Researchers from the University of Waterloo and the University of Michigan have developed technology they claim could make it "virtually impossible" for oppressive governments to censor websites in their countries. The system is called Telex, and it's being unveiled today at a technology conference in San Francisco.
Right now, the primary way of getting around Internet censorship is linking to servers or networks outside the country in question. But, oppressive regimes usually find a way to shut down those connections.
The Telex system keeps all activity on local servers. So, let's say a government bans YouTube but allows Google. Apparently, with the Telex system, you could log onto YouTube, but the server would think you're actually logging onto Google. And voila, you're connected to the banned site.
Of course, in order for any of this to work, Internet Service Providers would have to start using Telex stations, and individual users would have to get their hands on the software, neither of which are foregone conclusions. At least the software shouldn't help criminals - according to its Q&A page, Telex isn't designed to provide complete anonymity, so abusers can still theoretically be tracked.
Whether or not the software catches on with mainstream users, the Telex team has already seen some success. They managed to stream a YouTube video from a computer in China, so if nothing else, they've potentially brought the magic of Dramatic Cat to at least one home.