FreeAccess Plus!: Web 2.0 Censorship workaround
Based on Hamed Saber“s “Access Flickr” Firefox extension, which enables users to circumvent the filter currently in effect in Iran and in few other countries that block Flickr, the popular photo-sharing website, another Iranian developer, MohammadR, has released “FreeAccess Plus!“, a nifty extension that turns Firefox into a proxy that bypasses censorship on popular Web 2.0 websites such as YouTube, del.icio.us, Flickr, Technorati.com, FriendSter.com, livejournal.com, MySpace, Hi5 and others. Many of those web sites are barred in Iran.
MohammadR is very satisfied with the response “FreeAccess Plus!” has garnered so far within the Iranian blogsphere. On Balatarin (which means “the highest” in Persian) an Iranian version of Digg, 23 people have voted for a story that praises the FreeAccess Plus! extension as something that is “making miracles” (معجزه میکنید)“.
“Some major Persian bloggers wrote about this extension before it was made available on “Mozilla Addons” site,” MohammadR told Global Voices Advocacy. “Only during the first week, FreeAccess Plus! has been downloaded 150 times. Now, after about one month from it”s release, it has been downloaded more than 3500 times,” he added.
MohammadR said that FreeAccess Plus! is very simple to install (see the video tutorial below). “Just go to “https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6139”, and on the bottom of the page, click “Install Now” button. This will pop up a new window where you will be asked to confirm the installation, click again on “Install Now”. Note that you need to restart Firefox before the extension works.”
Just install the plugin and restart your browser; and Firefox will do the rest! You will be able to access Youtube, Flickr, MySpace and all websites listed on the add-ons page.
The current version of “FreeAccess Plus!” does not support the option to add websites to those currently listed. MohammedR said, however, that this feature — an editable and configurable list — will be added in a future version of the program.
MohammedR hops that his “FreeAccess Plus!” plugin will serve his fellow citizens by helping them bypass the censorship that is targeting the social web. “Most of the Iranian bloggers were unhappy about the unreasonable blocking of Web 2.0 and social networking websites” he says.