Chat App Wickr Seeks to Evade State-Level Censorship

  • Encrypted chat apps are being targeted by governments and are being blocked in countries with strict censorship laws.
  • Wickr seeks to evade local censorship by working with anti-blocking service Psiphon to offer chat services that are difficult to block.
  • The ability to hide your traffic means that popular blocking methods from ISPs will be ineffective.

Encrypted chat apps are being heavily targeted by government organizations, and one of the most popular victims is Telegram. Wickr seeks to evade censorship laws and any state’s ability to block traffic to and from its servers at a national level. Most of the government organizations order ISPs to block traffic from the official servers of the apps. However, if the data is untraceable, it becomes highly difficult to identify the traffic and block it.

Wickr has partnered with Psiphon to include anti-blocking mechanisms. The added anti-blocking features will be available to only enterprise users for now, and it will be made available to free users in the coming weeks. While the new anti-blocking technology made by Psiphon offers features similar to that of a VPN, traffic is routed through proxies and complex routing protocols to make the data almost untraceable.

Wickr is not the first service Psiphon is offering anti-blocking services for. The startup founded out of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab has offered similar technology to Iranian digital rights tools. According to Michael Hull from Psiphon “The systems doing network disruptions are very sophisticated. So you have to have a smarter kind of VPN to perform under the various kinds of filters and attacks.”

Wickr’s CEO Joel Wallenstrom revealed that the app is trusted by many to offer a secure messaging platform. His company decided to partner with Psiphon to deploy anti-censorship tools to continue allowing the userbase access to free speech without any blocks from government organizations or other parties.

The anti-blocking technology deployed by Wickr is also known as domain fronting. The method has been banned on Google and Amazon’s cloud server services, and the app will have to rely on other networks to offer the anti-censorship features.

What do you think about Wickr’s partnership with Psiphon for providing anti-censorship technology? Let us know in the comments below. Also, to get instant tech updates, follow TechNadu’s Facebook page, and Twitter handle.

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