…How You Can Combat Online Censorship

 

 

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This is not new. It has been ongoing for years: when fascists are unable to control the narrative, they shut down the discussion.

I am seeing now that most of the the UK and many other European Internet service providers (ISPs) are blocking this as well as many other websites from being viewed.

Not content with shadow banning academics guilty of wrongspeak from social media, attempting to turn them into unpersons, they are using blocking methods originally developed but rarely used to block criminal enterprises on the web (think scammers and pedophiles) with far more alacrity than when they were ever used as originally intended.

They use a variety of methods to control what you are allowed to view online, much like how I had “guardian control” on our television to stop the kids from watching channels that were not suitable. Amusingly, I know of one home and office firewall company that is listing jihadwatch.org as “adult entertainment.” A provider in the UK, also listing Jihad Watch as adult, asks for credit card numbers to prove you are old enough to view the site.

Canada is introducing “measures,” specifically in Quebec, to block illegal gaming sites, which I would bet my last Loony on being leveraged in the same way, as soon as they criminalize “Islamophobia,” a.k.a. any criticism of jihad and the violence and crime that go hand-in-hand with Islam.

So today, some Internet providers just block this and other sites, giving the impression that site is “down,” not available, mockingly suggesting, “please try later.” We will be seeing far more of this, and there is little anyone can do to stop this from being implemented further.

The vast majority of blocks are actually very simple to bypass. They “poison” the DNS servers that they provide free with your Internet access to misdirect you to other locations. The Turkish government has been using this method for Internet access for a few years. The Chinese “protect” nearly half the world’s population from ThoughtCrime with this trick.

DNS stands for Domain Name Servers. They translate the user-entered website (domain name) such as www.jihadwatch.org into a number that is used by your computer to connect to the website — think postal/zip code. Normally, you are automatically assigned DNS Name Server addresses by your Internet service provider, but changing the DNS servers (on your local machine or router) will stop censorship using this method. 

Bypassing the simple DNS poisoning method that is most commonly used is very simple: you just change the DNS servers that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT and networking hardware, was kind enough to provide. Try use.opendns.com or safer for sharing 208.69.38.205 (which cannot be easily blocked). In fact, in many cases, OpenDNS may be a better service than your own service provider’s DNS. It is simply tested, but whatever happens in the future, keep that link handy to check if your favorite websites really did just vanish.

Here is a complete current list of free to use public DNS serversCisco just has great instructions to make the required changes. I believe they do this intentionally to assist in bypassing government censorship.

Further, I would strongly suggest that anyone who may in the future be guilty of wrongthink or some other thoughtcrime, go one step further and encrypt all your Internet traffic using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), so that Internet providers, government agencies and even employers can not snoop. I have been involved with the development of airvpn. I have no financial motive, but I believe they are the best (speed/price), but maybe not as user-friendly as some more commercial VPNs such as Freedome. Using a VPN would be best practice to also stop cyber criminals from carrying out a number of attacks against you when you are using a public wifi (cafe, airport, etc.). It also is a more thorough way to block censorship. If you use a VPN, you do not need to change DNS servers, as the VPN does this for you.

*above, I knowingly use the term “dns poisoning” knowing that it is most commonly used to describe an attack when a bad actor diverts a website’s intended  traffic to some other location, normally to inflict some damage, but the ISPs are using similar methods that a Bad Actor would use with the intent of censorship.

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