The first initiative out of Jigsaw, the think tank formerly known as Google Ideas, is an expansion of Project Shield. Announced in 2013, the tool helps prevent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks from taking a website offline.

Project Shield is now out of its invite-only beta period to offer free DDoS protection to news publications that apply for it. In particular, it is aimed at smaller news sites who do not have the resources to pay for costly protection against cyber attacks. However, it will also be open to any independent site that appears in Google News, including larger corporate publications.

The tool works by directing visitors through Google’s domain name servers which will filter out any malicious traffic. Google promises that the data it collects will only be used to learn more about the attacks and not for ad purposes. The raw data itself will be deleted after two weeks.

Jigsaw is framing Project Shield as an altruistic play. It believe that keeping sites up and running is an extension of Google’s core mission to make information available. For the company, it is a worthy use of their bandwidth capacity as DDoS attacks are increasingly used as a form of censorship, especially during elections. Since launch, Project Shield has protected a hundred websites that cover political news, humans rights, and election monitoring.

Publishers can go to the Project Shield site now to apply.

(Image via Wired)

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