Feeds

Dimmed but not out: Lantern anti-censorship tool blocked in China

Team behind P2P service working on a more resistant version

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

China’s formidable censorship apparatus has finally caught up with a Washington-backed tool designed to help users bypass the Great Firewall, but its creators have vowed to bounce back.

Lantern works like a P2P network, allowing users with access to the free internet to share their connections with those whose access is restricted.

Just last week The Reg reported that the service, which was apparently given seed funding by the US State Department, had seen a huge spike in global users from the low hundreds to 10,000 – driven by demand from China.

However, its sudden popularity inside the Great Firewall also attracted the attention of China’s web police.

On their Tumblr site, the Lantern team wrote a brief post explaining that the project’s fallback servers had been blocked in China – something they claim to have predicted:

The way we have allowed users to request invites meant that anyone could sign up, including the censors. If you happened to sign up at the same time as a censor, you would be sharing the same fallback proxy, which the censor would end up blocking. This means that all other users who signed up at that same time would also get blocked.

However, that’s not the end of the road for Lantern in China, with the team claiming to be working on a new version “more resistant” to blocking, which will require greater restrictions on invites to use the service.

They added:

In the future, to get access you’ll need to get invited by an existing Lantern user with access - a user with a fully working version of Lantern. We now need to focus on growing the trust network organically to stay unblocked. You can help by adding only your trusted contacts in censored and uncensored regions. This is how we will gradually grow a stronger network.

Even Beijing’s latest efforts to block the service inside the Great Firewall haven’t been completely successful.

Lantern now boasts around 17,000 users globally with three-quarters coming from China, according to the South China Morning Post.

Perhaps more tellingly, these users apparently account for 94 per cent (6.4TB) of the total traffic on the service. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?