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FreeAccess Plus!: Web 2.0 Censorship workaround

Based on Hamed Saber‘s “Access Flickr” Firefox extension, which enables users to circumvent the filter currently in effect in Iran and in few other countries that block Flickr, the popular photo-sharing website, another Iranian developer, MohammadR, has released “FreeAccess Plus!“, a nifty extension that turns Firefox into a proxy that bypasses censorship on popular Web 2.0 websites such as YouTube, del.icio.us, Flickr, Technorati.com, FriendSter.com, livejournal.com, MySpace, Hi5 and others. Many of those web sites are barred in Iran.

MohammadR is very satisfied with the response “FreeAccess Plus!” has garnered so far within the Iranian blogsphere. On Balatarin (which means “the highest” in Persian) an Iranian version of Digg, 23 people have voted for a story that praises the FreeAccess Plus! extension as something that is “making miracles” (معجزه میکنید)“.

“Some major Persian bloggers wrote about this extension before it was made available on “Mozilla Addons” site,” MohammadR told Global Voices Advocacy. “Only during the first week, FreeAccess Plus! has been downloaded 150 times. Now, after about one month from it's release, it has been downloaded more than 3500 times,” he added.

MohammadR said that FreeAccess Plus! is very simple to install. “Just go to “https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6139“, and on the bottom of the page, click “Install Now” button. This will pop up a new window where you will be asked to confirm the installation, click again on “Install Now”. Note that you need to restart Firefox before the extension works.”

Just install the plugin and restart your browser; and Firefox will do the rest! You will be able to access Youtube, Flickr, MySpace and all websites listed on the add-ons page.

The current version of “FreeAccess Plus!” does not support the option to add websites to those currently listed. MohammedR said, however, that this feature — an editable and configurable list — will be added in a future version of the program.

MohammedR hops that his “FreeAccess Plus!” plugin will serve his fellow citizens by helping them bypass the censorship that is targeting the social web. “Most of the Iranian bloggers were unhappy about the unreasonable blocking of Web 2.0 and social networking websites” he says.

P.S: For more information about the web 2.0 censorship and anti-censorship, please refer to our Access Denied Map.

10 comments

  • This is amazing stuff. Not only for countries with nationwide blocked websites, but also for those of us in countries that don´t understand web 2.0 and block social websites just because people “waste time” on them. Sometimes even in public libraries.

  • FreeAccess Plus!: Web 2.0 Censorship Workaround…

    MohammadR, has released “FreeAccess Plus!“, a nifty extension that turns Firefox into a proxy that bypasses censorship on popular Web 2.0 websites, many of those web sites are barred in Iran….

  • Dear Sami,
    As I contacted the author of FreeAccessPlus via email, and wrote him this, i think it would be helpful for future programmers to know this issue, so I rewrite my idea here:
    The FreeAccessPlus is using exactly the same idea as AccessFlickr uses.
    Let’s talk about policy of government for filtering anti-filters: There are two different ways for finding anti-filters: 1. Subscribing in proxy provider mailing-lists, 2. Doing some content searches in frequently requested web pages to find anti-filtering ways, specially web-proxies, and then ban them too.
    In my opinion, FreeAccessPlus will be banned soon, I wish this censor won’t include the sites it is re-opening, specially the way it bypasses the filter, if so, the AccessFlickr which has a very smaller users won’t work anymore too, just because of lack of politics!

  • I would like to know whether the FreeAccess Plus! Firefox extension is needed by web surfers in China – I mean are the websites mentioned blocked there? – and whether the extension is applicable to Chinese versions of Firefox.

  • Thanks for this piece. I was very interested to learn about internet censorship around the world. I wish your map link worked.

  • […] FreeAccess Plus!: Web 2.0 Censorship workaround […]

  • many thank Hamed for your feedback, is AccessFlickr has been banned in Iran?

  • Not yet Sami,
    But all important webloges that introduced this extension is blocked now. Some bloggers removed their post introducing the FreeAccess+ to avoid being filtered, but some of these are filtered too.

  • […] Friendster.com, livejournal.com, MySpace, Hi5 and others, many of which are barred in Iran (Sami Ben Charbia, Global Voices).  Moreover, as long as it is relatively easy to create a website, and as long as people in Iran, […]

  • […] Friendster.com, livejournal.com, MySpace, Hi5 and others, many of which are barred in Iran (Sami Ben Charbia, Global Voices).  Moreover, as long as it is relatively easy to create a website, and as long as people in Iran, […]

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