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How Some Chinese Users Bypass The Great Firewall 58

Posted by timothy
from the differentially-censored dept.
CowboyRobot writes "The ACM has an article describing the history and present of the Great Firewall of China (GFW). 'Essentially, GFW is a government-controlled attacking system, launching attacks that interfere with legitimate communications and affecting many more victims than malicious actors. Using special techniques, it successfully blocks the majority of Chinese Internet users from accessing most of the Web sites or information that the government doesn't like. GFW is not perfect, however. Some Chinese technical professionals can bypass it with a variety of methods and/or tools. An arms race between censorship and circumvention has been going on for years, and GFW has caused collateral damage along the way.'"
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How Some Chinese Users Bypass The Great Firewall

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  • So it's just like... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by urusan (1755332) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @06:11AM (#42153551)

    So it's just like the DRM arms race between content companies and technically capable pirates that has caused collateral damage (to legitimate users) along the way?

    Weird.

  • by mellyra (2676159) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @06:31AM (#42153611)

    Some Chinese technical professionals can bypass it with a variety of methods and/or tools.

    I've met quite a few Chinese in online games and what they tell is that circumventing the firewall is as easy as using a proxy or VPN, is basically risk-free (to the end-user) and is really nothing special amongst their peer-group (age 15-30, educated, typically upper middle class). Every now and then their preferred proxy or VPN provider gets blocked and they have to look for a new one but that's a minor hassle and not a deal-breaker.

    So the emphasis when reading the summary should definetely be on the variety of tools that are available to sidestep the firewall, not on the level of technical competence that is required to do so.

  • Re:vpn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @06:37AM (#42153633)

    It's probably easier if you are not a Chinese citizen and don't have to live with possible consequences.

  • Re:vpn (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @07:51AM (#42153887)

    A few months ago, I tried to help a Chinese national in a hotel in Spain connect to the hotel network. I think his laptop had some really odd network monitoring stack replacement software on it. I think he worked for a Chinese public university.

    I work as a systems integrator and administrator for small businesses in the USA. After 20 minutes, I had to continue my vacation. I don't believe he ever got connected by wifi or directly wired ethernet.

  • by ebonum (830686) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @08:35AM (#42154035)

    I live in China. I don't know anyone who has significant problems with the GFW. It is very easy to hop over. Personally, I use a paid for VPN. I used one for about 3 years without problems. It was finally shut down about a month ago, so I switched. Without a VPN, it is only mildly annoying. You can't get on Youtube and Google is very slow. Most things work normally. For instance, CNN works, but the video section does not.

    Funny thing. If you are on the phone with someone and say "VPN", the call sometimes drops immediate. Works better in Chinese than English.

    When you don't have a VPN, what is really annoying is are all the US sites that pop-up messages saying that their service is not available in your country. Grrr. Then sites like Microsoft keep bumping you back to their Chinese site and hiding "the show me the page in English" button. It is sad how the internet is getting to sensitive to location. The great thing about the internet was that you could be anywhere. Now companies want to figure out where you are based and serve you country specific content. If you have a Galaxy SIII that you bought in China, try going to the US app store. You can't. Even with a VPN or flying to the US, it will not work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @09:43AM (#42154285)

    I think it is a crime to put geofences, a crime against the evolution of society. People have worked hard to make everything on the internet "one click away", and here come various countries (eg: China, Arab countries) and companies (eg: Hulu) that reject us based on location. Then links get posted on forums with international attendance and half the members can't see the content. It's a restriction of speech. This and the DVD zoning, another moron restriction that reduced sales worldwide.

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