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Unblock Google Cache in China 262

An anonymous reader writes "A new feature in CustomizeGoogle (Firefox extension) modifies the Google Cache urls so that they are no longer blocked by the Chinese firewall. This feature is only available in CustomizeGoogle zh-CN, found here. This is how it works: All links to Google Cache, from the Google search result, are slightly modified. The Chinese Great Firewall doesn't recognize the new links as Google Cache links, and therefore they are accessible for everyone."
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Unblock Google Cache in China

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  • Links.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by hotbutteredhtml ( 613549 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:10PM (#13916592)
    I keep trying, but all I get is "Nothing to see here please move along"
  • by PetyrRahl ( 880843 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:10PM (#13916594)
    because that will probably give the everpresent "them" the tip the need to block it.
    Petyr Rahl
  • They will now ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sho-gun ( 2440 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:11PM (#13916601)
    "The Chinese Great Firewall doesn't recognize the new links as Google Cache links"

    After this article, I bet the firewall WILL recognize the
    new links.
    • Yeah...no shit. I've used this little trick to get to the google cache, and now that an automated tool is available, it's sure to stop working soon. They already blocked Wikipedia a week or two ago, which sucked.
  • by Atryn ( 528846 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:12PM (#13916612) Homepage
    I give this a few weeks before China figures out what Google is doing and either finds a way to block it or threatens to remove Google entirely from the Chinese web. Is Google willing to risk losing those eyeballs?

  • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:13PM (#13916615) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how big China will have to get before they realize that it's hopeless to control information. I guess the people in power figure that as long as they maintain tight control for enough generations, the lack of information will just feel commonplace to the Chinese people. I don't think human biology will allow for that apathy about the world though. Although I could be wrong [ie. growing US apathy about non-domestic issues].
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You could say that with just about anything:

      I wonder how big [INSERT COUNTRY NAME] will have to get before they realize that it's hopeless to control [INSERT ISSUE].

      I wonder how big the United States will have to get before they realize that it's hopeless to control marijuana.

      I wonder how big the United States will have to get before they realize that it's hopeless to control the world.
      • I wonder how big the United States will get before they realize it's hopeless to control murder.

        I wonder how big the United States will get before they realize it's hopeless to control rape.

        Wow, this is fun!

        Hey, [insert country name] is a variable, right? So why didn't you use another country? It wouldn't be because you are a hopeless troll, is it?

      • I wonder how big stupid reversal jokes will have to get before they realize that it's hopeless to control Soviet Russia
    • by thefirelane ( 586885 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:53PM (#13916939)
      growing US apathy about non-domestic issues

      Growing? Do you know how long we ignored various world wars before getting involved? Constant would be a better choice.
      • Growing? Do you know how long we ignored various world wars before getting involved? Constant would be a better choice.

        Truth be told the US wasn't ignoring either war. I always thought it was odd that people don't really the acknowledge the US mobilization before Pearl Harbor...

        The draft had already been enacted in 1940.

        I think the better words would be "The US people would like to be apathetic to wars overseas, but the US Government tends to be keen on the idea."

        And no, I don't think FDR goaded the Japanes
    • Dude, you're totally stoned. You end up on a totally different issue than when you started, and each of your sentences has nothing to do with the other. Ah, I remember those days...
    • It is indeed unfortunate that some governments find it necessary to limit access to what amounts to free speech (Classified, Criminal, and other obviously dangerous information not withstanding) and that the same corporations that enable access to this speech are falling over themselves to assist those governments in their repression. The Chinese experience has shown that restricting access to information via technical measures is very effective against the significant majority of their Internet using popul
      • "the same corporations that enable access to this speech are falling over themselves to assist those governments in their repression."

        Corporations don't repress, people repress. Convince the people that make the rules, and configure the firewalls, and set up the switches that repressing information is wrong, and the corporations will magically fall in line. Greed and self-interest being what it is, I don't see that happening anytime soon, but that is the one unbeatable answer.

        It isn't that corporation

    • "I wonder how big China will have to get before they realize that it's hopeless to control information."

      The Chinese government does a pretty good job controlling information, because they have no compunction about imprisoning and killing people who spread information that they don't like.

      "I don't think human biology will allow for that apathy about the world though."

      You apparently aren't living on planet earth, where nations around the world pitched in to help the United States preemptively attack Iraq base
    • I wonder how big China will have to get before they realize that it's hopeless to control information.

      It's not hopeless at all.

      The great firewall doesn't have to be perfect. It isn't, it never has been. It wasn't perfect before there was an Internet. I grew up in the United States. I lived in Taiwan. I traveled to China. Everyone wanted to know what was going on in Taiwan, and I told them. They wanted to know what the United States was like, and I told them that too.

      If it keeps most of the informatio
  • Game of Catch-Up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OctoberSky ( 888619 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:13PM (#13916624)
    Isn't this just an elaborate game of Catch-Up? Meaning, now that there is a way around the firewall, the Chinese Government will just find the loophole and block it? And then there will be another loophole, and the same pattern of catch-up will continue?
    Also, reporting about this kind of ruins the whole Cloak & Dagger feel.
    • If the government can't find the loophole, they'll just drive tanks over it
    • Welcome class, to Internet Security 101.
    • Intentionnally leave the hole, but log everybody doing it. Wait 3 to 5 week then arrest them for anything else. It can't be that difficult to come up with something. So that way they can catch everybody using the loophole, punish them, *AND* make sure the probability of people searching for another loophole will stay low... Closing that loophole would be shortsighted since you might have more difficulty to find out about the next one.
  • You could also.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gamzarme ( 799219 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:17PM (#13916651) Homepage
    ...do the same thing with a proxy.
    Cache over proxy..very nice.
    • Re:You could also.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:22PM (#13917190) Homepage
      Proxies work for most blocked sites (Geocities, Tripod, etc), but there are some sites that are 'toxic' and going to them will get a RST sent down the line for all your active connections, and won't allow any new connections to your proxy for 5 minutes or so. BBC News and Google Cache being two of these.
      • do it too much and... well I do not really know but if you are caught in the tentacles of the chinese government, well fun is different.
        • It's not too big a deal for us foreigners, as long as we don't get into politics. It's not the English-language web that the Chinese gov't is really worried about. I used to think about such things when I first came here, but the government here is much like any other, with inefficient bureaucracy being the main problem. Sure, if you get out of line, they'll come down on you like a ton of bricks, but everyone knows what the rules are.
      • Are you saying that the chinese firewall can parse proxied traffic and will let some blocked sites through via proxy and not others? That seems kind of inconsistant - if they can nuke you for proxying any one normally blocked site, they ought to nuke you for all normally blocked sites.
        • Re:You could also.. (Score:4, Informative)

          by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @05:37PM (#13918310) Homepage
          Yeah, it's weird. I don't understand it either, but that's what happens. I theorize that the 'toxic' blocking is done by hostname, because I can go to www.bbc.co.uk but not news.bbc.co.uk. Voice of America and .mil sites are some others that will get RST. My simple unencrypted squid proxy in the USA will bypass all the other 'blocked' sites.

          The shittiest part of being behind the Great Wall is the horrible connection speeds. I usually get 5-10k/s to slashdot and other sites, with a 300ms ping and 3% PL that makes typing at a unix shell lots of fun. I cry on the rare occasion that I go to Chinese websites, then I get my typical broadband 400k/s.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:18PM (#13916660)
    Without the front-page attention, this might have slipped by unnoticed. The PRC would like to thank you for bringing this dangerous counter-revolutionary thinking to their attention.
  • Link Mutation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jferris ( 908786 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:18PM (#13916661) Homepage
    I think this is a solid move by Google. As others have pointed out though, it is now only a matter of time before the current implementation will also be blocked. What I think is possible and feasible would be to have the URL that is used to bypass the block mutate over certain intervals of time. Since it is embedded in the toolbar, it is entirely resaonable to assume that this could be done. I wonder what the feasibility would be of Google being able to offer cached pages as Torrents and putting some sort of torrent support in the toolbar?
    • Re:Link Mutation (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Amouth ( 879122 )
      but this isn't google doing it.. it is someone else.. if google was doing it i am sure that they would be in very hot water right now over there.
      • Gotcha. Apologies for the misinterpretation. However, the point I was trying to make remains valid. Just replace Google with "the developer". ;-)
  • by CDPatten ( 907182 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:18PM (#13916663) Homepage
    Google should be careful. Even though they aren't responsible for this, it is going to appear that way. China is a HUGE market, and yahoo and msn have a strong start. Its not like it is here in the US, the playing field is far more level, and Google isn't the media darling it is in western media.

    If Google isn't careful, China will block them all together. That would be a huge problem for them. This firefox plugin seems pretty cool on the surface, but at the end of the day, it will only hurt firefox and google in the Chinese market. Not because of the people, but because its a communist nation that will squash what it doesn't approve of. This is something that it won't approve of. Don't be surprised if firefox.com gets blocked from their network all together.
    • because its a communist nation that will squash what it doesn't approve of

      Just plain wrong. In communist nation everything belongs to everyone, so does information... In a facism nation the dictador does the rules. There is a big difference betweem them (PS - All the so called communist regimes so far have nothing to do with communism)

      Check this page [ilstu.edu] found in about 2 sec on google to learn the differences between regimes...

      PS - If you find any english error remember, I probably write english better than y

    • If China blocks Google, how will that impact their students, researchers, etc.? They are shooting themselves in the foot, like all totalitarian states do in the long run.

    • "China is a HUGE market, and yahoo and msn have a strong start."

      I've posted about this before, but for some reason nobody seems to get it. So, once again:

      There is no China Market [slashdot.org] - not in the sense that the MBAs think, anyway.

  • by mah! ( 121197 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:19PM (#13916673) Homepage
    It's an interesting idea... but is slashdot [slashdot.org] or information the feature itself [customizegoogle.com] blocked by their Cisco-backed filter [opennetinitiative.net]?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:20PM (#13916674)
    the "Great Firewall of China" instead of "The Chinese Great Firewall"?
  • Whack-a-mole... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brentyl2 ( 877919 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:21PM (#13916688)
    ...is exactly what this seems like. This is not a long-term solution - in fact I suspect its life will be measured in days if not hours before these links are recognized as belonging to Googleborg and blocked accordingly.

    These quick-fix workarounds are nifty and amusing, but are no substitute for a permanent end to the Great Firewall. I understand that is a bigger problem to solve. Ultimtely I hope the Chinese realize that they cannot block a thousand floods, and realize that as an (emerging?) first-world country, with global trade alliances, seat on the UN Security Council and so on, that worldviews and perspectives and ideas flow across the border as readily as cash and products.

    Until then, keep whacking.
  • This is nutty.

    Didn't Google build the "Great Firewall of China"???

    Did Mao not pay his filtering bill this month?

    Is Google blackmailing China?????
  • by The_Rippa ( 181699 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:28PM (#13916741)
    I missed this whole thing...are they trying to keep the Mongolians out of their network?
  • by rueger ( 210566 ) * on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:32PM (#13916781) Homepage
    FWIW a journalist friend who lives in China assures me that anyone who needs it has already figured out one way or another of bypassing the so-called Great Wall. Usually via proxies from what I'm told.
  • Go google?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sundancekid503 ( 927309 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:34PM (#13916795)
    Why are you people praising Google? Google is not bastion of free speech. Google is assisting the Chinese government in censoring it's content. Some third party found a simple "hack" workaround (which will soon be patched), Google will quickly patch it up. Google itself is not at all interested in bringing uncensored content to the Chinese people.
  • by sweetnjguy29 ( 880256 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:34PM (#13916796) Journal
    ...I need a plug-in to access the google cache links here at work! Any suggestions to get around my firewall in the States?
  • by ifwm ( 687373 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:35PM (#13916799) Journal
    Because I don't like encouraging people to break the law.
    • It is called responsibility. I know it can be confusing, but the fact that I can buy baseball bats does not mean I walk around crushing everybodie's head. No need for government nannies.
    • by Swamii ( 594522 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:56PM (#13916966) Homepage
      Because I don't like encouraging people to break the law.

      Legal writ does not equate to morality.

      That's a problem for people who ascribe morality to legality. Just because something is legal does not make it moral. Just because something is illegal does not make it immoral. Morality exist apart from law.
    • Because I don't like encouraging people to break the law.
      ... "You shall relenquish your personal property to the use of the military, should they need it"? ... "All Jews shall wear a badge to distinguish them clearly as such"?...

      Come on.
    • I hope you equally as appalled by attempts to circumvent other laws ... http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/DeCSS/Gallery/ [cmu.edu] ... http://www.grandtimes.com/rosa.html [grandtimes.com]
    • St. Augustine - "An unjust law is no law at all".

      Therefore, I would feel no remorse "breaking" this "law".
    • by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:22PM (#13917193) Homepage Journal
      A lot of Americans are glad that Rosa Parks was willing to break the law.
    • what about when the law breaks the constitution? Article 35 of the Chinese constitution states:

      Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.

      and then theres article 41:

      (1) Citizens of the People's Republic of China have the right to criticize and make suggestions to any state organ or functionary. Citizens have the right to make to relevant state organs complaints and charges against, or exposures of

  • by kemikalzen ( 173455 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:35PM (#13916803) Homepage Journal
    can be found on this site here:

    http://www.ichrdd.ca/english/commdoc/publications/ globalization/goldenShieldEng.html [ichrdd.ca]

    this is truly some 1984'esque reading
  • by BierGuzzl ( 92635 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:37PM (#13916825)
    The great wall of China will probably be around for a long time. While trying to filter all that content, the government is ensuring innovation in filtering and firewalling techologies. They won't ever succeed at stopping everything, but watching them try is fascinating. Regardless of your political views, the challenge faced by the engineers implementing the system is an inviting one. I mean, wouldn't it be kinda fun to filter all references to Al Gore and replace them with, for example, the Rocky Horror Picture Show?
    • Actually, I've been expecting a movement that will offer countries in similar situation to China a network of free proxies all over the world, always available, always changing addresses.

      Not that it will help much. It's a catch-up effort, as a previous poster noted. In truth, repressive measures are probably more effective than blocking. It comes out much better for the government if instead of blocking the culprit they identify him, arrest him and throw him in jail for 20 years, assuring that everyone hear
    • filter all references to GW Bush and replace them with, for example, a video of a chimpanzee scrathcing it's ass and then tasting its fingers? /partisan balance achieved
  • by whamett ( 917546 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:39PM (#13916844)

    ... that Google doesn't voluntarily identify users who do this, like Yahoo did [theepochtimes.com].

    Unfortunately, many high-tech companies are all to eager to do business with a regime that has killed 80 million people [ninecommentaries.com]. Western companies' equipment, software, and expertise are what allow China's 30,000+ full-time internet censors to block this kind of breakthrough soon after they're discovered. They couldn't have built such a system without our help.

  • by portwojc ( 201398 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:41PM (#13916861) Homepage
    It probably now should read...

    therefore they were accessible for everyone

  • by JeanBaptiste ( 537955 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:42PM (#13916866)
    I run a small webserver with a few peoples pages on it. I really don't care if the chinese block access, Actually I'd have no problem with that as most of my serious port scans tend to come from china.

    So... If I put up a Pro-Falun-Gong website, or some other material the chinese government finds offensive, will they ban my IP from their community?
    • If your ambition in life is to get banned, then just go search for some F-G stuff on the internet, mirror it on your server, and then contrive some way to start getting a huge number of hits from China.

      I don't think they ban by IP, it's by URL or by hostname. If you want to cut through the red tape, just burn a bunch of CDs with the mirror, fly to China, and start handing them out at internet cafes. The government might even be willing to pick up the cost of your stay.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:47PM (#13916900) Homepage Journal
    1. Read /. to notice way around Great Firewall
    2. Redo firewall to detect everyone using workaround.
    3. Arrest and fine a few high-profile violators and send most of the rest nasty letters hand-delivered by the police saying "don't ever try this again." Make it clear that to conserve resources they didn't try to identify ALL the violators but they will next time. Those who didn't get a letter get the message.
    4. Next exploit appears and only real dissidents use it.
    5. PROFIT! Er, I mean arrest the dissidents.
  • by teutonic_leech ( 596265 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @02:48PM (#13916905)
    I am sure that plenty of responses are going to be along the lines of 'this is going to get disabled very soon, so why bother?'. However, I feel compelled to point out that the worst thing we all can do is to simply roll over and accept censorship of any kind. It is important that we do whatever possible to allow Internet audiences in more restricted nations to get a glimpse at the full spectrum (bad and good) of all the information that's out there. Yes, it is an armsrace and yes this workaround will probably not stand for very long.

    BUT we need to send repeating signals that information should not be restricted. The reason for that is the unfortunate ability of homo sapiens sapiens to adapt to almost any environment. May this be extreme climate, sparse resources, or supressive political regimes. I bet you that a great majority of Internet surfers in China were probably upset when they first learned about those restrictions - but over time they probably accepted this as 'normal' and happily made due with the information that is presented to them. In some ways we are doing the same here in the U.S. and I make it a point to watch news shows from Europe to counter-balance the often one-sided and myopic reporting I mostly witness on most U.S. news stations/channels.

    So, if this can shake up some complacency and re-instill the hunger for freedom to all information, then this is a great little work-around. We all need to get a kick in the keester to sometimes not simply seek a position of maximum comfort and non-conflict. Remember the old expression: If working towards freedom, prepare for war. I'm not quoting this expression to be taken literal here - I'm saying that it's always dangerous to accept the status quo.
    Sorry for the rant - I'm getting off the soap box now...

    • However, I feel compelled to point out that the worst thing we all can do is to simply roll over and accept censorship of any kind.[snip] in the U.S. and I make it a point to watch news shows from Europe to counter-balance the often one-sided and myopic reporting I mostly witness on most U.S. news stations/channels.

      Good for you; I do the same with US news funilly enough. However, the fundamental problem is that for most folk who's news is censored/filtered for whatever reasons, they just don't realise it.

      • I wished I lived in a world where 'preparing for war' was not a necessity. Actually, I'm NOT a GWB proponent (to say the least), but I also am not a pacifist. Just look at history - the sad truth is that the guys on the other side of the border are always on the lookout to get a leg up on you, and in many cases 'whipe you off the map' (paraphrasing Iran's leader's comment about Israel last week). There's another quote I could have finished my comment with: Speak softely and carry a big stick - Theodor Roose
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Everybody whines that posting this loophole to /. means the end of the loophole. What ya'll don't seem to realize is that this is another tactic to make Chinese business less competitive; by forcing the closure of access to as much of the web as possible, western capitalist societies assure their own continued advantage by free access to information while tricking their Chinese competitors into wearing blindfolds.
    • We (the western world) aren't doing this. the Chinese are. They can't stand the idea of the world not agreeing with them, so they want to block anything that doesn't agree with them. And we aren't going to change the entire internet to pro-chinese stuff (and I'd like to see them try, because it'd be a pathetic failure).
  • The google cache loophole in Great Firewall of China has been closed. Additionally, the entire .org TLD has been blocked for distributing misleading, unpatriotic propaganda on the subjects of freedom and democracy.
  • by clragon ( 923326 ) on Monday October 31, 2005 @07:10PM (#13919127)
    wow.. having born and lived in China i know what this means for google.. profit.. you have to understand that it's not impossible for people to get books or other literature restricted by the goverment. before the internet, the CCP would put restriction on a book (a banned book in other words) and the next day there will be millions of people wanting to read that book, regardless of if it's good or not. when CCP put restrictions on the internet, there was no way around that for a normal person. another thing i have to mention is that the Chinese search engine is http://baidu.com/ [baidu.com] everyone in China uses it like us using google. google is not popular there compared to BaiDu. so with this uncensor, there will be millions of chinese flowing to google in order to read uncensored information on the internet. and since google is not a Chinese businese (unlike BaiDu) the CCP can't do anything about it. so google's influence in China will finaly increase... all i can do is applaud google's business tactics... wow... /offtopic/rant as far as the "evil communists" goes, it's not all evil. the person over threw the Qing Dynasty, and made China democracy country, Sun yat-sen, was the leader of china when he wanted to have 2 kinds of goverment parties. one is democracy and one is communism. he believed that people should have freedom but not complete freedom because that would cause alot of problems. thats how the communist party came into power, before that they were a tiny little political party that had no power. when Sun yat-sun died he gave the position of president to Shiang Kai-shek (as you can see China wasn't completly democracy back then, probably because a voting would have caused too much trouble in a already poor country and some people doesn't even know who was their leader and stuff) and Shiang kai-shek hated the Communitst. he ordered secret assasination of communist party members which furthur worsen the relationship of the 2 parties. so the communist party members basicly said "why are we waiting to be assasinated? why dont we just rebel?" so thats how they started the war and then the japanese started attacking china and the rest is history. so as you can see, the communist struggle to power was hard and when they were finaly in power, there were still lots of pro-democracy people around and letting the democracy party people having a taste of their own medicine, they started torturing the democracy party people and murdered lots of innocent people, because they came to power because the KMT gave them power, they learned the lesson of the KMT and never gave any other part in China significant power, just to establish themselves as the official goverment in the people's eyes. Shiang Kai-shek escaped to Taiwan and established his own democracy goverment there (and i should metion that he purged all of his old KMT party members form mainland) , and later died and the presidency to his son (not as democracy as he say he is :P ). if Shiang Kai-shek didn't decide to assasinate the communist party members we might actualy see an example of a democracy goverment AND a communist goverment co-exist and govern on country together. where the people have freedom, but not too much that it endangers the country's existance. /end rant

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