Digital rights defenders celebrated the World Day Against Cyber Censorship by unblocking access to nine news websites around the world, including the independent news outlet Grani.Ru that is blocked in Russia and Fergananews.com, blocked in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
As part of Operation Collateral Freedom, the activists used the technique known as mirroring to duplicate the nine censored sites and place their copies on the servers of large Internet companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, in order to make them available in the 11 countries where they are currently banned.
In these 11 countries that are “Enemies of the Internet,” blocking the servers of these Internet giants in order to make the mirror sites inaccessible would deprive thousands of companies of essential services. The economic and political cost would be too high. Our nine sites are therefore protected against censorship.
Grani.ru, which was blocked in Russia in March 2014, is now available at https://gr1.global.ssl.fastly.net/. Fergananews.com is available at https://fg1.global.ssl.fastly.net/. A complete list of websites is available on the Collateral Freedom web page.
Operation Collateral Freedom was launched by Reporters Without Borders in collaboration with GreatFire, a group of Chinese activists that has already created unblockable mirror sites of Deutsche Welle, Google and China Digital Times. GreatFire’s tools and technology are available online for free for those wishing to circumvent website blocking by governments.
Reporters Without Borders said they are renting bandwidth for the mirroring operation and have asked Internet users to help pay for additional bandwidth when the initial supply runs out, so that the mirror sites remain available for longer.