Undo the Firewall Initiative: Countering Internet Censorship
In 2023, Russia censored and blocked an estimated 1 million websites globally – including every independent news site and global social media platforms like X, Instagram, and Facebook.
In response to this alarming trend, Undo the Firewall, a grassroots initiative between The True Story and Hello Monday/DEPT® launches today, and provides a straightforward solution, empowering website owners worldwide to host uncensored news stories and deliver the real stories.
Undo the Firewall aims to counter internet censorship. Design studio Hello Monday/DEPT®, recognized for leveraging tech for good through digital projects like Fingerspelling and Give A Hand, joins forces with The True Story, a news aggregator founded by Lev Gershenzon, former news director of Russia’s largest search engine Yandex.
How it works:
Currently, Russians can still freely visit foreign websites for gaming, information, and e-commerce. This allows website owners globally to contribute to the fight against censorship and misinformation actively.
The process is simple—a website owner can copy and paste a small code snippet onto their sites, available at undothefirewall.com. When a visitor with Russian language settings accesses the site, a pop-up displaying uncensored news stories automatically appears, providing unfiltered perspectives on current events.
Undo the Firewall aims to puncture the information barrier imposed by a system that uses technology to stifle its people through censorship and centralization of news and information. By giving any website owner the power to help undo the firewall and expose real news from every angle, this initiative seeks to empower everyone willing to participate.
“Providing the Russian population with unrestricted information and news is the best way to help them understand what is happening in Russia. By offering this information, we aim to catalyze a movement in Russia that values living in a world with free media and freedom of speech,” adds Lev Gershenzon.
“As long as the internet remains a free, accessible space, we can help empower those wanting to combat misinformation and censorship. This method provides a tool where anyone can actively make a difference with minimal effort, helping to spread accurate information to those needing it,” says Anders Jessen, Technology Director and founder at Hello Monday/DEPT®.
Founding Partner, HELLO MONDAY/DEPT®