Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is alkasir?
A: It is a software program that allows its users to bypass censorship of specific URLs and tracks censorship imposed by your ISP.
Q: When saying 'specific URLs', what do you mean?
A: alkasir's aim of circumvention is to allow users to access information about their countries and regions that are concealed by the states mainly because of political reasons. An example would be news websites that cover protests, expose corruption, promote open online discussions and debates on political, social and cultural issues, etc. Therefore, alkasir's team devised a clear policy, which defines the content allowed to be accessed through alkasir.
Q: But by limiting it to certain websites, aren't you also doing censorship?
A: There are a number of reasons why we don't allow access to all blocked websites. The first and foremost is bandwidth consumption. We cannot afford to have servers that allow access to massive bandwidth-hungry websites that include videos and excessive images, games, etc. The second reason is that the program focuses on promoting access to information to websites that are more informational by nature and that includes websites for news, opinions, reports, information, etc. that people are eager to know about and often relate to. Those website usually cover issues about reform, development, democracy and human rights. alkasir is not censoring, but it is simply gate keeping to ensure that its servers are used according to its policy. There are certainly other circumvention tools that allow access to almost all websites. If you ask us for information on that, we'll be happy to help.
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: Two reasons: The first is because we wish to contribute in promoting access to information and freedom of expression around the world and by enabling users to bypass censorship, we believe we are achieving that goal. The second reason is because we are carrying out a worldwide study of censorship trends using data gathered from computers around the world indicating if a website is blocked or unblocked and hence be able to assess censorship trends and do various types of academic and professional studies.
Q: Is the program free?
A: Given that the program was created for purposes of promoting the basic human right of the freedom to know, we felt that it should remain free for all to use. The fact that it only circumvents some blocked websites makes it easier and less costly to maintain compared to other servers that allow access to the whole world wide web. Hopefully the program will remain free as we are in the process of exploring various ideas to generate funds for it to continue.
Q: How does your circumvention technology work?
A: It is not possible to explain the details here but in brief, the software depends on a number of service providers (servers) who offer their resources so the program could securely channel website content through them so you could access their content. Your ISP will not know which blocked website you accessed because all the data received to and from the service providers are encrypted. If you want technical details on how it works, go ahead and contact us.
Q: Do I have to report a blocked website to be able to access it?
A: No, although reporting websites will make alkasir more effective for you and other alkasir users hooked to the Internet through your ISP. Each blocked website is reported once for it to be considered by the service. The first person to report the website would practically have acted on behalf all the other users of that specific ISP that is blocking it. Hence, upon approval of a website, the person who reported it plus every other user depending on that ISP would be able to bypass censorship and access the website seamlessly.
Is there a time lag between the moment I report a website and the
time I can access it?
A: It depends. If the website you reported had already been approved before by moderators, it will automatically be approved and added to the database. In about a minute, alkasir will restart and you can then restart your browser to be able to visit that website as well. There are already dozens of approved websites such as facebook.com, youtube.com, etc. that if found to be blocked, will be automatically available through alkasir without the need for approval by moderators. Similarly, if a formerly rejected website is reported, it will be automatically rejected if reported again.
Q: What does alkasir offer and that other similar programs don't?
A: Click here for the answer.
Q: Am I
risking anything by using this program?
Q: Are you using or exposing my IP and other computer information?
A: We don't store your IP on our server and are committed to keeping any information obtained through the use of alkasir strictly confidential will never be shared by outsiders unless obliged by the court of law.
Q: I am facing trouble using your program. What should I do?
A: You can try the diagnostics service and read the troubleshooting guide. If errors or problems persist, you can send us debugging information as instructed here.
Q: Your website is now blocked and your software failed too? What should I do?
A: You can send us an email to email@example.com with debugging information to help solve the problem and if needed, we can provide you access to a private proxy.