Lantern is a free, open source internet censorship circumvention software that was created to “give users fast access to the blocked Internet“. The application is available for desktops (Linux, Windows, Mac) and Android.
The application is not new, but I never got to write about it on WebUpd8. Lantern is built by Brave New Software, whose founder and lead developer is Adam Fisk, former lead developer of LimeWire and LittleShoot.
The project was started in 2013 and it was initially available through an invitation-only system, but with version 2.0, released in 2015, the application no longer requires an invitation to use.
Lantern relies on both its own servers and on the bandwidth of users (with connections to multiple users at once) in uncensored regions acting as access points, to unblock websites
. According to its FAQ
, Lantern encrypts all of your traffic when you are accessing a blocked site.
It’s important to mention that Lantern was not designed to be an anonymity tool and if that’s what you need, you should use Tor instead. Lantern’s goal is to provide fast, easy to use and secure access to blocked websites.
The application is very easy to use: simply install and run it, and it should automatically change your system proxy, allowing your web browser to access blocked websites.
Its user interface consists of a tray / appindicator and a web interface (which opens automatically upon launching Lantern) that allows access to some options, like running Lantern on system startup, proxy all traffic, enable/disable anonymous usage statistics and manage system proxy:
By default, Lantern tries to use a proxy only for websites it detects as blocked. This didn’t work properly for most websites I tried in my test, like Pandora, CBS and others however, everything worked as expected after I enabled the “proxy all traffic” option.
Note: you may need to restart Lantern and your web browser after changing the “proxy all traffic” option.
Lantern used to allow customizing the proxied sites list, but that feature is no longer available with Lantern version 2, although this feature might
return in a future release.
For more information about Lantern, check out its FAQ.
(binaries available for Debian / Ubuntu and derivatives, Windows and Mac OS X as well as Android)
Arch Linux users can install Lantern from AUR
For generic Linux binaries, source code, bug reports, etc. see the Lantern GitHub page.