| Monday April 21st 2014

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Turn the new version of Opera into an unstoppable grid of proxies for Iranians


Danny O’Brien’s got a doozy of a lazyweb idea: “Here’s a way to mash-up two of the most talked-about Internet issues today. OperaOpera launched their web-server-in-a-browser, Opera Unite, today. Iranian protestors are looking for proxies to get around Iran’s blocking. So why not write a Opera Unite service that acts as a simple, quick-and-dirty proxy for Iranians? Danny O’Brien lays down the challenge.”

Instead of a real http proxy (like Psiphon), the best implementation would simply let you append a URL to your Unite URL and get a website back, like “http://foo.bar.operaunite.com/www.cnn.com/”. That would get rid of handing over your cookies to an unknown third-party; it’d probably also discourage people using the service for private communications (no https, in Unite — it’d be great if Opera fixed that!).Maybe I’d also stick in a geoip check to make sure the incoming requests are coming from a known Iranian IP block, just so users could feel worthy that they’re just catering to Iranians (you could pull them out of this free geolocation database). That way we wouldn’t be creating a permanent global clunky, insecure proxy network — or at least not until Iran recovers and starts its own phishing services.

I know I’m not a good enough JS programmer to pull this off, but the Unite JavaScript API certainly appears to permit cross-domain XMLHttp calls, and you can catch generic HTTP requests using opera.io.webserver.addEventListener(‘_request’,somehandler,false);, so it is theoretically possible (and here I hand wave to the implementation Gods).

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