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China Strangles Tor Ahead of National Day 297

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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  • Surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @03:41PM (#29761315) Journal

    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.

  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:1, Interesting)

    by dark_requiem ( 806308 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:09PM (#29761665)
    So if you point a gun at me, I can hunt down and disintegrate your entire family tree? Is that the policy you're advocating here? 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.

    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, so one can safely assume that not only were many/most of those killed civilians who had not been involved in the war at all, but also that many of them may well have been opposed to the actions of their government, but powerless to stop them (sound like any country you can think of these days?). 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, 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.
  • to honestly sit here and put forth the idea that the level of censorship in the west is anything remotely near what china does, you've arrived at intellectual fail. the SCALE of the effort matters. if the west, for example, tries to find kiddie porn, it is entirely in your right to debate that effort and question its relevancy, effectiveness, and the direction of such laws

    now, if you were to actually engage in such criticism in china, a nice young man or woman in one of the many banks of party loyalists who actually monitor signs of dissent on the web would make note of you, track you, and actually admonish you or outright punish you. simply for stating your political opinion

    do you really think that's anywhere remotely the same thing as trying to control kiddie porn? again, i'm not saying you don't have a right to criticize to western internet controls, but you have no right, in the least, to compare it to the colossal amount of censorship and control in china. the SCALE of the effort over there is off the charts

    as proof, if you were in china, you would never have written what you just wrote in terms of criticising the chinese government. you'd be too scared to. but here on western servers in a western political environment, you have no problem criticizing western politics. as you have every right to. but don't be an ludicrous about your criticism by trying to mention it in the same breath as the lockdown environment in china

    for example: i can call obama a moron if i want to. i can rant until blue in the face about how he is the devil incarnate. no big deal in the west. most wouldn't even care. now if i attempted to do the same about wen jiabao in china, they would actually track me, perhaps even show up at my doorstep, perhaps even send me to some prison camp for "political reeducation". do you doubt this is a reality? then why do you think chinese internet controls is a parallel to anything in the west? be intellectually honest. consider the idea of "scale"

    now, if i actually sat here and threatened obama's life, someone in the west might try to track me. a case could be made that that's a valid reason for internet monitoring. a case could also be made that that's not valid. but at least in the west, i can actually question my government and its policies, argue about it in an open environment, and not worry about goons showing up at my door. well, besides the paranoid schizophrenic amongst us

    <knock, knock/>

    sorry, be right back, someone's at the door for some reason


  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:37PM (#29761987) Journal

    I don't have a problem with tor existing. I've used it myself many times. I'm just not willing to support it with my network resources when child pornography makes up such a large portion of the traffic on the tor network.

    Personally I would like to see someone design something like tor that would be limited to text based protocols like IRC, Usenet, etc. That would provide a channel of anonymous communication that could be deployed without sucking up as many resources as tor does and without supporting child pornography and copyright infringement. This would bring at least two benefits:

    1. More people would be willing to run tor nodes because they wouldn't have to donate as much bandwidth
    2. The network would be used for communication rather than bulk transfers of copyrighted works and/or child pornography.
  • by mathfeel ( 937008 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:46PM (#29762103)
    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.
  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Unoriginal_Nickname ( 1248894 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:56PM (#29762265)

    Yup. Cowards kill civilians. Stupid, savage cowards.

    They also ran Unit 731, conducted horrible experiments and vivisections on civilians and prisoners of war, butchered their own schoolchildren out of fears the invading enemy would be as brutal as they are, cannibalized Australians and live in a culture of institutionalized racism to this very day.

    Man, historical revisionism is AWESOME! *beats off to 2chan instead of going outside*

  • GFW in China (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dUN82 ( 1657647 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:59PM (#29762315)
    Well, it is clear that the CCP is implementing a more strict online blocking and censoring policy, OCT.1 is just one example of those that is exposed to the outside world. 2009 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square 4JUN1989, CCP instructed all website in China, to disable comment functions through out the country, majority of the websites complied and rest of the simply shut down the their website claim as 'maintenance' as a protest, it was the official 'Chinese website maintenance day'. I would expect such policy to carried out repeatedly in the future. I am lucky enough to personally experience the internet, CCP style from Jun to Sep this year! Let me give you an example what it is like: 1st thing I get online I openned www.google.com and dare you search for anything, I really mean it, anything, you will be reset to death after click into page 2, 3 of the results if you are lucky not to be blocked immdieatly after click 'Google search' or 'I'm feeling not so lucky in China' button. Google image search is worse, you are assured by the CCP to not see anything that is in anyway related to harm a harmonious society. Youtube is certainly not working for like a year now, as long with victims such as blogger, worldpress,livejournal, facebook,twitter, basically anything that can help people find useful, uncensored information, or anything that can help 'words' getting around. Picasa was among the laest victim of the GFW, I have about 7G of photo stored on it, which I cannot show or share with 1/4 of the world population. I rarely use flickr, but words are it was ultra-unusually unblocked by the GFW afetr I fled China before OTC.1, my assumption is the journalist all over the world flocked the OCT.1 ceremony may get very very angry when they find they cannot upload to flickr. And when you just about to think can media freedom in China to be any worse? The answer is YES. Media censorship extents to movies, tvs, newspapers, almost anything you can think of! The Summer Olympic Games was as much as freedom the CCP can give to foreigners, which CCP immediately took back after the event, followed by the unrest in Tibet and Urumqi, and Taiwan. It is very likely the conflict between those parts I mentioned to get worse in the near future, and the GFW will further enforced by the CCP as a way to maintain their one-party-ruling.
  • Re:(Un)Surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cream wobbly ( 1102689 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @05:28PM (#29762825)

    No. Its a case of historical ignorance on your part. America was going to war with Japan irregardless of Pearl Harbor. The only thing Pearl Harbor did was push up the timetable. It was already planned to take on Japan due to their invasion of our allies in the Philippines and other nations in south east Asia once we had finished with Germany.

    And Pearl Harbor might never have been attacked had the Allies let on to the U.S. that the attack force was on its way. Allies were within RDF range of the flight path, but the Allied generals knew what the U.S.'s reaction would be, and that they would finally enter the war. The alternative, of the U.S. defeating the incoming force, would lead to continued isolation and claims of "neutrality" (conveniently forgetting about the Jewish-owned U.S. businesses who funded Hitler in order to level the competition overseas -- but that's another story).

    Frankly, I'm not surprised many people are ignorant on that point, because it's not in the historic record, and it's quickly passing from living memory into a far smaller second-hand memory.

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

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @08:34PM (#29764623) Homepage

    That's not the end of the story. After the Emperor recorded his formal surrender, to be broadcast over radio to the Japanese people, the Army tried to kill their own leader. If the Japanese are willing to kill their own God-emperor, what would they be willing to do to keep the Americans from landing? They would fight to the last man - it would make our current war in Afghanistan look easy.

    Um, that wasn't "The Japanese", that was the top Generals and some of their loyalists who were concerned about their own careers and their own necks and most certainly did not consider their Emperor to be a God.

    The rest of the country, including most of what remained of the Army, put down their arms and surrendered when the Emperor told them to.

    Besides, as I explain in another reply, there were a number of other options Truman was considering and invasion was never a serious contender.

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

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:00PM (#29764777) Homepage

    To me it seems odd to single-out two bombs, while ignoring the millions of other bombs that had been dropped from 1939 through 45. Those non-nukes also killed people, including innocent girls and boys that didn't deserve to die but were caught in the middle of the fight. War is hell, no matter if you use nukes or TNT.

    It's not odd to single them out. After all, no weapon anything like them had ever been unleashed. Even previous weapons that had changed the face of warfare -- the longbow, cannons, machine guns, iron-clad ships, armored infantry Blitzkrieg, and so on -- had required substantial time, effort, and masses of forces to be effective. The firebombings killed more people, but they consisted of extensive and sustained bombing campaigns, often over the course of days or weeks, starting with flights of bombers dropping conventional explosives, followed by flights of bombers dropping incendiary explosives. Then more flights.

    This was two cities destroyed by two planes dropping one bomb each. Unprecedented.

    Also, among all the nasty ways to die in war, radiation poisoning was a new and quite nasty way to die. One that was underestimated by Truman et. al.

    So it's not surprising why the atom bombs get singled out. Why those civilian deaths -- in what were by the standards of WWII standards military targets, cities with factories in them -- receive so much scrutiny, I don't know for sure, but yes it's odd.

    Almost 70 million people died during WW2. Only 0.2% of them died by nuclear fission bomb.

    Pretty impressive for two bombs!

    But yeah, precious few spend the same effort bemoaning the morality of fire bombing, or carpet bombing for that matter, or any of the other massive slaughters that took place in WWII. It was a nasty, nasty war. Ending it with two decisive explosions is not the worst thing that could happen (though as I mention elsewhere, land invasion of Japan though the worst was about the least likely way for it to end).

  • Re:Surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @09:10PM (#29764843) Homepage

    Gee, I could be mistaken, but I think he's saying all the non-violent offenders in our prisons should consider themselves lucky that we don't just execute them, since that's apparently the other option.

    Or he could be saying that it's proper to compare the U.S. to oppressive theocratic regimes, rather than other Western democracies.

    Or it's the "Hey, at least we're better than [insert the worst thing here]!" defense, which is a form of unintentionally damning with faint praise.

  • Re:Surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @11:32PM (#29765567) Journal

    Yes. (Though I am not the person you are replying to)

    Other countries that are "less free" have lower incarceration rates. The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, but its laws are nowhere near the harshest.

    For example, Japan has a far lower incarceration rate despite its laws usually being stricter than the USA's. Those nonviolent drug offenders in the USA would be jailed in Japan as well. But the population doesn't do drugs as much, and the police are probably not as good at catching them because the level of counter-drug training and experience isn't as high.

    And that is for a generally free country like Japan, not a paranoid regimes like Singapore.

    I'm just speculating now, but countries that are "less free" than the USA may be able to deter people from committing crimes in the first place. But the USA despite its incarceration rate is unable to deter people from crime, so they end up in jail.

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

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 16, 2009 @04:32AM (#29766553) Journal

    The problem is they are NOT "helpless innocent" as I will point out from a tale my great uncle told me about WW2. He was one of those crossing into Germany when Goebbels had pumped everyone up with that "fight to the last" BS. He said he was talking with the guy next to him in the jeep when the whole back of the guy's head came off, splattering him with brains. He saw where the flash had come from and opened up with his BAR. When they got to where the sniper was they found it was an 8 month pregnant woman, still clutching the rifle in her hands.

    I asked him "did it bother you to have killed a pregnant woman? and he said "Hell no. I had already lost more friends over there than I could count. It was obvious to anyone with eyes that the war was lost for Germany and those crazy bastards just kept fighting. And I had decided I was gonna go home on my feet and NOT in a body bag."

    And let us not forget the Japanese had this little thing called Kamikaze [wikipedia.org] and I'm sure would have had NO problems with getting men, women, AND kids to be used as human cannon fodder in an attack on the mainland. Just look at the amount of casualties we suffered on Okinawa [wikipedia.org] and multiply that several times over for an invasion of the mainland. So while I am sorry civilians died from the bombs, the death count would have probably been even worse with a full scale invasion, and of course by that point it was pretty clear even to the most optimistic leaders in Japan that they had lost. They could have surrendered but THEY chose to continue the fight.

    So I'm sorry, but the American military needed to worry about keeping American soldiers alive, not how many casualties the enemy that refused to surrender would take.

  • Re:Surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday October 16, 2009 @08:02AM (#29767279) Homepage Journal

    Other countries that are "less free" have lower incarceration rates. The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, but its laws are nowhere near the harshest.

    The laws aren't the whole picture. Also, you're talking about selective enforcement, whether you know or not; the conviction rate is dramatically higher for blacks than for whites, for example, and they tend to receive harsher sentences as well (more likely to receive ANY jail time, for example.)

    I'm just speculating now, but countries that are "less free" than the USA may be able to deter people from committing crimes in the first place.

    Well, in China in particular they kill you for just about everything. Cheating on your income tax is a capital crime, I am not making this up. They actually had to put together a fleet of 'death vans' to optimize their organlegging operation; they kill you in the van, then drive you to a facility where you are broken up for parts. Your relatives never see your body again from the time you enter the van. In Mexico, likewise, it is not unusual to get hauled out of a vehicle and shot by a 16 year old with a U.S. Military surplus M-16 if you are up to some nefarious shit. Both official and unofficial executions are used to keep down the incarceration rate in many nations. For that matter, the U.S. filled up mass graves with civilians in Panama, because it was easier and more convenient than displacing them. Some of the graves has been found; it is believed that at least one is on a U.S. military base. The remainder of the people left from the areas the US wanted to clear during the invasion are living in fenced government camps.

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