Lantern field testing and translation help to ensure user safety

As Internet connectivity continues to expand global access to information, website blocking and other forms of censorship have become more prevalent. To safeguard access to information, users sometimes require robust and reliable tools to bypass Internet blockages. One great option is Lantern, a censorship circumvention tool developed by the US-based Brave New Software. Lantern helps users access blocked Internet content by employing a peer-to-peer (P2P) trust network. Specifically, trusted users both inside and outside of environments that experience Internet filtering are invited into the Lantern network. Users from outside the censored environment act as P2P access points (as well as nodes within the larger network), while users located inside the censored environment access blocked webpages via these access points. The Lantern P2P network makes it particularly difficult for censors to discover and block these proxies given the enormous number of potential peer access points available.

Supported by a small grant from the ISC Project, Brave New Software completed testing and translation of the Lantern software in the field. A Lantern testing coordinator oversaw the global user testing of two sequential versions of the tool, Asimov and Adelle, prior to the launch of the public beta version late last year. This testing ensured that the tool was stable in the field and that problems were identified and corrected before the influx of users.

Beyond testing, the public beta version added translated interfaces in Spanish, Russian, French, Italian, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, and Farsi. Each of these versions was tested to ensure their functionality, and the accuracy of the translations was verified by users in the field. Brave New Software has continued testing and refining Lantern since its public beta release via ongoing rapid iterations and public beta maintenance releases. This has allowed the project to continually ensure the safety of its users.

Lantern is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The latest version can be downloaded at https://www.getlantern.org/.