Introducing Surfly Labs: the Endless Possibilities of our Proxy Technology

When we launched Surfly, our goal was to make it very easy to share a browsing session with someone else. You can imagine our surprise when we suddenly we’re seeing a high number of sessions with an odd trait: no one else seemed to join their session. Most of these sessions were originating from Arabic countries and it took us some time before we understood the main reason behind it. After some research, it became clear to us that most of these users were actually using Surfly, not for the social aspect of sharing a session, but mainly to access the free internet. Not everybody has access to free, unpoliced internet and through Surfly they were able to bypass company or country specific rules that prevented net neutrality.

We live in a rapidly changing world, and while in 2016 the Obama administration pushed for net neutrality, things have taken a different turn in 2017. Only yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill allowing ISP’s to sell YOUR browsing history.  At Surfly we believe in a free and open internet where net citizens are allowed to protect their privacy.

Announcing: Surfly Labs

This is why we decided to launch Surfly Labs. Surfly’s co-browsing solution is built on top of our advanced content-rewriting proxy. We use this mainly to add some extra features to basic browsing so that an active web session can be easily shared with others. This approach, however, allows us to do a lot of different things that might not be immediately obvious. With these labs, we want to show proof of concept of what is possible with our technology. Some of our experiments are very closely related to the use case of co-browsing, and others will venture into completely different terrain. Some examples include:

  • Use the proxy-technology to implement an anonymous proxy
    • Allows you to hide your identity
    • Makes even non-https traffic secure
  • Add a BeyondCore, like Identity Aware Proxy, for *any* web application
    • Allow other users access to your account without sharing credentials
    • Add OAUTH layers to any web application
  • Enrich existing web applications (without the need for extensions)
    • Add a web-based tutorial for how to pimp your profile on Linkedin, shown ON Linkedin
    • Add missing functionality to other web applications
  • Convert regular web actions into a programmable transaction
    • Ensure another user completes an action on Facebook
  • Add tracking and auditing to a web session
    • For security, monitor all steps a user takes on your application
    • Log access
    • Change browsing behavior
    • Limit access to certain websites
    • Prevent ads and beacons from actually loading
    • Prevent XSS by using a strict whitelist of allowed domains


Our First Experiment

We are very excited about the possibilities our technology can offer and while we understand that some of the use cases are not our main goal or focus, we would love to learn how we or others can benefit from them. The amazing thing about an experiment is that the outcome is uncertain. It could create sparkling rainbows or just do nothing at all. This uncertainty is what makes it exciting, but it is also important to understand that things can go horribly wrong. The experiments in our labs are just that, experiments. In our first experiment, we’re going to do something relatively simple. We’re going to remove the ‘co-‘ from ‘co-browsing’.

By opening this up, we hope to provide you with a really easy way to access unrestricted internet. Please note that this by itself will not make you anonymous or allow you to browse the internet with complete privacy. There are more steps that need to be taken to achieve this. If there is enough interest we may venture into this in another experiment. Check out our first LAB experiment.