Googleâ€™s decision to challenge the Chinese government on their censorship policy is a bold one. It remains to be seen whether it will end up doing more harm or good. In the mean time, there is at least one thing that ordinary computer users can do in order to fight censorship around the world: set up a TOR relay. TOR is a project that allows for anonymous internet browsing through a system called onion routing. It is maintained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
By setting up a relay, you allow people whose internet access is censored by their governments to access sites that would otherwise be blocked; you also facilitate important democratic processes, such as the actions of whistleblowers. The process of installation is relatively simple, and you can easily cap how much of your bandwidth is given over to the TOR network. By sharing a bit of your bandwidth, you could be helping out human rights activists in China or Myanmar, or just helping some ordinary computer user circumvent annoying restrictions imposed from above. Systems like TOR help the internet to retain some of its vast potential, even in the face of fearful governments that want to control it or shut it down.
One thing to watch out for is that acting as a webserver may be forbidden by your internet service provider (ISP). I checked with mine (TekSavvy), and they have no objections to customers running any kind of webserver, provided they stay within their bandwidth limits.
People interested in this sort of thing may also want to learn about Project Honeypot – a distributed mechanism for fighting spammers.