A radical new approach to thwarting internet censorship would essentially turn the whole web into a proxy server, making it virtually impossible for a censoring government to block individual sites.
The system is called Telex, and it is the brainchild of computer science researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Waterloo in Canada. They will present it today at the USENIX Security Symposium in San Francisco.
Telex illustrates how it is possible to shift the balance of power in the censorship arms race, by thinking big about the problem.
"This has the potential to shift the arms race regarding censorship to be in favour of free and open communication," said J Alex Halderman, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at U-M and one of Telex's developers.
"The internet has the ability to catalyse change by empowering people through information and communication services. Repressive governments have responded by aggressively filtering it. If we can find ways to keep those channels open, we can give more people the ability to take part in free speech and access to information."
The main idea behind Telex is to place anti-censorship technology into the internet's core network infrastructure, through cooperation from large ISPs. Telex is markedly different from past anti-censorship systems, making it easy to distribute and very difficult to detect and block.