Alkasir is a program developed by Yemeni software developer Walid al-Saqaf, that allows users to circumvent censorship in countries that censor internet content. Al-Saqaf is the son of a Yemeni investigative journalist who died under what The Guardian called "mysterious circumstances" and who had set up a website on news about Yemen while he was earning a PhD in Sweden YemenPortal.net. He created Alkasir when the government blocked access to the site using Websense.
Alkasir was launched in 2009 with the newest version containing an internal browser, added in May 2010, with updates often being released. Alkasir is free to download and to use. The word "alkasir" means circumventor in Arabic.
Governments around the world, most notably in China and in the Middle East, use censorship to block access to various websites. With the rise of social networking sites and the use of these sites to organize political movements against the repressive regimes in power, such as the Arab Spring, Middle Eastern governments have implemented Western tools to censor the internet.
Alkasir's site also contains a map that tracks the use of its software to gain access to particular URLs. The more people using the software to access a particular site, such as Facebook, the more likely it is blocked by the people's country.
As of 2012, the Arab country with the highest number of Alkasir users was Syria and the software received over a hundred thousand reports of blocked URLs.
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