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China Strangles Tor Ahead of National Day 297

Posted by timothy
from the not-so-much-into-liberty-y'see dept.
TechReviewAl writes "Technology Review reports that the Chinese government has for the first time targeted the Tor anonymity network. In the run-up to China's National Day celebrations, the government started targeting the sites used to distribute Tor addresses and the number of users inside China dropped from tens of thousands to near zero. The move is part of a broader trend that involves governments launching censorship crackdowns around key dates. The good news is that many Tor users quickly found a way around the attack, distributing 'bridge' addresses via IM and Twitter."
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China Strangles Tor Ahead of National Day

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  • Re:Surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @03:46PM (#29761375)

    It's actually quite interesting what Chinese goverment is capable of on technical terms. Most of the goverments are quite clueless when it comes to computer and internet stuff, but Chinese seem to be on the track always.

    Indeed. If the UK tried this, not only would it not work, it would somehow leak all the troop and ship locations to everyone in the world, along with Gordon Brown's gay lover's telephone number.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @03:49PM (#29761401) Journal

    There was just recently a slashdot article about Congress passing a law to allow them to monitor what passes through anonymous networks. Many of the EU states have similar capabilities. We look at China as an example of government censorship, but maybe we ought to look at our own homes as well.

  • Re:I love this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @03:50PM (#29761419) Homepage

    > I truly hope it stays that way.

      At "tens of thousands" of Tor users out of a population of over a billion? I'm sure the Chinese government agrees with you.

  • Re:Surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomeJoel (1061138) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @03:51PM (#29761431)

    It's actually quite interesting what Chinese goverment is capable of on technical terms. Most of the goverments are quite clueless when it comes to computer and internet stuff, but Chinese seem to be on the track always.

    The Chinese government is capable because unlike most countries, it has to be. For countries like the U.S., Japan, and most European countries, the citizens are fairly free to go about their business without fear of government reprisal. So, these countries simply don't care (nor do they need to care) about the best ways to shut off their citizens' freedoms.

    Other highly controlling countries, such as North Korea, have citizens who simply don't have access to these things to begin with, so there is no need to shut them off.

  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @03:54PM (#29761469) Journal

    If Japan's citizens did not want to be nuked, then they should have stopped their government from killing millions of Chinese, Filipinos, and other Asian neighbors. They started the killing; then they reaped what they had sowed.

    Do I feel sorry they Japanese had to die? Yes. Do I think there was any other choice? No. When someone points a gun at you, you don't hold up a target to help them aim better. You fire back.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:14PM (#29761713) Journal

    There was just recently a slashdot article about Congress passing a law to allow them to monitor what passes through anonymous networks.

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's about 50% child pornography, 25% copyright infringement, 15% trolling on sites that banned someone and 10% legitimate speech that has a valid need for anonymity. I ran a tor exit node for three days before I got curious enough to fire up wireshark and see what kind of traffic was passing through it. I shut it down after I discovered that the vast majority of it was child pornography being downloaded from servers in Eastern Europe.

  • go ahead china (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:15PM (#29761733) Homepage Journal

    joust at that hydra

    control freaks have at their psychological root a toxic amount of insecurity. the grumpy old men in beijing have to make sure society is "harmonious" even if that's nothing more than media shorthand for placid lies. the truth is often ugly, dissent is always ugly. but when you expose yourself to dissent and ugliness, you do nothing but strengthen your mind and your convictions and your bullshit detector. all china is doing with the massive amount of societal control is producing a generation of chinese minds that have nothing but cotton candy between the ears: unable to handle anything except the most stultifying of platitudes about the world and its nature, wilting at the slightest sign of trouble

    china is supposed to be emerging world power? when chinese raised in the hermetically sealed climate controlled media environment of modern china interact with their compatriots from india, brazil, japan, usa, germany... what are these dunderheads going to be like? when they encounter the slightest bit of provocation or contrasting opinion to the almighty sense of "harmony" what are their social skills for that resistance? censor? ignore? run away?

    a "harmonious society" seems nothing more to me than a way to ensure chinese minds in the generations to come are weak brittle minds incapable of understanding or processing criticism of any kind, because it's not "harmonious". "harmony": what a fucking bullshit codeword for "i'm insecure at the top, don't think anything that might make me feel threatened". this isn't about cultural differences, this is is about a colossal social weakness of modern china completely of chinese making, a society-wide achilles heel: "we can't handle criticism, cover your ears"

    enjoy your cottonheaded future china, so sorry for my dissent. you can just ignore, dismiss, and censor me. that's obviously the best way to handle these words. pffffffft

  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:19PM (#29761775) Journal

    Even if it's true that the Japanese only fought against other countries' militaries and avoided civilian deaths (it's not), it's irrelevant. When you go to war, you go to war completely. Which means you kill every man, woman, and child in your enemy's country.

    Don't want to do that? Don't go to war.

    Besides, we killed more Japanese civilians with conventional weapons in any one air raid than we did with Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. It wasn't the number of deaths that got the Emperor to take notice, it was the fact that we did it with just one bomb each time. The alternative was to invade the Japanese home islands, which, by conservative estimates, would've meant hundreds of thousands of dead Americans and millions of dead Japanese. Truman made the right call in dropping the bombs.

  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:21PM (#29761813) Journal

    So if you point a gun at me, I can hunt down and disintegrate your entire family tree?

    That's what total war is. Every resource of the nation-state is poured into the war effort. Every resource of the nation-state becomes a valid target.

    Take that to it's logical extreme: if a citizen of a foreign country kills someone in America, we have the right to nuke that person's homeland, because they started the killing.

    That's not the "logical conclusion". That's a straw man that you set up.

    It's a matter of intent, participation, and scale. It's ludicrous to assume that everyone in Japan supported the alliance with the Germans or even the war in general

    Why is that relevant?

    And don't forget we are talking about an action undertaken with full knowledge of the fact that it would kill hundreds of thousands of helpless civilians

    You mean after we gave them months of warnings that they should evacuate their cities?

    at a time when Japan's war machine was already decimated, and the allied forces were merely trying to force an official surrender so they could occupy a country which posed no further military threat.

    No further military threat? Ask the 12,500 dead Allied soldiers on Okinawa if the Japanese still posed a military threat. Ask the hundreds of thousands that were expected to die during Operation Downfall if they still posed a military threat. Then consider the alternative to invasion (continuing the economic blockade) and ask yourself how many millions of Japanese civilians would have starved to death.

  • by QCompson (675963) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:22PM (#29761815)
    So you're willing to dismiss the 10% of legitimate speech?
  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:26PM (#29761871) Journal

    >>>So if you point a gun at me, I can hunt down and disintegrate your entire family tree?

    If my family is building guns/bullets that I am using to kill-off your wife, your daughter, your parents, and so on...... then yes I think you have every right to stop them. If you can't find me, then you kill my suppliers so I don't have anything to fire.

  • Re:Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thrillseeker (518224) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:27PM (#29761887)
    The incarceration rate in Iran is very low - why just this week they executed a man for being gay rather than increase their incarceration rate to a level that might disturb you.
  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:33PM (#29761935)

    So... it's cool to hold Hiroshima (a 20th century massacre of civilians) against the US, but mention Nanking (a 20th century massacre against civilians) and suddenly we're in "no that was a loooooong time ago!!1!" territory, solely because it's Japan?

  • Re:Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QCompson (675963) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:37PM (#29761979)
    Way to avoid the question (and get modded up for it). Are you implying that the United States' high incarceration rate has no correlation with a lack of personal freedom or government control?
  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@@@gmail...com> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:38PM (#29761999) Homepage
    Every resource of the nation-state becomes a valid target.

    That's ridiculous; go read the Geneva Convention.
  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gnieboer (1272482) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @05:05PM (#29762421)

    "stop them" != "hunt down and disintegrate"

    According to LOAC, you could target their bullet-building factory (home?) and if they are inside, then that's tough luck. But you can't directly target them under current international law.
    If they tried building another factory/house, you (you are a country, right??) could occupy their territory, imposing martial law, and send to jail any non-combatants that aided the enemy. But you can't just shoot then w/o trial for making ammo them unless they become unlawful combatants (pick up a gun and shoot at you).

  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wtbname (926051) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @05:16PM (#29762641)

    Every resource of the nation-state becomes a valid target.

    That's ridiculous; go read the Geneva Convention.

    You are ridiculous.

    http://www.icrc.org/IHL.NSF/WebSign?ReadForm&id=375&ps=P [icrc.org]

    If you think that there are NO countries, signatories or not, that would violate the shit out of the Geneva Convention should it suit their purposes; you are more than ridiculous; you are criminally naive.

    It's a freaking piece of paper, and more useless than most.

  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @05:18PM (#29762673) Homepage Journal

    The US went to war when we where attacked that is true but the US was supporting China and England before Pearl Harbor.
    The US sold China the best fighters that the US had in service at the time the P-40, they where embargoing Japan for the war in China, and members of the US military where fighting in China as "Volunteers" as the Flying Tigers just like they where in England in the Eagle Squadron. Also a US Gunboat in China was attacked before Perl Harbor as well.
    As to the Filipinos the was a US territory at that time so yes the attack on the Philippians would have meant war just as the attack in Pearl Harbor did.
    Japan attacked the US because of our support of China and because we stood in the way it was the same war.
    But it is really funny
    Way too many people in the US think WWII started when Japan attacked Perl Harbor.
    Way too many people in Europe think WWII started when Germany invaded Poland.
    Some people think WWII started when Italy invaded Ethiopia.
    A lot of Chinese think it started when Japan invaded Mongolia I find this the second most valid.
    I think WWII started the day WWI ended or to be more accurate when the US listened to England and France and agreed to an unjust and unwise peace with Germany.

  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @06:11PM (#29763349)

    Hahahah

    Yea, thats like kids fighting on the school yard, the loser gets his ass kicked and then says 'you pulled my hair and threw sand in my eyes, you cheated, it doesn't count, it wasn't a fair fight' ... all the while you're being his bitch because he beat your ass.

    The Geneva Conventions results apply only when the guys who are winning want them too. If it breaks down to it, any attacked country is likely going to throw them out the window rather than get their asses kicked, well, except maybe France, but they roll over and play dead when the wind blows a little hard.

    What fantasy world do you live in? Treaties between nations tend to take a back seat when those nations are blowing the hell out of each other, regardless of whos signature is on some piece of paper in some other country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @07:01PM (#29763839)

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's about [...] 10% legitimate speech that has a valid need for anonymity.

    You're right, that IS going wildly out on a limb. I'd put that figure around 1% at an extreme maxima, really. I'm certain the spare 9% could easily go to the "trolling" part.

  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) * on Thursday October 15, 2009 @07:12PM (#29763971) Journal

    not like we did not warn [trumanlibrary.org] them [pbs.org]

    and the bomb was no worse then Japans [wikipedia.org] actions [wikipedia.org]

    Ah, the "our actions were no worse than their actions" argument. So what does that make us, and how does it justify it? I would say that it wasn't any better either. I don't see how one country's atrocity justifies another country's atrocity. Moral relativism, at its finest.

    We all agree that the Japanese did probably some of the most horrific shit any country could during WWII, but your argument implies that it was perfectly fine to nuke their civilians as well, most of whom had nothing to do with the atrocities in Nanking.

    By the way, if you read the wikipedia article you linked to, it says that the Japanese asked the Chinese to surrender [wikipedia.org] before the massacre, which they refused to do. That sounds similar to your "not like we did not warn them" argument.

    And it's wrong. It was wrong for the soldiers in Nanking to commit rape and murder on civilians (or anyone, for that matter), even though they warned them in advance. The prior warning shouldn't give a green light to do whatever you want to do.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @08:24PM (#29764547) Homepage

    Besides, we killed more Japanese civilians with conventional weapons in any one air raid than we did with Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. It wasn't the number of deaths that got the Emperor to take notice, it was the fact that we did it with just one bomb each time.

    Indeed.

    The alternative was to invade the Japanese home islands, which, by conservative estimates, would've meant hundreds of thousands of dead Americans and millions of dead Japanese. Truman made the right call in dropping the bombs.

    While that is the simplified history, it doesn't really represent the real choice that was being made.

    I once read a transcript of one of Truman's cabinet meetings shortly before the end of the war, when they were deliberating on what to do. It was actually a pretty fascinating read.

    While they were obviously considering every option, and the Department of War had drawn up detailed plans for a possible invasion (which is where the estimate above comes from) it's clear that Truman and his advisers were not seriously considering it at that point. They knew Japan was on the ropes and surrender was inevitable without needing to set foot on the island. With the Japanese navy serving as fish condos, there was nothing they could do to fight back or even feed themselves.

    The main options under discussion were:

    1 - Drop the bomb on multiple Japanese cities, multiple being important so as to suggest that we could continue doing so ad-infinitum rather than it being a one-off, forcing an unconditional surrender.

    2 - Drop the bombs in the ocean as a demonstration. The biggest concern here was that they would not be suitably impressed or think it was somehow a trick, and then we wouldn't have enough to implement option 1.

    3 - Wait for the Russians to get involved. Truman and his advisers were convinced that once Russia declared war, Japan would quickly surrender. The big problem here was that we wanted them to surrender just to us, not to the Russians. Cold War politics had already started to enter the picture, and we were "Allies" in name only.

    4 - Accept conditional surrender. The Japanese had already made an offer to surrender, but due to communication problems the actual terms of this surrender were unknown. Certainly anything that allowed the Japanese to wage war again was completely unacceptable. It turns out all they really wanted was to retain a ceremonial role for the Emperor to save face, something which General MacArthur wisely gave them anyway. But at the time of the discussion, they didn't know. In any case, it was decided that no matter what the terms, nothing less than complete unconditional surrender would do for the enemy who had initiated the war.

    Which is basically why the actual invasion was off the table. It was unnecessary in any event, and by the time it could have been implemented, Russia would have been involved and we would have been dealing with a joint surrender in any case.

    By the way, my point isn't to second guess Truman. It was a difficult decision with no good options as you say, and as another poster mentioned he wasn't really aware of the impact the bomb would have in terms of radiation sickness etc. I don't think anyone really understood. Neither is my point to say with the benefit of hindsight that it was the wrong decision. I can't speak for the Japanese, but I have to imagine they were better off surrendering to us than ending up with a North Japan/South Japan situation.

    My point is that the situation was much more complicated than the simple moral calculus implied by "drop the bombs and kill 200,000, or invade and kill millions". The real decision was not that clear-cut, and I think it dose a disservice both to the people who made it, and to ourselves in our efforts to learn from history, to pretend that it was.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @08:25PM (#29764553)

    I was posting in a Hong Kong (note: not the mainland) Linux user group forum the other day and advising someone to use dyndns.org. The string "dyndns.org" got filtered into ">>>

    I didn't know dyndns is a threat in HK.

    I don't think there's any government imposed censorship in Hong Kong, at least none that I know of.

    Maybe they thought you were spamming?

  • History (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:42PM (#29765049)

    The Japanese also used biological and chemical weapons (WMD classified in with nukes today) rather extensively on the populations in china, and also did a lot of pretty horrific experiments on live human prisoners, both civilian and military. And then you had your "normal" war crimes like mass executions, having sport and using prisoners for samurai sword practice, and other sorts of rather heinous conduct.

    They were so far into the "wrong" and "predatory" side of things that I still wonder why the allies allowed that nation to even exist after the war. They talk about honor, there was no honor there, just mass genocidal and racist and criminal conduct. They were lucky that only two nukes got used on them and that the allies were gracious enough to offer surrender terms *at all*. They sought and initially fought total war, if they had gotten their wish, there wouldn't be a single japanese alive today anywhere on the planet.

    Now, I personally don't hate the japanese people today, far from it, and I am neither a racist nor a xenophobe, but the above is still recent historical reality, recent enough that I still have living relatives, several, who fought in the Pacific theater, and they would have not shed a tear if back then 200 nukes had been used on japan, and they told me so when I was a young boy listening to them talk about their experiences and what they observed of "bushido" and what passed for japanese culture then, as seen on recovered japanese held but taken back islands. Sure, they fought hard, but for all the wrong reasons, then tried to cover up that flawed logic by claiming they were honorable.

    There is no honor in being a psychopath, neither as an individual nor as a nation, just because you have skills in being a mass killer. The US traded openly with japan, even well after the fact of their genocidal marches against other nations, hoping they would reconsider. Eventually, they just screwed up and tweaked the eagle a little too hard, and that was that, ass whomping time for them. They lost. They were wrong. They were lucky to have even a semblance of their culture left intact.

    And frankly, the ONLY reason they, and also Germany, WERE left intact, (because popular sentiment at the time was for continuation and expansion of total war and just eliminate those menaces from the planet for all time, never to happen again because they'd be mass gone), was to serve as an expendable throw away buffer in case of a rapid rise of world hot war 3 war between the west and the soviet union at the time.

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