Psiphon inc is a privately held Canadian corporation headquartered in Ottawa. We maintain research and development facilities at the University of Toronto, and in Metropolitan Toronto. Our mission is to develop cutting-edge technologies for delivering multimedia Internet content in environments where that content is filtered or blocked. Our clients include the British Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, Radio Farda, and numerous international and local online journals and newspapers. We also work with civil society and NGOs battling against extralegal filtering and censorship of content ranging from maternal health care to human rights and environmental information.
We believe that the Internet should remain a global commons – subject to rules and norms that are universally accepted, transparent, and that provide individuals the right to challenge decisions and decision-makers.
Psiphon develops a wide range of tools and solutions aimed at preserving security, privacy, and access to content. Together with our partner the SecDev group
, we provide turnkey managed solutions to our clients, and engage in advanced research and development.
Psiphon inc also develops specialized products and solutions for corporate and government markets. These products strictly licensed and conform to Canadian legal standards as well as the ethical norms and standards of the Canadian law enforcement, security and computer security research communities. They are designed to give law enforcement practitioners the ability to securely investigate complex crimes that leverage the Internet including wire fraud, child pornography, exploitation, cybercrime, and organized crime. All requests for these products and services are vetted against ethical considerations. They are not for sale to the general public.
Psiphon inc is a partner company of The SecDev Group
Psiphon: Background and present day
The original design for Psiphon was developed by researchers at the Citizen Lab
, University of Toronto. The code was written as an experiment to determine if it was possible to build a lightweight and easy-to-install and operate proxy capable of allowing non-technical users to operate a private proxy platform designed to overcome filters on Internet content. The Citizen Lab initiated research into Psiphon as a corollary to its work in the Open Net Initiative
– a project between the University of Toronto, Harvard University, and Cambridge University aimed at exploring and enumerating patterns of Internet filtering worldwide. The research and development of Psiphon was initially supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute.
In 2004, the first version of the Psiphon software (1.0) was designed to enable individuals and families with relatives or friends in countries that practice Internet censorship to set up a simple, managed home-based server to provide encrypted, proxied access to Internet web-pages. The design was premised upon leveraging existing social and other trust relationships between small numbers of individuals sharing a proxy-server, as oposed to the mass publication of proxy locations, in order to reduce the chances of being blocked. Psiphon 1.0 was never publicly released.
In 2006, Psiphon was re-designed and re-written leading to the public release of the Psiphon free and open source software (1.6) from the Citizen Lab.
Psiphon 1.X was not designed to operate as an public proxy outside of established and limited social networks of trust.
Psiphon (2.X) was developed in order to balance ease-of-use, social network propagation and limitation of blocking while dissociating the relationship between the social connections and the operation of the Psiphon infrastructure. Psiphon’s cloud-based service allows users to invite others to use Psiphon without having to download, install and operate a private proxy. The source code is available under a GNU open source license and can be downloaded from: https://launchpad.net/psiphon
As a result of Psiphon’s work in bringing attention to challenges of state Internet censorship, Psiphon and the Citizen Lab received the French Senate’s Nextplorateur Award in 2008, and the Economist’s Best New Media Award in 2009 (Index on Censorship, Freedom of Expression Award
In August 2011 Psiphon released a next generation secure tunnel. Psiphon 3 builds upon the highly successful PsiphonX pilot and has been met with an enthusiastic response from user across the world.