Lantern Program Allows Chinese to Dodge Firewall

An increasing number of Internet users in China are turning to Lantern, a US-sponsored computer software program, to bypass the Chinese state’s censorship apparatus or the Great Firewall. South China Morning Post’s Patrick Boehler reports:

“China just cleared 10,000 users,” Chris Holmes, a product manager behind the computer application, told the South China Morning Post in an email. “Two weeks ago, it was probably 200.”

[…] The software allows users in countries with free internet access to donate a share of their internet bandwidth to users in countries where some websites are blocked, such as China or Iran. Once they log in, a share of their traffic is channeled through the network.

[…] As of Wednesday, 77.9 per cent of the software’s 13,000 users are in China. They have transferred some 3.9 terabytes of data across the firewall, or 92.9 per cent of Lantern’s global traffic.

The software is financed by US$2.2 million (HK$17.1 million) seed funding by the US State Department, said Holmes. This year, the State Department and the US Agency for International Development have awarded US$25 million to groups working to advance internet freedom, according to the State Department’s Office of International Communications and Information Policy. [Source]