Stop Censorship - Free the Net

I am appalled - and it's not just China:

The level of state-led censorship of the net is growing around the world, a stury of so-called internet filtering by the Open Net Initiative suggests.

The study of thousands of websites across 120 Internet Service Providers found 25 of 41 countries showed evidence of content filtering.

I think there is a way round this problem, and it should only take a few lines of html and a little bit of public pressure. If you are as pissed off as I am with censorship, please read on:

We develop a 'widget' - a few lines of code anyone can attach to their website - that appears as a small button on the host webpage. When, say, a Chinese user clicks on it, she gets access to a 'mini-browser' from where she can navigate the net - but with a twist. Instead of surfing directly, her actions provide information to the host website instead, which then updates itself to include the information the user has been looking for. It will be slower than browsing directly, and it is perhaps best if the cached information is restricted to text to reduce pressure on the host server. But a user operating behind a firewall can get access to information that is banned, all the while never allowing the censorship software to realise which websites she is accessing.

Here is an example. The Coca Cola website can be freely accessed in China. BBC news cannot. So now, the Coca Cola website has an additional button that when clicked opens up a different page with pseudo-web browser functionality. The Chinese user can type and the Coca Cola server scans the text and links from the BBC website and makes it part of the Coke website pseudo-browser page. At no step in this process is the firewall aware the user is getting information from a banned website, as all the time she is tuned in the allowed Coke website.

Now, while the spiders cannot see what happens within the Coke website, they can definitely spot that a webpage has the widget. And here's where public pressure comes in: A company or organisation that refuses to include it on their webpage is clearly standing for censorship. That way, every website host, company or organisation has to take sides: either for or against free speech. As soon as a few prominent backers emerge, trying to remain on the side of the censors will become increasintly unprofitable. And China will have to accept all the information on the net - or live with none of it.

Anyone who thinks this could work and would like to be involved, step forward - and please pass this on.