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Censorship Your Rights Online

Google Disappears In China 334

Posted by timothy
from the man-vs.-state dept.
An anonymous reader submits: "The censorship in China was finally getting better since people were 'allowed' to read the CNN news now (except for certain articles). But since this weekend it seems that a new web page has been censored in China. Since this weekend it looks like everyone in China is not 'allowed' to use google.com anymore. google.com was also gaining populairity in China as the better search engine (which also works fine in Chinese). But now I guess it got too popular and thus not allowed. Or does it have anything to do with Yahoo signing the agreement to censor?" Comments to yesterday's post "Real-Time Testing of China's Internet Filters" also noted that Google has gone missing within China.
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Google Disappears In China

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 02, 2002 @02:58AM (#4182766)
    That's what some people think [webmasterworld.com] anyway. Seems they've heavily de-emphasized Google in their searches, and in the past, they've used holiday weekends for similar switchovers. Time will tell...
  • p2p (Score:4, Interesting)

    by asv108 (141455) <alex@phatauTWAINdio.org minus author> on Monday September 02, 2002 @03:00AM (#4182772) Homepage Journal
    Maybe google labs can whip up a quick p2p client that will allow people to use google in places where it is blocked.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 02, 2002 @03:03AM (#4182778)
    Using the Google API, someone else could setup a Google gateway/proxy sort of thing. It could do searches, and even retrieve cached information on pages. And, the thing is, China would never know where one of these API gateways would pop-up. Only limiting factor would be the 1000 queries per day. I bet a billion Chinese can go through those in no time!
  • Google.cn? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 02, 2002 @03:05AM (#4182783)
    Why doesn't Google set up a bunch of servers operating within China, behind Chinese firewalls, so that Google cannot index or cache pages the government doesn't approve of?

    They could call it google.cn...
  • The Way Back Machine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ender-iii (161623) <adam@@@nullriver...com> on Monday September 02, 2002 @03:11AM (#4182808) Homepage
    Has China banned The Way Back Machine [archive.org] yet?
  • by ceeam (39911) on Monday September 02, 2002 @03:22AM (#4182839)
    I wonder who will ultimately win?
    Or better make it this way - for how long peer connections will be possible?
  • Not Rumors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Istealmymusic (573079) on Monday September 02, 2002 @03:24AM (#4182847) Homepage Journal
    Here's your reference [harvard.edu]:
    Starting testing...

    Stage one testing complete.
    Stage two testing complete.

    Testing complete for http://google.com/. Result:
    Reported as inaccessible in China

    Yam is accessible, and so is Yahoo.

    Too bad China overlooked Google proxies [soapclient.com]...they exist you know.

  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Monday September 02, 2002 @03:30AM (#4182856)
    The Real-Time Testing of Internet Filters in China is reporting conflicting results.

    In the recent results box:
    http://www.google.com - Reported as inaccessible in China
    http://www.google.com - Reported as accessible in China

    Tests were completed within a few minutes of each other (I know because I did them both).
  • by jukal (523582) on Monday September 02, 2002 @03:51AM (#4182912) Journal
    I don't like censorship. But I also don't like the fact that in the countries that allow free speech, the biggest megaphones are controlled by only a very small group of companies and individuals.

    Basicly, if the media wants, they can brainwash majority of people in believing anything they want.

    In the case of censorship, you know atleast, that you don't have access to unbiased information - and you know that if you want to create an unbiased opinion, you need to do it yourself.

    But, as we have free speech, it is easy to leave thinking to the media, and let someone else form your opinion. So, to some extent, I think that the fact that media is controlled by tiny interest groups, is maybe even a bigger threat than censorship.

  • by evbergen (31483) on Monday September 02, 2002 @04:18AM (#4182970) Homepage
    Ah, now I finally understand why there are so many open proxies in China and why I get so much spam through them!

    Interesting. If they're indeed left open for that reason, I'd almost change my opinion of the admins running them...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 02, 2002 @04:21AM (#4182976)
    Normally I don't post as A.C. but I don't want the Chinese to know what I'm up to because they might firewall my web site.

    I am helping a friend in China get set up to use Peekabooty [peekabooty.org].

    The way it works is basically that lots of people outside the firewall run proxy servers. People inside the firewall need to get Peekabooty's IP address list, and then they select a proxy to use. You can get the host.lst file from http://pabdb.cjb.net/ [cjb.net].

    Their web browsing is private because the connection to the proxy uses SSL encryption. The chinese will think you're shopping online. If they try to block the SSL port, then China will be unable to participate fully in the world economic system, increasingly so in the next few years.

    The problem is that if Peekabooty's website isn't already blocked, it certainly will be soon. To avoid stimulating the interest of the authorities, I am making arrangements for my friend and I to have an encrypted conversation where I will tell him what he needs to do.

    The peekabooty proxy runs on windows, but there is a linux port in progress. The people inside the firewall don't need to install any software, only configure their browser to use one of the SSL proxies.

    It would be helpful for people to mirror Peekabooty's documentation and the IP address list. Likely many of the mirrors won't be blocked and so the chinese (and the Singaporeans, and residents of many Muslim countries) can access the information.

    If you personally know anyone inside a firewalled country, do your part by helping them learn to use peekabooty. But find a way to arrange to tell them how while using encryption.

    Unfortunately, PGP messages are pretty obvious that they're encrypted. If someone starts sending and receiving them, the authorities might take notice even of that.

    But most web browsers nowadays support 128-bit SSL encryption. Thus it is possible to arrange to have a conversation with someone via SSL encrypted form submission.

    There doesn't appear to be a way right now to do this, but it is being worked on.

    In the meantime, mirroring the peekabooty instructions and proxy list and making the URL's available where the Chinese might pick them up will help get things started.

  • Re:Google.cn? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by raspubejo (569848) on Monday September 02, 2002 @04:43AM (#4183003)
    Well, they are businessmen enough to filter websites when they get enough pressure from government. try searching for www.stormfront.org on google.de, then on google.com. (This is just an example for googles censorship, I do not sympathise with this topic)
  • by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Monday September 02, 2002 @06:15AM (#4183129) Journal
    Actually, you're less-than-half right (well in the eyes of /. you have more karma). What I'm about to say was certainly more true with the USSR, but applies to PRN. As an American who has lived in China, I do have *some* authority in the matter.

    Both censorship *and* propaganda have the same problem, but censorship has it worse. The Soviets rewrote WWII to a noble East-West battle for example.

    China certainly hasn't gotten to this extent, but the idea that censorship forces you to form your own opinion is *ridiculous* since censorship, like propaganda, is a gov't tool to stop those opinions and control the masses. Opinions need facts; censorship stifles facts; hence, censorship (moreso than prop.) stops opinions.

    Your argument seems to hold water on /. but I think anyone with any knowledge would disagree. Doubting whether the PRC censors beyond the web? Ask a Chinese about Tibet.

    Finally, yes prop is rampant here in the US--it merely pales in comparison to the PRC.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 02, 2002 @06:45AM (#4183173)
    Strangely enough, while Amnesty International [amnesty.org] is blocked, Amnesty's Australian site [amnesty.org.au] isn't.
  • Re:Cache (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yasth (203461) on Monday September 02, 2002 @09:07AM (#4183509) Homepage Journal
    No I think China is far more worried about 'tibet' [getethical.com] or web searches for tibet [google.com] and etc.
  • by MediaBoy77 (469933) on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:04AM (#4183910)
    For the record, Slashdot [harvard.edu] does appear to be available through the Great Firewall:

    Starting testing...
    Stage one testing complete.
    Stage two testing complete.

    Testing complete for http://www.slashdot.org/.
    Result:
    Reported as accessible in China

  • by TheSync (5291) on Monday September 02, 2002 @11:35AM (#4184063) Journal
    Does the US currently have any plans for a "regime shift" over there?

    No - China, unlike Iraq, has already developed nuclear weapons.
  • by XSforMe (446716) on Monday September 02, 2002 @01:40PM (#4184627)

    Without guns you have NO way of overthrowing an oppressive regime.

    India's independance, Yugoslavia's revolution, Soviet Perestroika, fall of the berlin wall. Must I go on?

    Wielding a gun will only give them an excuse to masacre you. Do you think you can overpower any modern day army with a bunch of mercenaries and guns? Can you give me an example of a succesful armed revolution in the last 50 years?

    It seems to me that modern day revolutions are fought without guns. Armed conflict tends to end up in a stalemate of massive bloodshed (Ruanda). How much firepower would it require for you to take down the US government?

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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