The US government has provided new and increased funding to three virtual private networks (VPNs) specifically designed to circumvent censorship and access Western media, five knowledgeable sources confirmed to Reuters.
From 2015 to 2021, nthLink, Psiphon and Lantern had already received “ at least $4.8 million of the Open Technology Fund (OTF), an organization created by the US State Department to defend internet freedoms, which became independent in 2019.
Their funding is said to have increased by nearly half since February.” in order to meet the increase in demand in Russia “Explained their leaders, as well as two representatives of the OTF.
The tools it has supported have counted “ averaged more than 4 million users last month in Russia “. “ We conservatively estimate that at least 6 million VPNs have been installed since the invasion says Simon Migliano, Head of Research at Top10VPN, up 452% from the week before the war broke out.
The funding comes from the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), a federal agency that oversees US government-backed broadcasters, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, on which OTF previously depended.