Developers of the popular Signal secure messaging app have started to use Google’s domain as a front to hide traffic to their service and to sidestep blocking attempts.
Bypassing online censorship in countries where internet access is controlled by the government can be very hard for users. It typically requires the use of virtual private networking (VPN) services or complex solutions like Tor, which can be banned too.
Open Whisper Systems, the company that develops Signal — a free, open-source app — faced this problem recently when access to its service started being censored in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Some users reported that VPNs, Apple’s FaceTime and other voice-over-IP apps were also being blocked.