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Freedom House reviews ways to bypass Internet censors

Which tool is best for getting around Internet censorship? A new Freedom House report says it depends on the country you're from - and how sophisticated your government is at filtering content and monitoring your activity.

"Leaping Over the Firewall: A Review of Censorship Circumvention Tools" compares 11 circumvention tools, as well as other solutions to bypass censorship, and how effective they are in some of the most censored regions in the world: China, Iran, Burma and Azerbaijan.

Freedom House found that while circumvention tools work, not all of them are the best solution for all countries. For instance, a peer-to-peer anonymising network is the preferred tool in China, while in Iran the favourite is a generic tool (VPN) since most Internet access takes place from home computers.

"As repressive governments become increasingly savvy in their ability to filter and censor online content, these tools, which allow users to exercise their fundamental rights to free expression and privacy online, have become essential," said Freedom House. "But the risks are very real and on their own, these tools cannot always provide sufficient security to prevent users from landing on the radar screen of repressive regimes. In order to stay safe online, these tools should be just one of a number of steps taken by users."

Freedom House hopes the report will help users in Internet-restricted environments figure out which tools can work best for them, while also helping the developers of those tools learn how their tools are received.

Access "Leaping Over the Firewall" here.

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