The last three years have shown the world just how much the technology be essential for communicating when in difficult conditions: come on lock down for the pandemic at riots in the square against oppressive regimes such as the Iranian one, passing through the war in Ukraine where digital power is making a difference on the battlefield. Whatsapp is now fully part of the communication tools that no democratic country can afford to hinder and that, not for nothing, every undemocratic country try to block.
For this reason, the platform has announced an important novelty, the purpose of which is precisely to override the eventual censorship of a dictatorial regime. It is about the possibility of connecting to WhatsApp via a “proxies“, a server that masks the connection to WhatsApp bypassing state censorship. WhatsApp has also gone one step further: it has officially declared that this function has been designed for young people who protest in Iran. A strong message, not to be underestimated.
What is a proxy and what is it for
During normal use of WhatsApp, the user connects directly to the servers of the chat platform via the app or via the browser (in the case of WhatsApp Web). Inside the app, in fact, there are the addresses of the WhatsApp servers to connect to to use the service.
Addresses that are known to everyone and which, therefore, can be blocked by governments: in fact, every time a request to connect to those servers is intercepted, whoever controls the Internet can block it without problems. In China it has been done for a lifetime with the addresses of Google and many other American services and the same has been done in Russia in recent months by Putin’s regime.
To get around this block it is possible to use proxy servers: in practice, a proxy is a server that acts as a bridge between the user and the service, in this case WhatsApp. Proxy technology was created to improve the performance of large platforms, offering physically closer servers to connect to, but it can also be used against censorship.
In fact, the proxy address is different from that of the official servers and, above all, it can change often. The user can then bypass censorship by connecting to the proxy which, in turn, is connected to WhatsApp.
How to use proxies on WhatsApp
Using a proxy on WhatsApp it is very simple, if you know theIP address exact proxy to connect to. Just open the app settings and go to Space and data > Proxy settings.
A new screen will open, from which we will be able to enable the option “Use proxies” and, immediately after, insert in “Set up proxies” the address of the server to which we want to connect. WhatsApp has also included in its online help an explanation page on how to create a proxy server.
WhatsApp via proxy: what changes
Using WhatsApp via a proxy, once the obstacle of the initial configuration has been overcome, makes no difference, either practical or technical. All messages and content exchanged within WhatsApp remain protected by end-to-end encryption and no one, not even Meta or proxies, can read them.
WhatsApp, however, specifies that proxies are managed by third parties and not from Meta and, consequently, remember that whoever manages them can read the IP address of whoever uses them (even if he can’t see “inside” conversations). In practice, whoever manages the proxy knows that we are using WhatsApp, but does not know what to tell us.
This is important know, because in places where the regime has banned the WhatsApp app, the fact of using it is already a matter of course it could be dangerous.
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WhatsApp launches a very important function
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