In an effort to support Internet freedom and give access to the world to open and unrestricted Internet access, Google has recently unveiled uProxy. The tool will act as a proxy and will let users bypass censorship in countries/areas where the access to certain websites is limited.
What is uProxy?
uProxy is a browser extension that lets users share alternative more secure routes to the Internet. It’s like a personalised VPN service that you set up for yourself and your friends. uProxy helps users protect each other from third parties who may try to watch, block, or redirect users’ Internet connections.
The browser extension basically creates safe peer-to-peer connections which means if someone from a country with limited internet access installs uProxy, they can get a friend from the US to authorize them to surf the open web using their connection.
How it works?
uProxy will be released in the form of a browser extension for both Chrome and Firefox that will allow two people who know each other. For example a user sitting in Pakistan/Iran would be able to ask a friend in the United States via chat to activate uProxy. The U.S. friend would click on the extension, and the Iranian user would receive a notification. After clicking on the notification and accepting the invitation, he or she would then be connected to the Internet, via secure channel, through the U.S. friend’s connection.
How can I download and use it?
Well, unfortunately, you can’t use it at the moment as uProxy is in a limited release to trusted testers who can help make it as reliable, secure and private as possible. In the coming months, hopefully, the trusted tester program will also be rolled out to more users.
uProxy is a bit like a (Virtual Private Network) VPN such as OpenVPN, or other types of proxy services but is very different to a service like Tor where the priority is to anonymize the user. Also uProxy is not meant for file sharing as it only proxies your web browser traffic.
The tool has been developed by the University of Washington, with help from Brave New Software, with seed funding from Google Ideas. More details at uproxy.org