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Website Filters Got You Down?

Feb 23, 2008
By now, I'm sure that most of us have run into filtering software either at work or at school. I don't need to tell you all how annoying the software can be. Sometimes there's a little downtime at school or work and all we want to do is visit our favorite social networking website, but instead we get an obnoxious warning page.

Sometimes we're working a late shift and all we want to do is check the game's score, but a piece of software like Websense says we can't. The same thing happens if we try to visit video websites like Youtube or Dailymotion.

A little further from home, draconian governments worldwide have abused website filters, using the software to block their citizens access to valuable information about freedom, democracy and liberty. What's even worse is that some of the software, instead of simply blocking the websites, instead alerts the authorities so that they can punish the individuals who were simply seeking an improvement in their lives.

Unfortunately, these tactics are widespread, with some companies, including such giants as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, being complicit, and worse, in the filtering. In many cases, the companies have not only agreed to filter websites but have actually reported pro-democracy bloggers to the authorities, who have then imprisoned those innocent individuals.

The good news is that there are options out there to help you unblock websites. Unfortunately, some of these options are quite complicated and confusing. The first of these options is to use a virtual private network (VPN) to tunnel to the website. This works by installing a piece of software on your computer that connects directly to another server, routing and encrypting all your traffic so that the bosses upstairs can't see what you're doing.

The problem with this approach is that sometimes the ports that the VPN uses are blocked, or the computer you're using doesn't even let you download the program you need to use the VPN in the first place.

A second option is to use a pay service to access restricted websites. These services often work by providing you with a list of proxies and a program that cycles between those proxies to let you surf websites anonymously.

In addition to costing money, usually a fee upfront as well as a monthly charge, these programs are often unreliable, and sometimes don't let you access your favorite websites. Like all programs, they require a download and an installation, which is often impossible when the computer has restrictions that block your privileges.

The final option is, in my opinion, the best one. This option is to use free, web-based proxies in order to unblock websites. These web proxies don't require any installation, and are usually very, very fast. They can be accessed from anywhere, and let you bypass filters with ease. Most importantly, there's no shortage of them, so if your filter blocks one of the sites then there's many more where that came from.

My favorite site to use are Teej, but if your filter blocks that one then the site is mirrored at Zeejand Neej, so one way or another you can always visit the sites you want from wherever you want.
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