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PROTECTING PRIVACY: Google offers new service to bypass government surveillance

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The world's leading Internet search engine has taken steps to protect its users' privacy from government interference, domestic or otherwise. Google unveiled uProxy at a presentation in new York City. The software will allow citizens under some regimes to bypass government censorship or surveillance software to use the Web and use its properties like YouTube and Blogger.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Still being tested, the software will be available for Google's Chrome browser and Firefox - but not for rival Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer.

A "Project Shield" service to protect news organizations and human rights groups from cyber attacks will also be introduced. Google representatives say it's part of a new package of services designed to support "free expression" on the Internet.

Two new services have been introduced. In addition, a new map that highlights cyber attacks taking place around the world in real time. The innovations are courtesy of Google Ideas, a think-tank established by the company in 2010.

Google says it would host sites that frequently came under politically motivated "distributed denial-of-service" (DDoS) attacks, which occurs when multiple computer networks, stricken by a virus, flood a server at the same time, forcing closure.

Due to the size and sophistication of its technical infrastructure, Google is far more able to withstand such attacks compared to Web sites hosted independently.

Google says that the product remains in testing. A promotional video featured an endorsement from Balatarin, a popular Persian-language news Web site that has already tested the digital shield program. Google has also worked to protect an election monitoring website in Kenya.

The uProxy software has been developed by the University of Washington along with the nonprofit group Brave New Software. The new software will allow users in countries like China to access the Internet as it is seen by a friend in a different, uncensored country.

Creating an encrypted connection between two users in a way that resembles a virtual private network, which knowledgeable Chinese "netizens" currently use to circumvent the government's Great Firewall, which blocks many social media sites as well as sites deemed politically sensitive.

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