL) for communicating data securely over the Internet. Self- hosted web-based circumvention software are shown in Table 7.

CGI script that acts as HTTP or FTP proxy
Peacefire’s Circumventor
An automated installer program that makes it much easier for non-technical users to install and configure CGIProxy
An experimental, highly configurable web-based circumventor
An SSL-enabled web server with built-in web-based circumventor

Comment Icon0 Table 7: List of self-hosted web-based circumvention software

Comment Icon0 Even if Chinese Internet users could use web-based circumventor, such systems might not be effective in the long term. These systems are often restricted to web traffic (HTTP) and may not be accessible by encrypted access (SSL). For instance, web-based email that require user authentication may not be fully functional. There are more efficient ways of circumventing the Internet as shown in the later sections.

Chapter 7.3.3 – Web-based Circumventors


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