Lantern (software) – Wikipedia

Internet censorship circumvention software

Lantern is a free[a] peer-to-peer internet censorship circumvention tool, used for casual web browsing.[5] 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.[6] Network connections will be dispersed between multiple computers running Lantern so it will not put undue stress on a single connection or computer.[7]

Lantern’s CEO and lead developer is Adam Fisk, a former lead engineer of LimeWire and LittleShoot.[8]

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.[9] Soon after that, the network was almost blocked by the Chinese government.[10] Another surge occurred after the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine when internet freedoms in Russia were severely curtailed. [11]

The software is financed by US$2.2 million (HK$17.1 million) seed funding by the US State Department.[12]

Lantern is partially hosted on DigitalOcean’s infrastructure, which was briefly reported as blocked in Iran during the civil unrest on January 2, 2018.[13]


In early versions, Lantern’s framework required the use of Google Talk for users to invite other trusted users from their Google Talk contacts.[7] 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][7]

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

Privacy policy[edit]

Per Lantern’s privacy policy document,[14] Lantern doesn’t claim to protect user’s privacy.

(We may share information…) With vendors, consultants, marketing partners, and other service providers who need access to such information to carry out work on our behalf

Since Lantern operates at the routing layer of the TCP/IP stack, content blockers like uBlock Origin, Pi-hole that operate at the application layer remain ineffective in preventing data collection Lantern may engage in.

When you use our Services, we collect information sent to us by your computer, mobile phone or other access device. The information sent to us includes, but is not limited to, the following: data about the pages you access, computer IP address, device ID or unique identifier, device type, geo-location information, computer and connection information, mobile network information, statistics on page views, traffic to and from the sites, referral URL, ad data, and standard web log data and other information. We also collect information through our use of cookies and web beacons.

Lantern may use data they collect for advertisements and possibly share them with third-parties.

Personalize and improve the Services, including to provide or recommend features, content, social connections, referrals, and advertisements.

Lantern isn’t a no logs VPN service, and so, it can be critiqued that it isn’t an effective anti-censorship tool.[15]

Device Information: We may collect information about your mobile device, including, for example, the hardware model, operating system and version, software and file names and versions, preferred language, unique device identifier, advertising identifiers, serial number, device motion information, and mobile network information.
Log Information: When you interact with the Services, we collect server logs, which may include information like device IP address, access dates and times, app features or pages viewed, app crashes and other system activity, type of browser, and the third-party site or service you were using before interacting with our Services.

Lantern isn’t an anonymity network like Tor, in fact it does claim to collect personally identifiable information that may be subject to disclosure to the governments the countries they operate in.[16]

We may transfer the information described in this Statement to, and process and store it in, the United States and other countries, some of which may have less protective data protection laws than the region in which you reside.

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”.[17][non-primary source needed]
In March of 2022 it was reported that Russian users were employing Lantern to bypass censorship measures put in place by the Russian government.[18]

See also[edit]

  1. ^ Lantern’s open source repository has been archived.[4]

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. ^ “Release 6.8.10”. 22 September 2021.
  3. ^ “LICENSE”. GitHub. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  4. ^ “getLantern/Lantern”. Retrieved 24 Aug 2020.
  5. ^ Fifield D, Lan C, Hynes R, Wegmann P, Paxson V (2015-05-15). “Blocking-resistant communication through domain fronting”. Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies. Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies 2015. 2015 (2): 46–64. doi:10.1515/popets-2015-0009. S2CID 5626265.
  6. ^ “Anti-firewall tool Lantern infiltrated by Chinese censors”. South China Morning Post. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ “NEXT GENERATION ANTI-CENSORSHIP TOOLS – PANELIST BIOS”. techATstate. March 6, 2013. Archived from the original on 29 April 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  9. ^ “Lantern Program Allows Chinese to Dodge Firewall – China Digital Times (CDT)”. China Digital Times. China Digital Times. December 5, 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  10. ^ “China blocks censorship circumvention software Lantern after a surge of Chinese users”. TECH IN ASIA. December 11, 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  11. ^ “Meet the Secretive US Company Building an ‘Unbreakable’ Internet Inside Russia”. Vice. March 24, 2022. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  12. ^ “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.
  13. ^ “January 3, 2018 Episode Transcript”. The Current. CBC. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  14. ^ “Lantern Privacy Policy” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  15. ^ “Detailed VPN Comparison”. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  16. ^ “VPN: A Very Precarious Narrative”.
  17. ^ “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 (China)). 2018-12-28. Archived from the original on 2019-01-05. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
  18. ^ “Meet the Secretive US Company Building an ‘Unbreakable’ Internet Inside Russia”.