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Censorship Your Rights Online

Great Firewall Becomes Greater 210

Posted by timothy
from the move-along-now dept.
Jay writes "This article on Yahoo! mentions China's new restrictions on websites as of September 1st. Apparently it's more advanced and doesn't censor the entire webpage, just portions. It also forwards requests for search engines, like google, to less effective search engines. They also mention that this might just be temporary during a Communist Party Congress. Anyone have a mirror?" A different AP article spins things slightly differently, emphasizing that Google is apparently no longer blocked in China and mentioning the selective blocking of web content only in passing.
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Great Firewall Becomes Greater

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  • by mekkab (133181)
    The wiley will find ways around it.
    The rest won't miss it.

    At least its stepping up the challenge for those who are wiley!

    (I think it's pretty devious that they aren't blocking google searches, just sending them to a less efficient search engine! ha!)
  • This won't last. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by big_oaf (560706)
    As any parent can tell you, telling your child not to look in the "forbidden closet of mystery" undoubtedly ends in your child doing the opposite. I think it's only a matter of time before the people of China put an end to the censorship.
  • anyone know of an open chinese proxy server so i can see for myself?
  • All it takes is one box being set up to mirror, or finding an unblocked box to route through...they're shooting themselves in the foot. For every major page they want to censor, there's a thousand more that aren't as prominent that will have the same political gist...
  • i live in china... i just tried this search here:

    link [google.com]

    and it gave me this list of links:

    link 1 [discovery.com]
    link 2 [about.com]
    link 3 [rr.com]

    man, they are good. guess i'll stay.
    • How insidious.

      "Why would you want to view these sites? They're all crap! Where's the content?"

      "Go back to your homes, read the newspapers we print for you and for Mao's Sake Don't get knocked up! We have enough people as it is. I repeat, DO NOT SCREW!"

    • Wow, you've been censored!

      I viewed the same link as you, and got these top 3 results:

      antiw*r.com "leave china alone"
      english.peopledaily.com.cn "foreign f***n g**g activists asked to leave"
      hyperm*rt.net "yankees leave china alone"
      And then some news articles about the North K*reans seeking asylum in China then moving to South K*rea.

      I starred out things above so hopefully the Great Firewall of China won't block this post and you can read it.

      I have a friend in China and we often ICQ each other to test the firewall and verify things he's researching, and we've ran into several surprising differences....
    • In case anyone thinks this poster really lives in China (moderators, I'm looking in your direction), note that our beloved Slashdot is on the blocklist [harvard.edu].
  • by jmu1 (183541)
    doesn't need information from any sort of "Internet". A good Communist can get his information from the nearest "People's Knowledge Station". Come on, get with the times man! Communism provides for all the needs of it's people.

    LOL, sorry, I just had to say that.

    • China is only communist by name. In reality, their economy is a mix between communism and capitalism, and they're on their way to convert even more things to capitalism. If you walk around in China, you'll be flooded by ads everywhere. Lots of people own small shops or companies.
      They might be even "more capitalist" than us. The shops and restaurants there don't hesitate to stay open all night if there are enough customers (so they can ear more money). I don't see West-European shops or restaurants do that, they close after 10 PM no matter how many customers.
      • The shops and restaurants there don't hesitate to stay open all night if there are enough customers (so they can ear more money). I don't see West-European shops or restaurants do that, they close after 10 PM no matter how many customers.

        24-hour businesses are quite common in America.

  • This is becoming like 1984, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength....
    • just wait till they implement newspeak [newspeakdictionary.com]
    • What is?

      There are 8 camaras on my 1 mile jorney two work, and i live in the country side.

      The UK governemnt is talking about killing people for the peace of the world.

      I can be free from the bondage of work, but I will probably die or be arrested if I take up the freedom.

      And look at the streangth gained by Ignorant voteing.

      China fits the Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength bit i suppose.

      But more in the
      'Religion is unpure thinking therefore we ban Religion, and save your neck by doing so.'

      'Greed is the greatest temptation so well stop you from knowing whats out there because you might just become tempted.'

      Oh and were all a bunch of power mungers must fit in there somewhere, but then thats the case with most countries.

    • by goldspider (445116)
      Is EVERYTHING "becoming like 1984"?? I know I speak for more people than just myself when I say that we are tired of everything being compared to 1984.

      I know that I'm going to be modded as a troll for not conforming to the masses yet again, but comon, at least be more imaginative than comparing every to 1984.

  • by poincaraux (114797) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @01:47PM (#4245912)
    Apparently it's more advanced and doesn't censor the entire webpage, just portions.


    Actually, the Yahoo article says that it blocks portions of websites rather than whole websites. Blocking parts of individual webpages would be a bit tougher :).
    • Mao: "We have a population problem. Economic incentives to single child families and forced abortions to women carrying a second child are not enough."

      Sung: "Well, we do have a monopoly on the world's Chinese women. Do you have any idea how many men world wide fantasize about them? They're HOT!"

      Mao: "That's it! We'll get the men to fantasize about non Chinese women! We'll replace all the porn sites with sites advocating sex wit women most of our population will never meet! They'll lose interest in sex and spend their time working!"

      Sung: "Brilliant! Get right on it!"

      Mao: "You mean I have to implement it?"

      Sung: "Or be hung for treason."

      Mao: "Tech suppot!"

    • Actually, the Yahoo article says that it blocks portions of websites rather than whole websites. Blocking parts of individual webpages would be a bit tougher :).

      I don't think it would be all too difficult to block only parts of pages actually, unless you are using SSL encryption or the like in which case it is basically impossible

  • I suppose the Chinese government dedicated little effort to alerting users of a modification. This is an ideal method by which to distribute propaganda. ;)
  • "A different AP article spins things slightly differently, emphasizing that Google is apparently no longer blocked in China and mentioning the selective blocking of web content only in passing."

    Those AP people aren't dumb. That first story is likely to be censored by The Great Firewall, whereas this second article might be aimed at actually reaching our Chinese friends.

    --

    Custom Computer Systems for Discerning Tastes [crushpc.com]

  • The party loosens restrictions in order to draw out the people with "reactionary" tendencies.
  • by rjnagle (122374) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @02:00PM (#4245979) Homepage
    Sites that link to controversial Chinese sites. don't necessarily promote these idealogies; they are merely acknowledging their controversial nature. It reminds me a little of the Monty Python sketch about the world's funniest joke [montypython.net], and anyone who heard or viewed the joke would die of laughter. The premise of censorship is that offensive content contaminates the hearts and minds of people. But you can only have censorship if someone can judge content without himself being contaminated. This contradicts the premise of censorship, which alleges that these contaminating powers exist inherently in the offensive material. On the other hand, if a censor can censor without being contaminated, that implies that offensive content does not automatically contaminate the mind or heart of a person. In that case, you would be admitting that censorship is unnecessary. That is the contradiction of censorship.

    Test China's Firewall [imaginaryplanet.net]
    • "don't necessarily promote these idealogies; they are merely acknowledging their controversial nature."

      Does that make it somehow less evil???

      Tiananmen, April-June 1989 [christusrex.org]
    • Hmm...A very interesting analysis. I've always taken a slightly differnt view on censorship. Censorship has always seemed to me to be used in the guise of the "learned/elite/politically powerful" protectecting the "unlearned/peasant/politically unsophisticated." However, taking your comments into account it would seem that there may acutally be two kinds of censor ship: anti corruption censorship and anti deception censorship.

      Anti corruption would be the idea expressed by the original post that someone has to protect you from certain material so that you will not be corrupted. This would imply there is something inherrantly bad about the material itself. [see the orignal post for why this argument fails.] On the other hand anti deception censorship would say that people are trying to deceive you with bad information (after all how could *ism possibly be better than what we have?). The purpose of censoship under this scenario would be to sort out and censor the "bad" information. Many reasons can be presented for why quashing the views that you don't agree with is a bad idea and exhaustive listing of these is left as an excercise for the reader.

      I will however say that determining what is good and bad can be very difficult. To often we as human beings, lack the wisdom to distinguish closely spaced lines of white and black. Instead we see gray. If one cannot distinguish between the good and the bad is it right to choose good and bad for someone else? Times also change. What was once good has now fallen out favor. Likewise activities and philosophies that were once thought to be bad are now accepted. Times change and the only way to change with the times is to have an open dialog and an open mind.

      The preceding words are my ramblings...
  • As soon as the NY Times covers it [nytimes.com] (on a day with half the heads of state in the world in NYC), China backs down [nytimes.com].

    Now if we can just get them to recognize that the legitimate government of China sits in Taipei....

  • it would be nice to know what they censor.
    is it pedoporn, or articles like "how to build an atomic bomb using a peace of wood and some salt" or is it *useful* information?

    i think this matters.
    • its more like articles on how comunism doesnt work or, how great democracy is, also ways to leave china, anything that doesnt agree with the relegion of the goverment, anything bad about china, ect. the great wall was ment to not only keep out the mongules(?spelling) but to keep in the chinese and keep out any outside influance that may couse cival uprest, china has become a little more open over the years, such as allowing people from the outside to enter china (as long as you dont do anything that makes china look bad) and setting up an internet to the outside world (as long as they do not look at anything that makes china look bad)
  • Are you tellin me there is NO way for them to connect to an external (out of china) proxy that they could use for browsing? Or does it filter content as it comes in (jsut ssl)?
  • wouldn't it be great to be the sys admin in charge of that firewall? u could smuggle in packets of data for a price. hehehe btw, i saw a mirror that just took google and reversed everything. you enter in reversed words to search and get back reversed results. anyone know that link?
  • With all of the effort they're putting into building this, and all the effort being put into defeating it (which they should learn from), I can see the PRC becoming the world's leading firewall vendor.
  • The Real-Time Testing of Internet Filtering in China site: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/filtering/china/test/ go.asp?URL=http://www.google.com reports that it's still blocked. A glitch in the Great Wall? A glitch in the real-time tester? =P
  • by toupsie (88295) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @02:20PM (#4246148) Homepage
    Now, if only the Chinese Government would prevent e-mail from escaping their country, about 75% of the SPAM I receive every day would disapear.
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @02:25PM (#4246191) Homepage Journal
    This article [weeklystandard.com] is a sickening insight into how corporate greed in the U.S. made it possible for China to filter the network and even catch and arrest dissidents.

    To force compliance with government objectives--to ensure that all pipes lead back to Rome--they needed the networking superpower, Cisco, to standardize the Chinese Internet and equip it with firewalls on a national scale. According to the Chinese engineer, Cisco came through, developing a router device, integrator, and firewall box specially designed for the government's telecom monopoly. At approximately $20,000 a box, China Telecom "bought many thousands" and IBM arranged for the "high-end" financing. Michael confirms: "Cisco made a killing. They are everywhere."


    And Cisco is not the only U.S. company in Beijing's pocket. Let's not forget our friends at Yahoo!

    Chinese xenophobia has led many other U.S. companies to play similar games, but Yahoo! was particularly eager to please. All Chinese chat rooms or discussion groups have a "big mama," a supervisor for a team of censors who wipe out politically incorrect comments in real time. Yahoo! handles things differently. If in the midst of a discussion you type, "We should have nationwide multiparty elections in China!!" no one else will react to your comment. How could they? It appears on your screen, but only you and Yahoo!'s big mama actually see your thought crime. After intercepting it and preventing its transmission, Mother Yahoo! then solicitously generates a friendly e-mail suggesting that you cool your rhetoric--censorship, but with a New Age nod to self-esteem.


    This is a sad reminder of how large American companies have abandoned the idea of corporate ethics. The Chinese government is probably arresting, and maybe executing, pro-democracy advocates based on the work of companies like Cisco and Yahoo!. The U.S. government should prosecute the bastards at Cisco and Yahoo! responsible for providing these tools to the Chinese government.
    • That's because fucking capitalists have only commerce as a value. They don't really care about freedom or democracy except as defined by the ability to buy elected officials.

      Boeing sold missle technology to the Chinese, too. If the AK-47 wasn't such a great rifle, I'd bet that Colt would sell them M-16s too.

      Wasn't it Kruschev who said that the capitalists would sell the communists the rope they'd hang them with?

      It's all true.
    • That's a huge load of horse shit.

      1. "Greed" made the rest of the world what it is, thank you. You wouldn't be typing away on a dirt cheap computer on a cheap Net connection if not for "greed", so quit your mindless kneejerking.

      2. So then, every gun manufacturer should be sued for the people who use 'em to kill people? Car manufacturers should be sued for people who drive drunk? Baseball bat companies should be sued for people who buy their bats to bludgeon somebody to death? You're a fucking clueless moron. China's not the problem, here, not Cisco.

      Ass.
      • "Greed" made the rest of the world what it is, thank you


        Indeed. And that's a pretty damning indictment, given the current state of the rest of the world.


        So then, every gun manufacturer should be sued for the people who use 'em to kill people?


        If Mister Bad Guy goes up to Mister Gun Dealer and says "I need a gun with special poison-tipped bullets, so that I'll be sure to kill the President when I do my assassination attempt tomorrow", and Mister Gun Dealer designs, manufactures, and sells such a gun to Mister Bad Guy, then YES, Mister Gun Dealer is a knowing accomplice to the misdeed and should be punished.


        Cisco designed, manufactured, and sold a custom firewall for the Chinese government, and cannot plausibley deny that they knew what the Chinese government was going to use it for. If mass censorship is a crime, then Cisco is just as guilty as the Chinese government is.

      • You're a fucking clueless moron.

        If you could find someone willing to fuck you, you would be a "fucking, clueless moron." Unless you've found a woman of incredibly low standards, you're only batting two out of three.

        China's not the problem, here, not Cisco.

        Bullshit. It's assholes like you that are the problem. Anything for a buck. If Al Qaeda wants to buy guns, ammo, and the components to make chemical and biological weapons, some greedy dick like you will sell the items to them and then disclaim all responsibility. If you thought that there was a market among pedophiles for crotchless panties in children's sizes, you'd be selling them. In fact, you probably just read that and thought it sounded like a great business plan.

        Some of us have ethics. Don't get pissed off at us just because we have something you don't.

        Ass

        Well at least you signed your posting.
    • by sielwolf (246764) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @05:15PM (#4247331) Homepage Journal
      The U.S. government should prosecute the bastards at Cisco and Yahoo! responsible for providing these tools to the Chinese government.


      Jesus. I'm glad you would like to live in a world where you have to do what the government considers right in addition to not doing what it thinks is wrong.

      So where is this government? The one that is purely good and righteous? And unfallable?

      And how paranoid do you have to be? If you had supplied sandwiches to the vending companies that filled Enron's stomachs, should you too be arrested? Or should a housewife be arrested for enabling her husband's drinking? How far does the blame go? Those that you see as at fault?

      In law the blame falls squarely on those who perpetrate the act. It is only rare laws that blame accessories and enablers. To institute a web of blame and guilt is foolish... unless you are trying to build some sort of fascist thought state.
      • If you had supplied sandwiches to the vending companies that filled Enron's stomachs, should you too be arrested?

        To use an example by another poster, this is much more like someone coming into a gun store and asking for a gun and ammo to be used to assasinate the President -- and the gun store supplying the items. Cisco was not some innocent party. They knew full well that their customer wanted the equipment to help them suppress, hunt-down, jail, and maybe even execute pro-democracy advocates.

        unless you are trying to build some sort of fascist thought state.

        That's exactly what the Chinese government is doing -- with the help of Cisco, Yahoo!, and other U.S. firms.
        • help them suppress, hunt-down, jail, and maybe even execute pro-democracy advocates

          Are these crimes in China?

          Yes.

          Are they morally and ethically wrong? ...

          You seem to think that ethics is a cut and dry matter. Simple binary. Democracy: 1. Communist-Dictatorship: 0.

          But it is not. Even something that seems so "obvious"... such as democracy or the death penalty. Ethics is (surprise) subjective.

          So why do we have governments? To think about these things and to create a world we like.

          The problem? Not all people think the same. And neither do their governments.

          Corporations, OTOH, are not here to act as an ethical mouthpiece. They are here to employ citizens, make money, and follow the government's rules.

          But which governments? For a multinational: the one on which its current building is sitting. The Cisco offices in Beijing are not a diplomatic embassy.

          If the Krupp offices in the US started going out and executing Jews in America during 1939 they couldn't just say "Hey, we do this in Germany all the time!"

          By your viewpoint, this would be perfectly logical.
          • Corporations, OTOH, are not here to act as an ethical mouthpiece. They are here to employ citizens, make money, and follow the government's rules.

            Your arguments are just a thinly veiled excuse for why corporations should feel free to do anything they like to make a buck. Don't think about what you are doing. If it's not explicitly illegal, just do it.

            Ethics is (surprise) subjective.

            Ethics is not nearly so subjective as you claim. If it was, colleges could not teach courses in "business ethics." The courses would all be over in one day with the summary "do whatever you can to make money because ethics is subjective."

            I don't need my government to tell me that it is morally wrong to help foreign governments track down, arrest, and kill people for expressing their beliefs. I have a moral compass. I know right from wrong. So do the people running Cisco and Yahoo!. They simply choose to let their corporate greed outweigh their sense of decency.

            If the Krupp offices in the US started going out and executing Jews in America during 1939 they couldn't just say "Hey, we do this in Germany all the time!"

            By your "logic", Krupp in Germany did nothing wrong when they used Jews as slave labor, starving them and working them to exhaustion, and finally sending them off to be killed in the gas chambers when they could work no longer. After all, this was legal and "ethics is (surprise) subjective." Krupp certainly followed your definition of what a business should do: "They are here to employ citizens, make money, and follow the government's rules."

            What's it like going through life with no sense of right or wrong?
  • It's true really...
  • Can't get Google?

    Try the recently released Googlemail
    http://www.capescience.com/google/index.shtml [capescience.com]

    send an e-mail to: google@capeclear.com [mailto]with your query in the subject line.

    Of course, google cache is probably not accessible
  • Advanced (Score:4, Funny)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @03:04PM (#4246529) Journal
    You all might think that china is far behind civilization with their censorship of the internet/free speech, but in fact you couldn't be further from the truth. They are actually years ahead of us all!

    Just remember, in a few years time when DRM is mandatory and free speech is crippled by 'national security' and the need for everyone to be protected from alternative ideas, china will be leading the way in firewalls, and filters, and they'll be teaching _Cisco_ how to do it :)
  • by nagora (177841) on Thursday September 12, 2002 @03:54PM (#4246885)
    Over there, look: commies abusing human rights, they've got weapons of mass destruction, they've invaded their peaceful neighbour, Tibet, and they're in breach of UN resolutions. I guess we're going to have to send the troops in and kick their ass!

    What's that you say, Mr Bush? No, I don't think Tibet has any oil. Why do you ask?

    Hello? Hello? Mr Bush?

    TWW

  • Obviously some geeks are helping the government out in implementing this, no? The selective blocking software is non-trivial. What are those guys thinking? How can you be part of the technology sector and still help limit people's access to it? Do these guys realize that they're going to Geek Hell?
    • Nah - it's just limiting the competition. Think of it. . . those Geeks are securing their position in the global economy by shutting down the internet to billions and billions of potential sysadmins, network technicians, computer programmers. . .

      Or not. Hell, I just wanted to say billions and billions.

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