This week saw the UK government’s Digital Economy Bill sneak past the Houses of Parliament and Lords. Here at Just Roger IT : The Manchester SEO Blog, we believe that freedom should rank highest among our life priorities. It is too easy for us to take our liberty for granted, and willingly surrender a small slice of it to appease a hungry wolf. But the wolf will always return for seconds. They can do nothing without the co-operation of the I.T. world, and in the meantime until the world comes to its senses, I feel duty bound to place more power in the hands of Internet users to help address this terrible injustice.
What Is a Proxy and How Does It Work?
Using a proxy to access the Internet simply involves routing your Internet requests through a third party computer. Let’s suppose website X is on the ‘verboten list‘ of restricted sites by the UK government. You can reconfigure your computer A to request site X from proxy computer B as pictured above. To the outside world, it will seem as though computer B is accessing the restricted websites, with no way of preventing computer B completing this request on behalf of A, if B lies outside of the UK. Digital freedom fighters across the globe specialise in setting up proxies that are available for countries that do not have the same freedoms we enjoy in the West. Entire lists of public, free and open proxies are maintained and a simple Google search for ‘public proxies’ (or something similar!) will quickly reveal a list of proxy companions for your computer.
Your mileage will vary, and a user will need to be patient as new proxies are appearing every minute, while some may only exist for a few short hours before slowing, and finally going offline altogether. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
Using a Proxy
Some proxies will have their own domain, complete with a nice web based interface such as hidemyass.com and the-cloak.com, which are usually easy to use and need little or no explanation. In a desperate attempt to enforce this ridiculous bill, I predict the UK government may move to block access to these domains from within the UK. Even so, you still have access to the slightly more gritty proxies which are accessible by their IP address and socket number. Using these is equally straight forward, but requires a little reconfiguring of your browser!
Configuring an HTTP Proxy for Internet Explorer and Firefox
As these are the two more common browsers, I will discuss the step-by-step how to, once you have your chosen proxies IP address and socket number. Okay, so in these examples, I will be using the following proxy example:
An Example Proxy Based in Thailand
[IP address] : [socket number]
Configuring Proxy Settings of Internet Explorer
Using Internet Explorer you can click, Tools » Internet Options » Connections » LAN Settings. Then in the space at the bottom of this dialogue box tick the ‘Use a proxy server for your LAN’ and enter the IP address and socket number of your chosen proxy and click OK, then Apply.
Configuring Proxy Settings of Firefox
Firefox is very slightly different, but follows the same process. Click on: Tools » Options, then click on the Advanced icon to the far right of the top menu. Select the Network tab and click the Settings button under ‘Connection’ and enter your proxy settings here.
When you apply these settings you can browse normally, and your browser will automatically route all requests through the third party machine.
It may be hit and miss for a while, but this technique ensures that no single government can hold their people’s intellect, creativity or freedom of expression hostage.