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Twitter Developing Technology To Thwart Censorship 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the unblockable-force dept.
SHMG writes "Micro-blogging site Twitter is developing technology that will prevent government censorship, after Iran and China moved to censor its users. Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Twitter CEO and co-founder Evan Williams said the company was working on 'hacks' to stop any blocking by foreign governments. 'We are partially blocked in China and other places and we were in Iran as well,' he said. 'The most productive way to fight that is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about.'"
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Twitter Developing Technology To Thwart Censorship

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:50PM (#30928588)

    Whenever there was a coup attempt going on in the USSR, the first place to get invaded by supporters of the coup the was the broadcasters, and then they had to get to the newspaper before it published the next issue. If they win over the media, they were effectively in power. If the media reports there's a coup in progress, then that would scramble the defenders of the existing rulers and it would fail. If the media reports the coup was successful, then whoever was reported to be the leader effectively had power.

    This is why governments like Iran and China want to control all forms of communications. If people can organize in a way the government can't easily listen in on or censor, then the government is going to fail. As we have seen, a government doesn't need to be good at helping its people as long as its good at controlling them. Squash your opposing people, and you've got an easy time governing the rest.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I hear what you are saying, and it all makes sense... ... It just feels like, as of late, people are a lot more complacent when it comes to challenging the power of their government. This isn't just a U.S.A phenomenon, it feels like it is a worldwide issue.

      Maybe, however, I'm just not tapped into this decade's "resistance for freedom" movements. But, once upon a time, it felt like real individuals could set examples of government defiance and cause the waves of change to splash. A simple refusal to stand

      • I hear what you are saying, and it all makes sense... ... It just feels like, as of late, people are a lot more complacent when it comes to challenging the power of their government. This isn't just a U.S.A phenomenon, it feels like it is a worldwide issue.

        Maybe, however, I'm just not tapped into this decade's "resistance for freedom" movements. But, once upon a time, it felt like real individuals could set examples of government defiance and cause the waves of change to splash. A simple refusal to stand up from a bus seat. A brave individual facing down a tank. A monk giving his life in the most painful of ways to let people know what he is fighting for. A person calling their representatives non-stop on an issue that is important to them. Thousands of people marching to let their voices be heard. There are tons of examples. It just doesn't feel like people really care anymore.

        Oh well.

        I do care and I do love you. There is someone like me out there that cares despite all the bolllocks. S/SGT 42 commando Devon

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by icebraining (1313345)

        Really? Monks under siege in monasteries as protest ends in a hail of gunfire [timesonline.co.uk]

        Or:

        Front Line was pleased to receive confirmation today that human rights defender Aminatou Haidar has finally been allowed to return home to her family after 32 days on hunger strike. According to BBC sources Ms Haidar was able to speak to members of the media before boarding the flight. "This is a triumph for international law, for human rights, for international justice and for the cause of the Western Sahara" said Ms Haidar.

        htt [frontlinedefenders.org]

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by hellop2 (1271166)
          "Witnesses described violent clashes between monks and police on the outskirts of Lhasa on Monday afternoon and reported hearing as many as 60 gunshots as troops forced the monks to return to their quarters early yesterday."

          "They said that about 60 monks from Drepung monastery were detained".

          I wonder if "detained" means, "never heard from again."

          “It’s really nothing. Everything is great,” said the Tibetan Governor.


          Sometimes, you're glad you live in America. Since we're talki
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      woah woah woah woah....

      This is totally blowing my mind here. I'm very impressed with your post, and with the content. You even took it so far as to mask your message. But I've totally found it!

      It's so obvious, he sets the stage, but the second word after the first comma is a dead giveaway. Follow that up with the description of how you "stop" the media, which is a clever anagram...

      You almost got me!

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You could have just said "In Soviet Russia, government selects you."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Strange, I lived in USSR and I can not recall a single coup except of revolutions of 1905 and 1917. But those were in Russian Empire, not USSR. Are you inventing a history to support your point?

      • I can not recall a single coup except of revolutions of 1905 and 1917

        Shouldn't you be gumming your yogurt, grandpa?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LostCluster (625375) *
        You watched the censored media in the USSR. There were frequent reports of coup attempts in the 80s/90s in the form of attacks in attempt to take over the broadcasters reported on by the American media... you wouldn't have heard about it there, because the government controlled the media.
        • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:34PM (#30928956)

          Aren't you implicitly trusting that the news you were presented by the American media during the Cold War wasn't designed to manipulate your opinions of the Soviet government?

          Consider how today's American media presents the Chinese government. Who is it actually being mind-controlled?

          • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:41PM (#30929000)
            American news is the best you can get in the world. Woodward and Bernstein were able to publish news so scandalous it forced Nixon to resign. Does any other government allow that?
            • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:51PM (#30929034)

              No, you're right. America is the Land of the Free(TM)! What was I thinking?

              USA! USA! USA!

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              All european newspapers... And if you'd ever read any of them, you'd laugh at FOX news for the rest of your life...

              • Well I'm not so sure. There was never any risk of any of the journalism about the Iraq war bringing down the government in the UK for example. The UK has libel laws that protect the rich and famous and most journalists stick to reporting gossip about the government rather than actually trying to prove wrongdoing like Woodward and Bernstein.

                I'm not saying that there's some sort of arrangement - most UK journalists truly hate most UK governments. Labour was popular with them in 1997 but has not been since bef

              • by c_forq (924234)
                Seriously? I mean, really? You know Rupert Murdoch owns papers and news channels in Europe too, right?
              • by rvw (755107)

                All european newspapers... And if you'd ever read any of them, you'd laugh at FOX news for the rest of your life...

                Except for Italy, which has state-owned media, or is it the other way around?

            • by grcumb (781340) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:22PM (#30929206) Homepage Journal

              American news is the best you can get in the world. Woodward and Bernstein were able to publish news so scandalous it forced Nixon to resign. Does any other government allow that?

              Uh, yeah:

              • Keith Murdoch [wikipedia.org] (ironically, Rupert Murdoch's father) broke the story of the Gallipoli debacle. It was the first public sign that WWI was anything other than a noble fight without terrible consequences.
              • E. D. Morel [wikipedia.org], who broke the story of atrocities in the Belgian Congo, as well as breaking the story that Great Britain and other allied nations had signed secret treaties that led to World War One.
              • William Russell [wikipedia.org], whose descriptions of conditions during the Crimean War not only brought down a government, but led to fundamental changes in patient care in modern warfare.

              Journalism has been a dirty business from the get-go, but for as long as there have been newspapers, there have been intrepid reporters who actually care about the truth and made a difference when they told it.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Hal_Porter (817932)

                Most of the time it's not a problem of what governments allow, it's a problem of that sells papers. Gossip does, Watergate style involved reporting does not.

                • by krou (1027572)
                  Well, you're kind of right, but it's not really about selling newspapers. The newspaper business has never really been about just selling newspapers. They're in the business of selling readers to advertisers. So the real problem is that newspapers don't want to publish things that risks them losing an advertiser, be that because they're losing readership (and therefore they have less product to sell to advertisers), or because the advertiser really didn't like the story and will threaten to pull out.
              • In Queensland, Australia, a journalist (Phil Dickie) sparked a 2-year inquiry (the Fitzgerald Inquiry) into Queensland Police corruption. The Premier resigned and the Police Commissioner was jailed and stripped of his knighthood.
            • Yes, I'm sure the Chinese would allow you to publish a story so scandalous it could force Hillary... er Obama to resign.

              • The standard I was setting was a story that would allow the local leader to be in trouble.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  Two things:

                  First, it was a joke

                  Second, it doesn't matter where you are. The ruling party is more than happy to throw a member(Nixon) or two under the bus as an exercise in theatrics to maintain its power. The Chinese put to death officials who get caught. And will be on the first page. Nixon drew a nice retirement package. The power structure remains intact. A triumph indeed.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Monsuco (998964)

                    Nixon drew a nice retirement package. The power structure remains intact. A triumph indeed.

                    Yes, a triamph indeed. Nixon abused his powers and a free press caught him. He was forced to resign and there was a peaceful transfer of power. As an ex-President he did more than just "draw a nice retirement package", he would go on to do a great deal to ease US relations with the USSR and China serving as something of a negotiator. In fact he was considered one of the most respected foreign policy experts in the world. He also was a prominent speaker at universities, but ironically unlike most ex-Presiden

            • by gilgongo (57446)

              American news is the best you can get in the world. Woodward and Bernstein were able to publish news so scandalous it forced Nixon to resign. Does any other government allow that?

              It was a mistake. Governments learned their lesson so Watergate won't happen again. Just ask the boys and girls down in Mexico talking (in secret) about ACTA.

              • You must have missed last night's episode of Countdown with Kieth Olbermann... there's been reports of active Republican campaigners requesting and getting the assignment to fix a phone line inside a Democratic Party office. Here we go again....

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ydrol (626558)

              Just about most countries in the Free world. But you wouldn't know about that would you? Sigh.

          • by Monsuco (998964)

            Consider how today's American media presents the Chinese government. Who is it actually being mind-controlled?

            Are you fucking serious? Are you really descending to the moral relativism of comparing the media outlets of a country with a state-run press to one where the media has a long history of exposing scandals and bucking the system. American media has its problems, but it certainly is better than any demonstrated alternative.

        • by asaz989 (901134)
          Citation needed (for these supposed coup attempts). Only one I recall is the '91 one, and one case (a rather uncharacteristic one, seeing as it was the death knell of the Soviet state) doesn't give someone license to go ranting about "every time a coup was attempted in the USSR..."
          • 1991's was the Russian coup that brought down the USSR... but when the USSR was in its aquiring phase each place they took over had a similar overthrow of the sitting government.
            • by asaz989 (901134)

              I believe those are called "invasions", not "coups". (yes, for places like Ukraine and the South Caucasus too. The Soviet expansion into those areas generally involved the Red Army going in and overthrowing whatever short-lived government and army had been established in those areas in the meantime). In those invasions there were some other actions taken that just may have been a bit more important than taking over the media: killing off the existing governments, martial law, etc. Yes, they took over the me

        • by Tim C (15259)

          Unlike in the West, where the media controls the government. (Just think how many laws have been passed or other political decisions made because of media pressure, or how it would have been portrayed in the media...)

      • Apparently the coupsters did not succeed at taking the news media...

      • I can recall one apart from 1905 & 1917 - the attempted coup in 1991 (the August Coup). It was extensively reported in Australia.

        How many others there were I don't know.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:23PM (#30929220) Journal

      Governments like Iran and China aren't the only ones who want to control all forms of communications. The US Government squashed numerous stories relating to the War on Terror by either asking news organizations not to publish or by claiming national security and telling them not to publish. The telecom spying scandal is the first example that comes to mind.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        There is a curioius facet to freedom of the press in America, which may seem counter-intuitive.

        Basically, the US government cannot prevent a newspaper from publishing a news story, regardless of what the consequences of such a story may mean. For example, say some intrepid embedded reporter manages to get ahold of planned troop movements for an upcoming mission of extreme sensitivity, and the intrepid reporter wants to publish those troop movements before they are to happen. In that case, the military can

      • "War on terror" followed 9/11 in a time when everybody, media included, trusted the government much more than usual or that they should. Basically, NATO was ready to attack any nation we pointed at. However, Bush waited too long before pointing at Iraq, and the weakness and unsoundness of the reasons why destroyed that trust.

      • I just hate this line of argument, which is unfortunately too common.

        Article on how HIV/Aids is a big problem in Africa.
        HIV is a big problem in the US too.

        1. -- Insert significantly affected country here. --
        2. Insert _relatively_ marginally affected country here.
        3. Claim the situation is very similar, and hence the article to be moot.
        4. Profit!!

        In China, every day broadcasters are summoned by a Govt. agency to tell them what can be published, or should be taken off. This includes even cultural news, enterta

      • by sp3d2orbit (81173) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:17AM (#30929858)

        There is no comparison between US censorship and Chinese or Iranian. If there was Jon Stewart would be dead.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by oreaq (817314)
          The existence of Jon Stewart only show that the methods of controlling the unwashed masses are far more sophisticated in the free world than they are in these backwards communist countries. Political satire is just a valve for all the frustration and anger that oppressive and lying governments cause thus keeping the system stable. Why do you think the king's jester was aloud to make jokes about the king?
    • Oh yes, I do and If the USA and other countries started to be more compassionate. We can quit this nonsense regarding Iran being part of an axis of Evil. That fucking money Oil grabber Bourne again Christian "George W Bush". Moron monkey.
      • by Neoprofin (871029)
        I was indifferent to Iran until the government encouraged and enabled a radical sect to destroy my nations embassy and hold its diplomats hostage. I was annoyed by Iran while Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust and called for Israel to wiped of the face of the earth. I was agitated towards Iran when calls of problems with the elections were met with brutal suppression that continues now, six months later. And I have to say I'm getting pretty hostile towards Iran when it look like they're going to use captured
    • by yuhong (1378501)
      Funny that you mention the USSR, because Sergey Brin was born there and it was partly what motivated the recent decisions Google made over China [slashdot.org].
      (I need to create a new Slashdot submission on this)
      And it is interesting that Twitter is following suit too.
    • That reminds me of a revolution that one of my exgirlfriend's used to always reference to make a point. She always used to tell me about a government in South America (I don't recall what country or the details or anything really) that was effectively toppled by nothing more than a misinformation campaign. Apparently, some sort of freedom fighter movement was convinced not to fight at all by mass published media that spread the information that the opposing forces were glorious and had massive amounts of ar
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:58PM (#30928660) Journal
    'The most productive way to fight that is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about.'"

    That Google / Apple / Microsoft / etc. would ever make such a statement...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LostCluster (625375) *

      Google's current public stance on China is that they're thinking of closing their Chinese offices telling Chinese users to use google.com with the "in your language" features for translation rather than the censored google.cn.

      What would be much better would be to tell China to use https://google.com..../ [google.com....]

      • by yuhong (1378501)
        Yea, I think Twitter actually is the one following suit with Google leaving China after it's computers were hacked by the Chinese.
      • by rvw (755107)

        What would be much better would be to tell China to use https://google.com..../ [google.com....]

        That works for gmail, but not for searching, because for searching a get-request is used. That means that the search string is used in the URI. Although you cannot see what the content is of the page that google sends back, the search results, the search string reveals that it is about Tibet or some other sensitive topic, because that is not encrypted.

    • Twitter has no real incentive to make a profit, as contrasted to the others. Keep in mind they have some weird setup with long term VC funding or something and a "worry about it later" attitude to profits.

      • You must have missed the story about Twitter actually turning a profit last quarter.

        Everybody thought Google and Amazon didn't care about profits at first... now they're world leaders in what they do, and have many offshoots.

    • That is because Twitter is still new. When they get more established, have more money on the line and employ the types of people/professionals a company gets when it is established they will act the same.

      Those other 3 companies were cool when they were new and small.

  • Central Choke Points (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chill (34294) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:59PM (#30928666) Journal

    In Iran, moreso than China from what I understand, the Internet and telephones go thru central choke points that are controlled by the gov't. They can effectively just turn the whole damn Internet off in their country, if they like. Ditto for cell phones and text messaging.

    My first question would be is peer-to-peer traffic regulated, and if so, how? While the gov't might be able to cut off the main Internet egress points, all it would take is one person with a covert satellite link and a good p2p network. Or, maybe, a covert side channel on a bank leased line that runs to Switzerland, for example? How about packet radio? Twitter isn't exactly super bandwidth intensive.

    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:14PM (#30928778)

      My first question would be is peer-to-peer traffic regulated, and if so, how?

      Simple... controlling governments route all routes through the choke points. All traffic, even to the house next door, would have to go through the censorship point and then back to the destination.

      While the gov't might be able to cut off the main Internet egress points, all it would take is one person with a covert satellite link and a good p2p network.

      Simple... controlling governments ban satellite dishes.

      Or, maybe, a covert side channel on a bank leased line that runs to Switzerland, for example?

      Simple... controlling governments run the banks.

      How about packet radio?

      Simple... controlling governments don't allow consumer bandwidth. Try transmitting on an unlicensed spectrum here...

      Twitter isn't exactly super bandwidth intensive.

      Simple... controlling goverment loves things that are low-bandwidth and cleartext because that doesn't take much effort to scan what they've collected.

      • by rvw (755107)

        Simple... controlling governments ban satellite dishes.

        Except that China and Iran have to allow their people some liberty, because they are already too free and used to all things free. It's a matter of controlling, in the sense of keeping a balance, not shutting everything down. Your "simple" is too simple.

  • I think we can all agree that censorship is a bad thing, but how far should such social responsibility reach? Should companies be concerned about social responsibility in countries which are not their own? Should they help criminals violate the laws of their own countries? Is aiding and abetting in the name of freedom something that companies should really be doing?

    Take for example Bob Barker, a major donor to the Sea Shepherds. The Sea Shepherds practice terrorism on the high seas in an effort to eliminate

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Falconhell (1289630)

      Sea shepeard do great work, your terrorism spin is plain ludicrous.

      In fact the Japanese whalers are the people breaking the law, as their blatant deliberate ramming and sinking of a sea shepard boat recently attests.

      The rape of the seas thru bottom scraping overfishing is an upcoming disaster of epic proportions, and personally, I support Sea shepard 100%.

      What drives your irrational dislike of them I wonder? I smell a financial incentive.

      • by oldhack (1037484)
        Loosen your tinfoil hat. Try some different drink choices, too.
      • by zondag (1114149)

        Sea shepeard do great work, your terrorism spin is plain ludicrous.

        In fact the Japanese whalers are the people breaking the law, as their blatant deliberate ramming and sinking of a sea shepard boat recently attests.

        The rape of the seas thru bottom scraping overfishing is an upcoming disaster of epic proportions, and personally, I support Sea shepard 100%.

        What drives your irrational dislike of them I wonder? I smell a financial incentive.

        Even Greenpeace refers to Watson as "a violent extremist and an eco-terrorist". ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/5166346/Paul-Watson-Sea-Shepherd-eco-warrior-fighting-to-stop-whaling-and-seal-hunts.html [telegraph.co.uk] )

        I don't support whaling but I would also like to see Sea Shepherd blown out of the water (non-violently...)

        I'll have my financial incentive now please.

      • I don't know about him, but I was sitting around a campfire with a Sea Shepherd guy and he told me they sink ships. Sure, the commercial guys are doing things that are obviously wrong, but sinking ships sounds like terrorism to me. They're not considering the motivations and knowledge of everyone involved; they're just attacking the ships involved, effectively using intimidation to get what they want.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by wjc_25 (1686272)
      The entire point of having more than one government, of having national rather than global governments, is so that governments and citizens of other nations can step in when a national government has oppressed its bounds. We can argue about where the appropriate boundary is (for example, if it came to violence, I certainly wouldn't approve of a corporation like Twitter arming revolutionaries or lending its support to dissident groups), but I would argue that a group of people working to make means of commun
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Sorry, I had to stop reading your post when you wrote that 'the entire point of having more than one government' - as if this were a design decision.

        "Yes, we considered a global government but decided against such because of a...b.. and c..." and this is how we have the system we have today.

    • by kinko (82040)

      just to pick nits, I think the Sea Shepard vessels are careful not to break any Australian or New Zealand laws when they are in Australian or New Zealand waters. All the "action" happens in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica.

      They're definitely not following the established "rules" of the sea though, in terms of who has right-of-way...

    • by sp3d2orbit (81173) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:53AM (#30930044)

      The Sea Shepherds practice terrorism

      If the Sea Shepherds used terrorism they would be a lot more effective. One RPG would put an end to the whaling for at least a season. In words of South Park, they are a bunch of vegan pussies.

      • by Daimanta (1140543)

        One RPG would get Sea Sheperd a quick mark as a terrorist organisation and would totally destroy the organisation and the legitimacy of the organisation and by extension anti-whaling operations.

        It would also give whalers the argument that anti-whalers are terrorists and would only help them.

        • and would totally destroy the organisation and the legitimacy of the organisation

          I wasn't aware that any legitimacy was being assigned to organizations of inactive whiners. Wake me when they grow a back bone and a brain.

      • From the Princeton Wordnet, Terrorism is:

        The calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature.

        I believe that Sea Shepherd meets all of these criteria.

        The only part that may be questionable is the "violence" aspect, but in the TV show they've used several tactics that should constitute violence. Just off the top of my head, they've used chemical weapons that caused vomiting. They've boarded an "enemy" ship. They've intentionally destroyed property. I think at least one of these has to constitute violence, even if they are attempting to stay within the technica

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Man, have you watched Whale Wars at all? All they do is throw stink bombs, and occasionally throw a rope into the water to foul up a propeller.

      If they were real bombs, maybe, you could call them terrorists. But IMHO, vigilantism is different from terrorism.

  • There are many users of Twitter, Facebook, and LiveJournal that use Tor and other anonymizing proxies to get around constricting and censoring firewalls. If Twitter thinks they can do it better, by all means, but have they even reached out to some of the existing communities working on this problem before diving headlong into it themselves?

    I know for a fact that LiveJournal has a cordial relationship with the Tor project, and, when abuse from Tor spikes, has always worked with the project to ensure access f

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:16PM (#30928804) Homepage

    It's called "Not having anything to say worth censoring". It's foolproof!

    • by selven (1556643)

      That's not fighting censorship, that's quite literally surrendering to it.

      • by maxume (22995)

        You guys never would have been able to say that on Twitter, due to the character limit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:51PM (#30929042)

    "'The most productive way to fight that is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about.'"

    Making money?

    • The most productive way to fight that is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about.

      Does their CEO speak in only 140 character phrases now?

  • by jkajala (711071) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:13PM (#30929162) Homepage
    I seriously doubt it's the Twitter users who will start revolution, at least in China. The revolution is still alive in the masses of countryside, like before. Just look at the incidents which have sparked there recently. For example, in one province a slight rise of bus ticket prices resulted in violent demonstrations. I'm 100% sure none of them had ever heard about Twitter. Twitter has maybe ~0.3% reach in China compared to population, that's about less people than Beijing pisses off routinely at once by moving a whole city because of one more dam or railroad every few months. Still, I have to give credit to Beijing as well. China's growth and drive has been nothing but unbelievable. It would not have been possible without making strong and fast decisions without asking much from the people. It's very easy to build a railroad if you just relocate the people by sending them a letter with two weeks notice time. China is run more like a company than western countries, and western companies generally love it. At least as long as it doesn't cross their interests.
    • by sp3d2orbit (81173)

      I have to give credit to Beijing as well

      Bullshit. India is growing as fast as China with a Democratic system. Please don't defend those genocidal thugs.

      • by jkajala (711071)
        Well, you can define growth in many ways, but if you compare foreign direct investment, China leads India by a large margin (FDI in China is at least double or more compared to India). And that FDI money comes from western companies. So even if western people value democracy "in general" when you ask them, the same people running western companies surely not weight it much at all when making investment decisions. Hypocrites. One other thing which you should consider is that democracy does not have long tra
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by raju1kabir (251972)

          Look at for example Singapore: Average GDP per capita is higher than in US, but still the country is not democracy by any definition.

          On paper, Singapore is a fine democracy.

          The two things that get in the way are (A) the willingness of the courts to indulge politically-motivated libel suits, and (B) the lack of an effective press. Between these two, the ruling PAP has been able to sidestep a lot of what would be healthy competition, with the result that most serious politicians and aspiring technocrats just

    • by vacarul (1624873)

      ...if you just relocate the people by sending them a letter with two weeks notice time.

      a letter?! really? I would laugh if it would not be a very serious problem. Dictatorial regimes don't send letters because they don't care about you!

      I agree with the rest of your post but stop being naive.

  • by vampire_baozi (1270720) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:23PM (#30929216)

    While noone in China uses twitter enough to care even if Twitter found a way to "uncensor itself", if they could succesfully find a technical workaround that required no effort from end-users, it might be worth talking about (if my reading of TFA is right, any site could use such hacks to unblock itself, even google or dissident websites). However, if it forces end-users to install software to route around firewalls (a la Freedomgate and other already available software), the sites will remain unaccessible to the majority of users, who just don't care enough to bother.
    I'm honestly very curious as to what technical methods are out there for opening access through government firewalls that would not involve illegal and nearly impossible invasions into foreign computer networks. The Chinese and Iranian governments control the "pipes"; what software solutions could twitter possible be thinking of? Nice goal, but technically possible, beyond current "hacks/proxies"?

    • While most of the communication between protesters after the Iran Election was done other ways - word of mouth, cell phones etc - the biggest impact of twittering was getting unfiltered reports out of the country to the rest of the world. The reaction of other governments to this news was relatively muted. But at least in the US I think that younger people are much more aware and concerned about what is going on in Iran than they would have been otherwise. A country with citizens that are more informed abou

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Hypothetically speaking, if there is a way to freely share copyrighted content on twitter, will the US government tries to censor this information? Or more likely, will the US government pressure Twitter CEO and co-founder Evan Williams to censor these postings and would Evan give in? Just to point out that hypocrisy works both ways.

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Hypothetically speaking, if there is a way to freely share copyrighted content on twitter, will the US government tries to censor this information?

      Simply put, no, the US government cannot legally censor that information even if it violates the law. It can go after you AFTER you make your post, and they can certainly tell you that they will do just that if you release the information, but they can do nothing before hand.

      This was tested in WW2 when the New York Times came across sensitive US troop movements and wanted to publish them in the newspaper. The US government tried to get a court to block the story from running, but the judge simply said "no

  • 'The most productive way to fight that is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about.'"

    Finally someone calls this what it is.

  • At least somebody's picking up Google's old motto. There's only one teeensy problem: they have no income.
  • That's something new for them. Up to now they've only been developing new ways to milk the gullible VCs.

  • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @10:14AM (#30932758) Journal

    'The most productive way to fight that is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about.'

    So... don't find a LAN war in Asia?

  • Decentralizing Twitter is very viable.

    Third party sites that you can use to indirectly access Twitter content should easily thwart censorship.

  • Can we change the outdated cliche of, "The pen is mightier than the sword," to a more modern version along the lines of, "The twits are mightier than the twats."

    The 'twits,' of course, being the tweeters, whilst the 'twats' refers to the governments. =)

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw

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