A Toronto-based company has developed a way for major media companies and individuals to sneak images through China's powerful Internet firewall - and just in time for this month's Olympic games.Psiphon Inc. has released an upgrade to its circumvention technology software that allows the safe transmission of images. The company's earlier version allowed text through, as Rafal Rohozinski, principal at Psiphon points out, pictures are more powerful than words."Psiphon 2.0 is optimized for the delivery of multimedia content. It's now possible to access YouTube, Gvideo and other sites that previously required the re-translation of codecs. In fact, in some of the tests we've conducted, it can actually stream video faster than YouTube," he tells Canadian New Media.Psiphon is a spin off from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, a human rights organization that works to open Internet access to residents of countries with repressive governments by building anti-censorship technology.With this newer software, the company is targeting large-scale broadcasters and other corporate entities that want to ensure their content is accessible anywhere in the world. "Public broadcasters such as the BBC and Voice of America who have a mission to broadcast content not just nationally but internationally are investing heavily in online strategies as they're replacing their previous terrestrial and satellite strategies," he says.Interest in circumvention technology is high, as many media companies scramble to find a solution that will allow them to cover the Olympics without filtering. Rohozinski says the company is in advanced stages of negotiations with three major media companies, but no announcements can be made until the Olympics are over to avoid alerting Chinese authorities.Psiphon's individual freeware version has also been optimized for video, and will continue to be available, he says. "In fact, that's why we created a corporate version. Our transition to a for-profit entity is underway. We wanted to create a revenue stream to allow us to perpetually fund the work of the Citizen Lab."With the freeware version of Psiphon, dissidents can appeal to friends, families and human rights organizations outside of their censoring countries to download the software that provides them with a trusted proxy IP address, or Psiphonode, to safely receive and transmit content. With the enterprise version, the safe IP addresses are provided and managed entirely by Psiphon.There's a permanent call out to add new members to the Psiphon community, says Rohozinski. About 200,000 downloads of the software have been made to date, and about 5,000 new ones are added monthly."Since each node supports about 10-100 users within censoring countries, the total number of users is exponentially higher."Although Chinese authorities will likely loosen restrictions on Western journalists during the Olympics, they've nevertheless put in place the most advanced, pervasive surveillance system in the world in anticipation of the event, he says. "We fear that although there's much interest in the West about surveillance now, it will fade afterwards, and China's Golden Shield will look more like a golden prison."Many countries are already starting to use next-generation censorship tactics, he warns. To combat this, Psiphon has joined forces in a project with The SecDev Group, an operational think tank comprised of practitioners, scholars and former policy-makers working on issues of security and development.