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Add resources (initial import)

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thomasf committed Feb 9, 2016
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The word ‘Alkasir’ is the English transliteration of الكاسر, which is the Arabic word for ‘the circumventor’ or ‘the breaker’ as a way to metaphorically signal its main task of breaking digital firewalls.

It was originally developed by Walid Al-Saqaf, a Yemeni software developer who had been subjected to censorship himself and decided to start a movement to confront and map censorship in the Arab world, which explains the source of its naming.

Today however, Alkasir allows users around the world to circumvent (bypass) censorship of URLs and simultaneously, helps keep track of patterns of URL blocking. It is predominantly used by persons in countries where there is censorship of political content such as news, opinion articles, blog entries, forum discussions, political videos, etc., but can also be used in any other country.

The first version of Alkasir was launched in May 2009 as a Windows close-source application and ever since, it has grown and expanded in its new generation Alkasir 2.0 to become an open-source multi-platform solution that can work on MS Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

About the technology
Alkasir creates an encrypted tunnel to one of Alkasir's proxy servers using Shadow Socks, an open-source Socks5 solution. To obfuscate traffic, it deploys the obfs4 pluggable transport created by the Tor Project.
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You can find advanced settings under the Setting menu of the Chrome extension.

The following two options exist:

1) Blocked list updates:
Here, you can keep your client up-to-date as regards the list of URLs found to be blocked by your ISP. You can do this by ensuring that the checkbox next to "Check for blocklist automatically" is checked. If you uncheck this box, you will no longer get updates from the central database and when therefore need to report a blocked URL every time you want to access it.

2) Advanced feature:
To keep the list of blocked URLs up-to-date, we rely on Alkasir 2.0 users to allow using their devices to check if a status of a particular URL has changed, for example if it has been blocked or unblocked. You can be part of this group of users by marking the checkbox next to "Allow alkasir to use this computers internet connection to run additional censorship detection tests." If you prefer not to help keep track of the blocking status of URLs, you can opt-out by unckecking that box. Only URLs that you personally report would then be accessed through your device.
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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 it free?
A: Given that Alkasir 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: Is it open-source?
A: Since Alkasir 2.0 was launched, it has become open-source with a community of coders around it. You can see the code and other information in the 'active development' section.

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 and are ready to dig into the source code, we invite you to do so by checking our 'active development' section.

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.

Q: Is there a time lag between the moment I report a website and the time I can access it?
A: No. Since Alkasir 2.0, we have decided to take a post-reporting review of a URL. So you can proceed to report it and access it instantly through the proxy but if the URL is found to violates our policy, it will be removed from the database soon after and any future reporting of it may be prohibited. If the website is found to be not blocked, it will be removed and you will have to report it again each time you want to access it through the proxy if you suspect that it was blocked.

Q: What does alkasir offer and that other similar programs don't?
A: See the 'Why is Alkasir Unique' page for a thorough explanation.

Q: Am I risking anything by using this program?
A: Remember that alkasir is not responsible if you are breaking the laws of your country by accessing blocked websites. Like the case with any other web-based proxy or circumvention software, we serve as a tunnel to blocked websites and do not bear any responsibility for that content nor can we be responsible for your actions. Furthermore, you should have read the terms of use you agreed on when you installed alkasir. Check the limitations page to learn more.

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 the policy of not keeping a log of traffic through our proxy servers.

Q: I am facing trouble using your program. What should I do?
A: You can try a clean install of the latest version. If errors or problems persist, you can send us debugging information as indicated in the reporting bugs page.

Q: Your website is now blocked and your software failed too? What should I do?
A: You can send us an email to debug@alkasir.com with debugging information to help solve the problem and if needed, we can provide you access to an alternative way of getting access to the latest version as well.
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When a user suspects that a particular active URL is blocked, the following steps need to be taken to report it:
1) Open the URL in a new tab while Alkasir is active
2) While on that tab, click on Alkasir Chrome extension icon
3) You will find a link in the purple box asking you to report problems with viewing the URL, click on 'Continue'
4) You will then taken to a page asking you to confirm sending the URL to the database for analysis
5) On the next page, you will be informed that the website has been added and you can reload the page in an attempt to open it
6) If it opens, this means the URL was indeed blocked. If not, it may be a problem with the website itself. Note that an analysis on the server will then commence to identify if the URL is indeed blocked or not and mark it accordingly.
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Below are the instructions to follow when setting up Alkasir 2.0 for the first time:
1) Once you have downloaded thec correct compressed file of Alkasir 2.0, run it to decompress. This will result in the creation of an executable file that would sit in the same folder where the compressed file is. The name would be alkasir.exe for MS Windows platforms, alkasir.app for MacOS and alkasir for Linux OS.
Furthermore, a home directory to keep configuration files will be saved, often in the home directory where personal files are kept. It would be called .alkasir . This folder is created only the first time the application runs and will only be updated with every new version of the application.
2) Once the red icon is available on the system tray, click on it and choose: open in web browser.
3) You will then find a window with a message asking you to setup Alkasir. Click 'Continue'.
4) Identify the language you wish to use and the country where you are based and click 'Continue'. This information will help optimize the configurations.
5) You will then be taken to a page indicating that you have install a browser extension. Proceed to the provided link and install the Alkasir 2.0 Chrome extension as required.
6) Once the browser extension is installed, you will find Alkasir's icon on the Chrome tab (next to the address bar).
7) When you click on the icon, you should see two fields one in Green indicating that Alkasir is working (if it is indeed working) and one below it in purple, asking you to report the URL in the active tab if it is not accessible.
8) At this stage, you are connected to Alkasir proxy server and have an encrypted tunnel established and ready for use.
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What makes Alkasir different?

Because there are several circumvention solutions out there, a frequent question that users ask is 'What makes your program different?' Well, here are the main differences:

1) Safer and more secure for day-to-day transactions

If you were using a conventional circumvention solution, then all your traffic goes through the proxy even if it were for non-blocked websites. For example, if you were accessing your web email (gmail, yahoo mail, etc.), your online bank account, or doing shopping online, all the data between you and those websites are needlessly -and perhaps dangerously- being channeled through a third party. If those circumvention programs intentionally store your IP address and personal information, that is even more of a concern, especially if the servers of those programs get compromised.

In contrast, alkasir only gets activated when you browse blocked websites. This means that when you other websites (web mail, online banks and shops), your data flows through directly as if alkasir is not there. For example, if your ISP blocks your access to twenty websites, alkasir's proxy gets activated only when you try to open one of those websites. All other websites are accessed directly through ISP connection. Hence, you are basically more secure as you know your data is not transported through any third party. Furthermore, alkasir has committed to not save the IP addresses of its users as an extra assurance.

2) Optimized for speed

Unlike those of conventional circumvention tools, alkasir's servers are quicker in response and transfer time because they are only activated for blocked websites. Furthermore, the servers are optimized to ensure that even if a request to a website on the server was sent by some sort of error, this request gets dropped at the server side of the circumvention process. Overall, this reduces the burden on alkasir's proxy servers as they will have plenty of time to serve a much larger number of users with fewer resources compared to conventional circumvention tools.

Apart from that, the fact that usually, most URLs reached through alkasir are predominantly textual and not graphical in nature (due to its policy), the strain on the proxy servers are reduced considerably, enabling users to enjoy seamless and fast access to blocked content.

3) Keeps you informed

One of the unique features of alkasir is its ability to keep you informed about which URLs are still blocked and which are not. The automatic update built-in feature of alkasir makes allows it to track if any previously blocked URLs have been unblocked and removes it automatically from its database locally on the computer and on the database. Hence, it serves as a source of information about censorship patterns.

4) Not for profit, but for freedom and knowledge

Finally, alkasir is a software developed for the promotion of freedom and knowledge and does that for free. The software does not require the display of advertisements, nor does it require subscription payments. The program's ability to track censorship of individual ISPs in every country of the world makes it a unique research tool to academically study the trends of censorship worldwide and hence, contributes to knowledge by presenting verifiable empirical data on censorship that is collected with the help of thousands of alkasir users around the globe.

Therefore, by using alkasir, not only will you be able to access blocked content, but you would be directly helping promote freedom and knowledge.
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# blocklist update error

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# browser code

The browser code enables this browser extension to communicate with the alkasir program. Alkasir must be running for this setup to be possible.


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# Browser extension installation

Install the chrome extension

[https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/alkasir/biomhgciacmajmcpohikhgebkihljhpp](https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/alkasir/biomhgciacmajmcpohikhgebkihljhpp)

Only chrome is supported for the moment.

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# central error

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enimad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

In non elit turpis, quis accumsan tortor. Vestibulum enim mi, tincidunt eget fringilla a, euismod nec mi. Integer dictum diam sed ante posuere feugiat. Aenean convallis sapien tincidunt leo aliquam posuere. Mauris porta facilisis metus, non commodo mauris interdum sed. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Fusce a diam nec augue tristique placerat eu at odio. Sed fermentum, nunc non condimentum accumsan, dolor nisl mollis quam, sed condimentum massa massa at nisi. Etiam quis ante neque. Mauris feugiat lacus nec lorem vulputate sagittis. Fusce congue ullamcorper nulla, in lacinia felis euismod eu. Integer arcu dolor, tempus eget scelerisque sit amet, fermentum at elit. Maecenas dignissim mollis sapien, nec elementum enim feugiat vel. Mauris lobortis sodales sem vitae venenatis. Aliquam a risus arcu. Aliquam bibendum pretium velit in tempor. Aliquam erat volutpat.
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Sending debugging information
Because Alkasir 2.0 is in constant development, you may find that it may not be working as required.
In case you do, please follow these three simple steps to send us the debugging information to identify potential application errors:
1. Do NOT turn off the client, for security reasons the debugging information is never stored to disk so it is important to keep the client running.
2. Visit http://localhost:8899/api/debug/ in your Chrome browser. You will then be asked to download a file locally.
3. Email us on <debug@alkasir.com> describing what went wrong and attach the file you just downloaded. Please describe what you did so we could try reproducing the bug to fix it.
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# Hello

This is the us manual

## Random items (TO becomde index)
* [transport error](transport_error)
* [link to the swedish manual](sv/index)


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