Chinese firewall evasion project

So about a month ago, a user contacted me, asking if I could convert a hardblock I enacted on an open proxy to a softblock. In accordance with Wikipedia policy, I denied the request. A short while later, I realized that the user was an established editor who would be a great loss to China-related articles. This is where I had the proverbial “lightbulb moment.”

If I could set up password-protected, SSL-enabled proxy servers, then users could contact me to use the servers and edit Wikipedia without violating policy! Now, about three weeks later, I’ve kicked off the WikiProject on closed proxies, a project designed to coordinate efforts between users who operate closed proxy servers. Currently, we have two members (myself and ST47, another admin), with a third user who has expressed interest. I’m the only proxy sysop at the moment, but hopefully we can get more online. Sometime in the next week or so, once we have more than one server up and everything is running smoothly, we’ll start accepting email-based applications for server accounts.

The proxy server I run is powered by Apache 2.2.6, with mod_ssl covering encryption and a somewhat-working mod_rewrite-based method of denying account creation. Apache’s built-in htpasswd-configured authentication, with flat text files, provides the authentication backend.

I don’t believe I have any legal issues to worry about, unless users start using the proxy to post libel and other bad things, but I don’t think a case would hold up in court.

Now all I need to do is wait for open registration, and hope that men in riot gear with big guns, black vans, and helicopters don’t show up at my house…

-alex

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