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Lantern is a free-to-use VPN service which allows users to access blocked websites in their countries. It is a free software and quite light in size – only about “5 MB”. The developers of Lantern are active and are continuously working on making this application more stable on a daily basis. It received an update on 9th December 2017, which was the 4.4.1 update. The software is written in Go language and is available for Windows, Linux, Android and OS X. Lantern has garnered success and has been featured in many dailies such as The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Daily Post, etc. It has gained an overwhelming subscriber base over the years. It currently boasts 1 million plus downloads on Android.

Peer-to-peer

Have you heard of ‘Utorrent’ before? If you have used it or heard about it, then you might know that it is used to share files between peer-to-peer. It works with the help of different users, who help you download your file. Similarly, ‘Lantern’ has been developed as a service based on a peer-to-peer connection paradigm. It helps users living in countries with partial restrictions to particular websites access them, by the help of other users sharing some bandwidth from their network. It does not put a load on a single user and divides it among various users to establish a connection. It does not protect the identity of the person viewing the blocked data (unlike the Tor browser, for example). It will help you bypass the restrictions placed by your country and access those websites; you have long wanted to.

Software creation, rise to success and blockage

Adam Frisk, the lead engineer for LittleShoot and LimeWire, is responsible for the development of Lantern and is the CEO of the company. US state department has provided, $2.2 million as seed funds for the development of the software. Due to the funding from US State Department, experts raised concern regarding the privacy of users, which got denied by the US State, stating that ‘they never dictated anything to the software, regarding its development, marketing or usage.’ It’s mission was allowing users to access blocked websites in their countries. This led to quick controversy. For example, the Chinese Government has blocked Lantern servers due to a surge of users within two week time. The increase was drastic and rose from 200 users to 10,000, in a short period. Chinese police have charged a user with 100 Yuan for hosting a Lantern server in 2019 and have imposed charges for violating ‘International Network Rules laid by the PRC.’ It has placed the safety of people using Lantern in China in grave danger. During the civil unrest in Iran on 2nd January 2018, Iran Government blocked DigitalOcean, as DigitalOcean is the host of this software.

History of different Lantern versions

After the launch of the software, users could be invited to use it through Google Talk, so people could only ask trusted people to join. This method changed over the years, and anyone can now download this application and use its peer-to-peer functionality.

TL;DR

‘Lantern’ is a fast VPN service, relying on peer-to-peer connection sharing to access websites. It can help you with retrieving those websites which are blocked by your country, by the help of other user’s bandwidth. But, beware! Your privacy is not secure, and this software does not function like Tor to protect your identity.

Authors
Innovate Labs
License
Free
User rating
0/50 ratings
Platforms
Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10