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Cubans On The Island Circumvent Internet Censorship With Psiphon App

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - With the Cuban government's ability to limit access to internet communications during the current anti-government demonstrations, US Government officials and Cuban American activists have suggested the US provide unfettered internet.

In a way, the US Government is already in the game with the help of a Canadian-based software company.

Canadian-based Psiphon provides people with uncensored access to the internet.

Psiphon bypasses government restrictions by letting people sign on to a server that gives them secure access to web pages anywhere.

Critical in the developing Cuban street protests, as in all movements, especially those in nations in the grips of repressive regimes, where internet services are censored or cut off entirely.

Psiphon engineers say they can keep the Cuban demonstrators hooked up.

"We reconnect you to the internet. A secure tunnel that can't be interfered with," said Michael Hull, President and founder of Psiphon.

Cubans in recent years have accessed, embraced the internet.

They make use of communication apps like WhatsApp and Facebook, but when the anti-government protests spread across the island the regime shut down those services.

The protestors' ability to communicate and send videos went dark.

A simple free app helped cut through the censorship.

"Our service is designed to be able to support that type of activity. Upholding social media or sending through instant message app. We make it so that continues to work," said Hull.

US politicians have suggested internet satellite services such as Elon Musk's star-link might skirt the Cuban internet crackdown, but the service is not practical, since it requires a dish, which would be easily spotted by the Cuban government.

An app, on the other hand, in the hands of a Cuban protester would be a much different story.

Psiphon claims, "There are a million and a half people in Cuba using Psiphon, getting on the internet."

The cry is for the US Government to bring uncensored internet to Cuba.

A healthy portion of Psiphon's funding, according to the company, comes from the US Government's open technology fund.

"It is a determined effort by the u.S. Congress that internet freedom, in general, is available," said Hull.

Keeping the movement alive on both sides of the straits of Florida depends heavily on communication and mobilization. Psiphon's app has been used to push through video of the Cuban demonstrations.

"We are there to solve a real-world problem and then happily step away," Hull said.

It is a cat and mouse game. The Cubans continually modify their censorship technology and Psiphon reenforces their secure tunnel.

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