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Censorship China The Internet Your Rights Online

Greatfire Keeps Tabs On Chinese Censorship, Automatically 30

Posted by timothy
from the perhaps-too-automatically dept.
First time accepted submitter percyalpha writes "Greatfire is a website that automatically monitors Internet censorship in China. Recently, we improved our system to share all testing data with Herdict, a project at Harvard University on Internet blockages. User reports on Herdict of websites inaccessible in China are automatically imported into our system, and our data of websites blocked in China is also exported into the Herdict database. If you ever explore the first ten pages of the Herdict database, chances are all block reports are from China and imported from our system."
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Greatfire Keeps Tabs On Chinese Censorship, Automatically

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  • by RobertinXinyang (1001181) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @07:10PM (#41103183)

    What to website fails to capture is economic censorship. This is the restricting of bandwidth in order to push users to domestic services. The target website is still accessible; but, it works poorly. This has the effect of pushing users to domestically owned competitors.

    An example would be Google. While Google is accessible much of the time, and note that I did not say all of the time, following links from Google is often impossible. This has the effect of pushing users to Baidu, an underdeveloped Google clone that is popular, and owned in, China.

    Another example is Photobucket. While the website in the article claims it is no censored, it is not usable. Links between pages do not work so it is impossible to sign in and pictures can only be accessed by typing in their exact URL. While it will return a ping, it is not being given enough bandwidth to function properly. The restrictions on social websites, such as this, are not purely political. They are also driven by an attempt to push all traffic to the domestically owned (and really poor in usability) q-zone.

    The articles website fails to capture the entire problem and fails to understand that the problem is not just politics. It is, as is seen so often elsewhere too, business colluding with government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @07:31PM (#41103385)

    There was a TED talk on this subject recently. I was very disappointed that it missed a very key word: "protectionism". There's a huge number of factors at play here, but certainly a lot of is about giving domestic providers an advantage. You'd hope the WTO would be more involved in dealing with this as it really is a trade issue.

    Regarding the partial breakages, there is a good talk by Jacob Applebaum and Roger Dingledine on Tor censorship. They focus quite a bit on China, and how simply throttling a service is in some ways far harder to deal with than blocking entirely. Sadly, it looks like the state is getting a lot more clever about what they're doing. Certainly they're learning a subtlety and savviness that didn't exist before.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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