How we are doing it

Circumventing state censorship in order to unblock these six websites is only possible with sophisticated techniques known as “mirroring.”

To understand this process, you have to know that each site is hosted on a server, one that censors block in order to deny access to the site’s content. The authorities can target IP addresses, domain names or the content itself.


To prevent this kind of blocking in the first round of Operation Collateral Freedom, RSF used techniques based on those developed by GreatFire, an NGO that has carried out many operations of this kind with the aim of circumventing Chinese government censorship.


Last month, RSF set itself the goal of improving the process for creating virtual copies of the censored sites. In the course of a Collateral Freedom hackathon hosted by the Cantine de Brest (An Daol Vras), volunteer developers including Kevin Georges @D33d33k and Angelo Delefortrie @angelodlfrtr managed to create a new script that allows the content of a censored site to be simultaneously re-posted on an uncensored server.


The unblocked sites will be hosted on a strategic server run by a major service provider such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, one that would-be censoring governments would be unlikely to block because the “collateraldisruption and damage would outweigh the potential benefits.


For all this to work, bandwidth has to be bought on the new server (operated by Amazon or one of the other companies). A given sum of money buys a specific amount of bandwidth, the duration of which depends on the volume of visits to the unblocked sites. The more the site is visited, the quicker the bandwidth is used up.


This is why we have made it possible for you to make an online donation that will be used to buy more bandwidth and thereby extend the duration of this operation against the enemies of the Internet.