In an attempt to open up the internet, Google Ideas has announced a few initiatives to allow the world to enjoy the internet as they see fit. In conjunction with the University of Washington and Brave New Software, Google is taking strides to thwart censorship as we know it.
Well, maybe not as we know it, but around the world, websites are blocked. Blogs are removed, and people are disconnected. Google Ideas wants to change that, And has introduced three programs that work together while being very different.
The first, Project Shield (no, not the gaming platform!), is “enables people to use Google’s technology to better protect websites that might otherwise have been taken offline by “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attacks.” Google says it’s aimed at news sites and private blogs, as well as providers of human rights information across the world. Anyone interested can sign up for a private beta test through Google.
Another interesting program is uProxy, which will allow one user to create a secure connection for others. Google says this will help create a better, more secure pathway for those who are affected by censorship or surveillance. This was the tool created in conjunction with the University of Washington and Brave New Software, and could have the deepest impact of the three.
Finally, the Digital Attack Map is an aggressively named program which aims to give a real-time look at just where censorship is happening, and how. By creating a map of anonymously collected data, Google Ideas and partner Arbor Networks will be able to pinpoint how and when strikes occur, and may happen in the future. By compiling the data, and giving a historical reference to outages as they relate to elections or civil unrest in the world, Google Ideas will have a better idea on how to properly deploy service -- like Project Loon, for instance.
Google is making big strides in a free and open internet, and these three may be the biggest salvos yet. Essentially, Google is saying that a government should not be allowed to censor it’s citizens -- or netizens, if you like -- and they’ll do what they like in regard to the spread of information. In the U.S., we don’t have these issues to contend with, but in other parts of the world (China, for instance), censorship is a big deal. It will be interesting to see how these programs affect the world long-term.