Jigsaw, a company of Alphabet holding company – which also owns Google – has launched free VPN software called “Outline” which allows people, groups, organizations or companies to create and manage their own Virtual Private Networks servers. In other words, the tool allows you to create your own VPN, as well as manage and control this service without the intermediary of third parties.
Technologies already exist that allow companies to create their own VPNs to encrypt all their users’ traffic over the internet, but these platforms are usually too complicated for the average user, requiring some IT specialist to do the setup. Outline, in turn, greatly facilitates the process and can be configured by people with little technical knowledge on the subject.
Another great advantage is that Outline allows VPNs to be created on user / company controlled physical servers or even on a reliable cloud computing platform such as Rackspace, Google Cloud Engine, Amazon EC2, and more. There is also a possibility to create a VPN on the servers of Digital Ocean, a cloud computing platform 100% integrated with Outline. In this case, the user can contract the service for 500 GB of traffic for $ 5 a month. On other cloud servers, you must first purchase the general application service and then install Outline.
But the ideal thing is to use this Jigsaw tool on your own server. Only then are you 100% sure that no one is spying on your internet connection. This is because, while a third-party VPN prevents your ISP or local government from spying on your connection, that service provider theoretically has the power to spy if it wants to. That’s why free VPNs may not be a good idea: while offering you the free service, the company behind it needs to make some profit, and most likely by selling user data.
Anyway, Outline was created to prevent just that. Putting control of a VPN in the hands of organizations or users who need it, the tool prevents third parties from intercepting sensitive information.
For journalists and activists
According to the Jigsaw Web site, Outline is designed especially for newspaper companies and activists who need to offer secure web communication to their professionals. Still, the software can be used by anyone or organization that has access to a properly configured web server, whether physical or cloud.
Jigsaw is a startup focused on preserving human rights, and Outline is a way to ensure journalists do their jobs without being censored by authoritarian governments. The software can even bypass China’s large firewall with a feature that randomly connects users to the VPN server, preventing the server from being easily found and blocked.
The tool is completely free and is already compatible with Windows (7 or later), Android (5.0 or later) and Chrome OS (64.0 or later). MacOS and iOS versions should be released in the coming weeks.
The Outline code is available for verification on GitHub and if you want to use the tool for free, just go to this site and check how to do it.