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Lantern, US-backed censorship circumvention tool records growth

Written by Tue 5 Apr 2022

A company backed by the US that is able to bypass a range of state-sanctioned censorship barriers has seen its popularity explode since the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

 

According to a report by Vice, Lantern, a free peer-to-peer internet censorship circumvention tool, received funding of $790,000 in 2015 from the US State Department’s Open Technology Fund.

The same report also discovered that traffic to Lantern’s servers has increased by 100,000% over the past month, with the app growing its active monthly user base to seven million users. These major traffic numbers happened after the Russian government introduced restrictions that made accessing foreign social media platforms very difficult.

As Lantern uses a peer-to-peer approach, even if more restrictions are introduced by the Russian government, the app will still be able to function and thrive. Before the recent increase in usage from Russia, individuals in China were the large market in terms of traffic.

The business has used the experience it has gained from operating in China for years to circumvent Russian interference with accessing the internet. With the Russian government recently considering how it would be possible to disconnect from the global internet and replace it with a form of  ‘sovereign internet’ that the government would control fully, the importance of Lantern is significant.

Despite not paying for any advertisements or promotions, Lantern has found itself becoming extremely popular through word-of-mouth, especially in regions where free speech is heavily policed and social media platforms face pressure from ruling political parties.

According to the Vice report, the founders of Lantern are also currently creating a new product that can be used by citizens of countries were censorship is prevalent. This solution will enable people to host information on their own devices and allow other users to access it as a type of gateway.

Written by Tue 5 Apr 2022

Tags:

censorship Lantern technology Ukraine
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