Lantern (software)

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Lantern logo.svg
Lantern 1.5.17 screenshot
Lantern 1.5.17 screenshot
Original author(s)Adam Fisk[1]
Stable release
5.5.1 / July 30, 2019; 4 months ago (2019-07-30)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inGo
Operating systemLinux, OS X, Windows, Android
TypeInternet censorship circumvention
LicenseApache License 2.0[2]

Lantern is a free and open-source peer-to-peer internet censorship circumvention tool, used for casual web browsing.[3] It provides a way to bypass state-sanctioned filtration through a network of trusted users, but it's not an anonymity tool like Tor.[1] Using Lantern, users in countries having free internet access can share their bandwidth with those who are in countries where the network is partly blocked.[4] Network connections will be dispersed between multiple computers running Lantern so it will not put undue stress on a single connection or computer.[5]

Lantern's CEO and lead developer is Adam Fisk, a former lead engineer of LimeWire and LittleShoot.[6]

In early December 2013 Lantern had a surge of Chinese users and could reach from 200 users to 10,000 users in just two weeks.[7] Soon after that, the network was almost blocked by the Chinese government.[8]

The software is financed by US$2.2 million (HK$17.1 million) seed funding by the US State Department.[9]

Lantern is partially hosted on DigitalOcean's infrastructure, which was briefly reported as blocked in Iran during the civil unrest on January 2, 2018.[10]


In early versions, Lantern's framework required the use of Google Talk for users to invite other trusted users from their Google Talk contacts.[5] It's financed through US Department of State seed funding. These have raised some concerns about privacy of users, though Fisk has said the State Department is "incredibly hands off" and never dictates how they should write Lantern, or how they should talk about it.[1][5]

The 2.0 version was released in 2015. Users are not required to connect by invite.

Related events[edit]

At the beginning of 2019, it was reported that the Guangdong police had imposed penalties on the basis of the "Interim Provisions on the Administration of the International Network of Computer Information Network of the People's Republic of China" for a Lantern user to "create and use illegal channels for international networking." The fine is a thousand Yuan. The document of the punishment was publicized on the “Guangdong Public Security Law Enforcement Information Disclosure Platform”[11].

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Guthrie Weissman, Cale (October 22, 2013). "Here's an anti-Internet censorship program for activists by activists". Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  2. ^ "LICENSE". GitHub. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  3. ^ Fifield D, Lan C, Hynes R, Wegmann P, Paxson V (2015-05-15). "Blocking-resistant communication through domain fronting". Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies 2015. doi:10.1515/popets-2015-0009.
  4. ^ "Anti-firewall tool Lantern infiltrated by Chinese censors". South China Morning Post. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b c McKenzie, Jessica (October 22, 2013). "Could State Department Funded Lantern Be Bigger, Better Tor?". Archived from the original on 26 March 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  6. ^ "NEXT GENERATION ANTI-CENSORSHIP TOOLS - PANELIST BIOS". techATstate. March 6, 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Lantern Program Allows Chinese to Dodge Firewall - China Digital Times (CDT)". China Digital Times. China Digital Times. December 5, 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  8. ^ "China blocks censorship circumvention software Lantern after a surge of Chinese users". TECH IN ASIA. December 11, 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  9. ^ "US-funded Lantern program allows Chinese to dodge Great Firewall and view banned websites". South China Morning Post. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  10. ^ "January 3, 2018 Episode Transcript". The Current. CBC. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  11. ^ "韶雄公(网)行罚决字 [2019]1号". 广东公安执法信息公开平台 (in Chinese). 2018-12-28. Archived from the original on 2019-01-05. Retrieved 2019-01-05.[non-primary source needed]