Introducing FreeSocks, proxies that circumvent censorship

Easy censorship circumvention

We despise censorship and human (& animal) rights abuses, and it’s time to fight back. In addition to Operation Envoy, our effort to provide stable and performant anti-censorship Tor bridges and snowflake proxies, we’re launching FreeSocks. FreeSocks is a free and open proxy service that aims provide an alternative to individuals that live in or are visiting countries with a heavily censored internet. With FreeSocks proxies, people that reside in countries with oppressive governments can access the open internet freely.

An internet free of censorship is extremely important in countries where the internet is censored heavily. It provides access to information that individuals may never find out about, for example the Tiananmen Square massacre and countless other atrocities and injustices carried out by governments around the world. It also allows people to communicate freely amongst themselves, so that they’re not afraid to show their true selves. In the modern age, governments are only getting better at restricting access to content and services they deem ‘unpalatable’. China is one government which is particularly advanced in their censorship efforts, and is constantly tweaking their Great Firewall to block more and more content and services. This is why services like FreeSocks are important.

A screenshot of the FreeSocks website

Our tech stack

The underlying technology that FreeSocks provides is Outline (Shadowsocks) proxies (deployed around the world), which encrypt and obfuscate user’s internet traffic. The website guides users on how they can retrieve and use the proxy access keys that we provide to them. We make an attempt to reduce the chance for abuse by preventing people from retrieving a proxy if they are not within an especially oppressive country. At a later date, we’ll detail exactly how we provide this service and the underlying code that FreeSocks uses. We think it’s pretty cool, as the functionality of retrieving and expiring proxy access keys (via the outline-server API) lives entirely on the Cloudflare Workers serverless platform. The entire FreeSocks platform is very flexible because of this. Something awesome is that our Workers cron triggers to expire access keys at defined intervals run only in datacenters that are powered by renewable energy.

We do all of this in a privacy respecting way, and we don’t log the IPs of active users, or who might have even requested a proxy.

Where do we go from here?

We need your help to maintain FreeSocks, deploy more proxies and fight the censors! If you like to support organizations like ours, please consider making a donation.

With your help we:

  • Plan to continuously deploy new Outline proxy servers in strategic locations.
  • Plan to translate all pages on the website to different languages, so that people who can’t translate or read English can use the service.
  • Plan to provide mirrors of the site in case the main URL is inaccessible.
  • Plan to extend the expiration time of access keys (30 days at the time of launch) based on reception and use.

We’ve worked really hard on FreeSocks, and we hope that you can get good use out of the service. Share it with your friends who might be subjected to internet censorship. If you use the service, and have any trouble – please contact us.