With a recent high court order blocking the “Wayback Machine”, a site which archives (creates a copy of) websites as per the request of a few film-makers, it’s time to discuss freedom of speech. Is it upto the court to decide what site one may or may not visit? The Internet has always stood for freedom, and the power of the internet can be hardly be curbed by any courts. At least not without a complete ban of access to the Internet. We’re not there yet, even in the valleys of our Jammu and Kashmir. Even there, our country does not ban the Internet.

If you’re a fan of the Piratebay, an archive of torrent links, you may have seen the message “This site has been blocked for DOT compliance”. This just means that the data passing from the internet through your service provider to you, has been trapped in a filter. In other words, blocked at the level of the service provider, preventing you from accessing the site’s contents.

However there are many different ways in which you can bypass the block. It depends on whether you are using a desktop or a mobile device.

On a Desktop (PC/Laptop)

The professional way is to use a VPN or Virtual Private Network. This requires you to sign up with a VPN service provider, or install a VPN server on your own server (if you have your own virtual private or dedicated server). I’ll be talking about this later.

The amateur’s way is to install a program called Tor. Though I said amateur’s way, I said that only because using Tor is simple and a no-brainer. The program and protocol it uses is quite advanced really, using a host of servers to pass encrypted data, essentially tunnelling it through them till it emerges at a location somewhere around the world. You needn’t know about the intricacies of it. You just need to know how to use it, which is as simple as 1,2,3:

1. Download Tor from torproject.org.

2. Install it and open the installed program.
3. Browse any website on the Tor browser.

The tor browser is actually the popular Firefox browser trimmed and powered for privacy.

On an Android device (mobile/tablet)

Again, the professional way is to use a VPN.
For the amateur, just install Orbot, the tor client for Android, and use its browser to browse any site

An added advantage of using tor is that you can browse Piratebay, Sci-hub and many other sites by their dedicated onion links.