Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

China Telecom Blocking Skype Calls

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the no-freebies dept.

Communications 297

Retrospeak writes "According to a Reuters report China is starting to block Skype service in Shenzhen, an affluent southern city of China. Local Chinese media report that China Telecom has plans to eventually block the service throughout its coverage area nationwide. Could this have something to do with the fact that China Telecom charges close to $1 per minute for calls to United States and Europe?" From the article: " A China Telecom spokesman had no comment on the reports about the Shenzhen blockage, but gave a broader view. 'Under the current relevant laws and regulations of China, PC-to-phone services are strictly regulated and only China Telecom and (the nation's other fixed-line carrier) China Netcom are permitted to carry out some trials on a very limited basis,' he said."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

My Rights? (-1, Flamebait)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523320)

Hell, I don't live in China.

I don't even call China.

Re:My Rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523331)

I dont even have any rights in China..

Re:My Rights? (0, Offtopic)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523358)

I dont even have any rights in China../i.

Yeah. Neither do I!

You think you have it bad? (2, Insightful)

A Dafa Disciple (876967) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523398)

Shoo' I'm [falundafa.org] being raped [clearwisdom.net] , tortured [clearwisdom.net] , and murdered [clearwisdom.net] there!

Re:You think you have it bad? (2, Insightful)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523443)

Shoo' I'm being raped, tortured, and murdered there!

Excellent point!

When I read TFA, I was wondering "Why is this listed as 'Your Rights Online', when it is clearly a political discussion. China maintains a stranglehold on their populace and the only thing we can do is bitch about is Skype getting blocked?

I'm sure China's telco blocking Skype what this guy was pissed about when this [asianamericans.com] photo was taken.

Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countries (5, Interesting)

Nerd Systems (912027) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523329)

China Telecom is pretty smart to be blocking the Skype service, even though ethically I think it is not right to be blocking a user's internet connection experience like this. User's pay for an internet connection, expecting to be able to use it for many various purposes, and not have certain "features" blocked, but then again, this is not America either.

Here in America, at least we have the FCC and other governing bodies telling big business what they are allowed to do and what they are forbidden to do, and the majority of time the rules are followed at least. I know a while back that some major ISPs tried to block Vonage on their systems but after a major outcry from their subscribers this was changed quickly.

China has always been known to be a government that censor's free speech and tries to limit what it's citizens have access to. I am sure that their email systems are all monitored with anti-government emails being filtered out or those sending/receiving these emails being placed on watch lists, and am sure that each citizen's web surfing habits are monitored as well.

This is just another example of why I am glad to live here in the United States of America. We may complain about things from time to time, but at least we do have more freedom of information and able to know more, then most other countries out there. If my Vonage was blocked by my ISP, I would be contacting Road Runner in a hurry, and getting things straight, something that as an American we can take care of. I'm glad to not be helpless like the majority of private citizens in China are.

I wonder if this is proven to be a successful triumph on China Telecom's part, if it will help spur other ISP's in various countries around the globe to take a part in this as well. Voice over IP has been a wonderful blessing to many around the world, being used by many to reach other's in distant countries, at a far cheaper cost then a normal voice call would cost... hope this doesn't catch on and cause VOIP as a whole to start being shut down outside of America.

Hopefully, Skype can just one-up the Chinese, and change the way their system works, to more easily get around the blockage, as well as having the system be more intelligent in finding connections, bypassing any blocking measures that China Telecom might try to implement.

I'm not a lawyer, and curious about the legal implications of this. I know that with China being a communist nation, that the people probably have no rights, but could Skype turn around and have a lawsuit against China Telecom, for "obstruction of service" or "tampering with service" which is essentially what they are doing?

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523345)

you're an idiot.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523404)

It's clear you're a retard. Please, never post here again.

Nope (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523406)

I'm not a lawyer, and curious about the legal implications of this. I know that with China being a communist nation, that the people probably have no rights, but could Skype turn around and have a lawsuit against China Telecom, for "obstruction of service" or "tampering with service" which is essentially what they are doing?

It's hard enough to sue a sovereign nation for violating it's *own* laws, let alone over something like this. IANAL either, but I can tell you that a snowball would have a better chance lasting in hell than Skype would have in winning such a suit.

Re:Nope (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523562)

IANAL either, but I can tell you that a snowball would have a better chance lasting in hell than Skype would have in winning such a suit.

I dunno.

Does China Telecom interoperate with U.S. LD carriers? And, if so, might there perhaps be grounds for a U.S.-based venue because China Telecom does business in the U.S.?

LD charges are distributed among carriers, and depending on how that is done, there may be China Telecom assets in the U.S. that could be siezed.

Yeah, it's a long shot, but I think a bit better than a snowball's chance in hell.

Re:Nope (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523986)

You clearly don't work in the telecom industry.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (2, Funny)

dominion (3153) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523447)

This is just another example of why I am glad to live here in the United States of America.

You know, it's fine if you want to be glad that you don't live in China, but you should at least recognize that being better than China when it comes to human rights is kinda like bragging that you're not the stupidest kid on the short bus.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523469)

Except in this case the stupidest kid is driving the bus. [hrc.co.nz]

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523513)

Huh? What on earth are you implying by linking to the human rights commission of New Zealand?

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523823)

That situation is plenty familiar [imagehosting.us] to us in the US.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (0, Flamebait)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523458)

we do have more freedom of information and able to know more, then most other countries out there

Many, yes, but most? Did you actually arrive at that conclusion after checking the amount of freedom enjoyed in all the countries in the world, or do you simply assume that because you're from the USA, everything's bigger and better and freer for you than for just about anyone else?

Sorry if this comes across as flamebait (it's not intended as such), but it's a pet peeve of mine. Of course, if you actually *do* have evidence to back this up, I'd love to hear it.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523510)

Wow, aren't you touchy.

You do know that Americans pride themselves on their freedoms, right?

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (0)

bonehead (6382) | more than 9 years ago | (#13524025)

Not anymore. Ever since 9/11 we've been practically begging our government to take our freedoms away.

For fuck's sake, I now have to take my shoes off and have them inspected just to board an airplane. That's bad enough. What REALLY makes me sick is that almost every other person on that plane is happy that our govt is "taking such good care of us".

Meanwhile, the opened Mt. Dew bottle in my laptop bag passed through X-ray without being questioned. It happened to be filled with vodka, but it could just as easily have been filled with some nasty bio agent.

But THANK GOD they kept my cigarette lighter and nail clippers off of the flight!

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (5, Insightful)

Mullen (14656) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523619)

Simple test to see which country is more free.

Can you join a Nazi party in your Country? Many European Countries you can not, in the US, you can.
Can you buy a copy Mein Kamf? Many Countries you can not, in the US, you can.
Can you buy anything that is printed? In the United Stated, bomb making books are printed and sold, legally.
Are your basic rights outlined in your constition? Freedom of Speech, Right to Assemble, Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Religion are the basic foundations of this Country are protect by our Bill of Rights.

Europe and other countries can bash us for many reasons and in some areas are more free than we are, but in the Big Picture, we are more free than anyone else.

BLANK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523822)

Mod progenitor vertically, please.

Re:BLANK (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523897)

Slashdot's modding system seriously needs a (+?, Incomprehensible)

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (-1, Troll)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523890)

Yes, but if you buy a bomb making book and are of a middle eastern ethnicity will you go to guantanimo bay? In many countries you won't, in the US you will.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (1)

YayaY (837729) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523912)

Is the US still chasing commies ?

What a joke (5, Insightful)

piecewise (169377) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523935)

It's unfortunate you seem to hold most dearly those values related to the Nazi revolution. Unfortunately, I don't like settling for that kind of freedom.

If I'm blocked from attending a town hall meeting put on by my President because I'm a Democrat, I'm not very free.

If elections can be decided by a court, I'm not very free.

If neoconservatives can threaten to impeach judges because they don't decide cases based on religious contrine, I'm not very free.

If big businesses can invest their money wisely enough to buy off a Congress, I'm not very free. (See the energy, telecommunications, defense, highway bills.)

If oil companies formerly run by our Vice President get no-bid contracts and take over Iraqi oil fields, I'm not very free.

If the government office in charge of investigating abuses of power (like those no-bid contracts) say they're "too busy" to investigate Cheney, despite having three times the case load when they approved a Clinton investigation, I'm not very free.

If my uncle down south, along with others, is asked to leave his church because he's a card-carrying Democrat, I'm not very free.

If wealthy people get billions of dollars and, as a result, we cripple state budgets and tens of thousands of people die because of a Hurricane, I'm not very free.

The truth is, honest to God, I'd trade in my copy of "My Struggle" if it reversed all those things. Freedom is in the eye of the beholder. The rich and the religious feel very free. In fact, they feel ENTITLED. But the truth is, there's a reason Norway is #1 on the UN's list of countries to live in and the U.S. is #37. I can't imagine Norwegians are screaming for liberty and freedoms. They're free, they go about their lives, and they do well.

The U.S. has turned a corner and is on a very dark path right now. If you don't see it - even just a glimpse of it - then you need to, because power tends to consolidate, and if past actions lend to future ambitions, we're in for big trouble as neocons continue gaining strength.

Your simple test is misguided. It's not about which party you can join. After all - Germany had a problem with Nazis and outlawed them. We spent a better part of the 20th century tearing to pieces Communists in our own. Even today, in the 21st century, many folks spend their time talking about "killing" (yes, hate speech) the liberals who ruin this country. They are perverse, sick, disgusting individuals who are so entrenched in a false system of values.

The true test of freedom is the consolidation of power. Is it centralized in the people in America? I would say less and less. Corporatism is the new threat - and the neocons (and even many Conservatives) are perfectly aligned to feed it. This threatens our values. These are not our American values -- hell, they're not even good Christian values, if you want to bring religion into it.

Love your country, Mullen. Just don't love it too much. The Constitution is a pitiful and weak thing -- it is not the protector of our great democracy.

We are.

still enjoying the DMCA ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13524010)

Can you take apart and modify your own electronic equipment ? in the US you can't [copyright.gov]

Can you get a fair trial in front of your peers ? in the US you can't [guardian.co.uk]

Can you read books in your library without fear of being persecuted ? in the US you can't [epic.org]

Can you report stories as a journalist without fear of revealing your sources and being jailed ? in the US you can't [commondreams.org]

freedom is a good idea but its not working out very well in USA

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523627)

Your post IS flamebait, because like his, it's based on impressions and sentiment, not hard facts or logic.

Worse, you got pissy about the claim mainly because it was supposedly coming from a US resident, supported by your engagement in an ad hominum attack of the whole country because you didn't like a single person's attitude.

And then you didn't provide anything to contradict his claim, or really try to. But hey, you went off, did the in vogue 'USA is bad' thing that is so in vogue, then did a false pseudo-apology.

Most is usually considered a majority, or more than half. There are roughly 240 countries in the world, depending on what you consider a country or who decides to recognize what. It is unlikely he reviewed at least 120 some laws.

But neither did you when you made your *cough* inquisitive counterclaim, now did you? But maybe you believe differently because you believe there are 120 countries that are more free to information than the US.

Me, I agree with the other poster; just for the sake of argument, for a country with freedom of speech, religion, and press combined with the FOIA and like laws with our capitalism (our various venues that we can choose to provide us information) and our ability to access information (related to capitalism, e.g. Internet access, newspaper access, communication options), I agree with his claim because I can't think of 120 countries that have such transparency in government or laws or the options residents of the US have.

Of the majors from the top of my head, the USSR, China, Japan, Australia (ISP restrictions), Germany (no Nazi memorabilia), and France (extreme secularism) are out. I imagine the UK is out but I don't know enough about the treatment of the royals. I think Canada might be better.

Then again, I don't really care about the laws of Eritrea right now. But I don't pretend to either.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523761)

Blah, blah, blah... You complain about lack of information and then you go on and don't provide any either.

STFU moron

An easy way to think of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523465)

One of Businessweeks' Columnists had a very short and accurate description of how to think about China. Namely, think of Walmart - with an Army.

Needless to say, you'll get in trouble if you piss off the Company Store.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523504)

This is just another example of why I am glad to live here in the United States of America. We may complain about things from time to time, but at least we do have more freedom of information and able to know more, then most other countries out there.

I think you missed this story [slashdot.org] .

Communist 'cement-heads' always last to 'get it' (1)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523603)

Despite all of the 'dot-com' excitement and digital change in the past twenty years in the West, we tend to forget that China is still under the political control of the Communist Party. Even with all the talk about serving the people and all of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist political theory, the communist party is going to be the most backward, reactionary, brutal, and oppressive institution in any country that is still run by communists.
    I don't wish to sound like a old cold-war, earth-burning, Dr. Strangelove flag-waving American buffoon. Nevertheless, certain facts must be faced. And one of those facts is that regardless of where one's political stance is the communist party is going to be the most backward, reactionary, brutal, and oppressive institution in any country that is still run by communists. This is true no matter how stylish or technologically-aware the young people are in that country. The government in any communist country is still going to act like dictatorial thugs; making arbitrary and senseless decisions without any due process of international law.
    Now I know that you all are going to say that George Bush acts the same way. But American blockhead brutality (at least in the USA) is a far cry less from what passes as ordinary administration in any communist country. And this also applies to 'strong man' crypto-dictatorships in the post-Soviet orbit.
    So don't be surprised at this heavy-handed nonsense. The whole point of the Information Age is that the primary guidance of society passes from those who rule through systematic application of violence to those who guide by controlling the flow of information. China will enter the Information Age eventually, but it won't be easy or painless.

Re:Communist 'cement-heads' always last to 'get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523931)

You haven't tried comparing it to the nominally democratic Haiti, the racial slavery of the nominally democratic South Africa before the fall of apartheid, the US-traned Manuel Noriega dictator of Panama before it was invaded for failing to cut the drug trade, the theocracy of Iran and former theocracy of Afghanistan, or the stunning repression and genocide of Rwanda.

China is about as bad as you can be as a Communist country and survive into the 21st century, but they're hardly the only onese to try to regulate and centralize telephone control. Even the US tried to insist in various telephone regulations like the TeleCommications Privacy Act that no new phone technologies be permitted that did not meet federal approval for ease of wiretapping. Even the Electronic Frontier Foundation signed off on it, under the leadership of Jerry Berman when he ran that group in DC and basically sold their signature to whoever would give him the biggest lunches and hotel rooms for visits. (They've gotten better since dumping Jerry Berman.)

pc to fix line phone (1)

Tip_of_a_spear (913760) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523621)

I think pc to pc is fine. but using a fix phone line to talk to a computer or the other way arround uses other resources aside form regular internet connection.
But again, I think a large part is that this sort of activity cut into big corporation/government's bottom line, that's why skype is being shut out.
If you read chinese, here is a link
http://it.sohu.com/20050909/n240361738.shtml [sohu.com]
It is actually pretty supportive of china telecom's action

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523635)

I know that with China being a communist nation...

China is NOT a communist nation. It is an authoritarian nation. Big difference there. In other words, The authorities are asserting their authority. Tell me something new. It happens all over the planet. We don't need to single them out. We use IP law to do precisely the same thing. It all depends on the spin that's put upon it. You can use censorship to protect property or one's power over others. It makes no difference. It's still censorship. Your entire post sounds a little like a 1950s propaganda piece.

The tone of your writing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523722)

I couldn't help but feel you were being sarcastic the whole time you praised living in america. The patriot act allows the government to do things that are a lot worse than blocking an internet service. All that America rules hoopla doesn't really make me feel any better for not living in China. In fact im kind of worried about the possibility of Jeb Bush getting in office during the next election. Imagine what a Bush in office could do who didn't have an extremely faulty past.

Re:The tone of your writing... (1)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523837)

In fact im kind of worried about the possibility of Jeb Bush getting in office during the next election.
Actually, the consensus is that George will finagle a third term; you heard it here first.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523845)

Look out! Here come's and s! Why do you put an apostrophe in front of some s's but not other's? They feel left out. Thi's i's 'silly.

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (1)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523853)


This is just another example of why I am glad to live here in the United States of America. We may complain about things from time to time, but at least we do have more freedom of information and able to know more, then most other countries out there.

You'll be suprised how many countries there is actually out there.

*Most* countries have the same body of regulators, have you heard of this thing called the UN? Check it out same time, you'll find a lot of countries "doing the right thing" in terms of freedom and law.

Mod me down, but I hope that one day the US citizens will look outside the scope of their backyard once and while.

The Real Reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523906)

I hope you understand that I am telling you this out of great peril but the real reason that China Telecom is blocking Skype calls is because 34kso under si38lld Bu5h ak38dk 4 ana1 d3k54 fi5t .dk. .d. dd.fe3 . ...

Re:Sad Future of Broadband Access in other countri (4, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#13524018)

Don't ignore the fact that the USA's Department of Justice has the perverse idea that since an accident of technology (circuit-switched telephony) made it possible to monitor telephone calls, that situation should continue, regardless of changes in technology. They now view that capability as a "right", forcing others to build backdoors into their systems. It would be trivial to add strong link encryption, and end-to-end encryption for on-network calls, to modern cellular phone systems. Why don't we have it in the USA? Ask the FCC, DoJ and NSA.

This is surprising from Communist state-run media? (4, Insightful)

gearmonger (672422) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523332)

Now if we could somehow get a US company to pay Chinese workers $2 per hour to make Skype handsets for sale in China, then we might have a deal on our hands. Anyone?

Boy, its come down then (4, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523335)

China Telecom charges close to $1 per minute for calls to United States and Europe

Boy, it has come down then. When I was in China a few years ago it was $2/minute to the USA. It was a bargain to get to Japan and have calls cost only $1/minute.

Australia, last December by comparison was about 4 cents/minute on a phone card.

Can get much lower... (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523551)

If you have Vonage with a routerphonethingie, you take your local calling area wherever you are on the network. If you take your New York Vonage router with you to China, you can make local calls to New York. Calls to China, not surprisingly, are long distance.

Just one more way that VOIP is changing the face of telecommunications.

Re:Can get much lower... (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523610)

The whole point of this article is that China could start blocking this as well. Just because they're talking about Skype doesn't mean they won't make inroads to any other popular VOIP provider/protocol.

I'm wondering - if they're wanting to be restrictive, why don't they deny all but http access out of the country? Seems like they're gonna get to this point....

Re:Can get much lower... (2, Interesting)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523694)

They problably won't block anything else.. SIP and IAX2 aren't (usually) encrypted.

If Skype give the chinese government the encryption keys then I'm sure they'll be unblocked...

Re:Boy, its come down then (1)

grainofsand (548591) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523953)

Hmmm - China Tel charges between US$0.04 and US$1.40 for a one minute call to a US landline and between US$0.12 and US$3.40 per minute to a US cellphone number.

The cheaper rates are available if you agree to a contract - much like everywhere else.

But China Tel is not the only game in town - there are literally hundreds of resllers out there each specialising in a service or destination country.

I bought a card last week allowing me to send 3,000 SMS text msgs for a total of US$4.00

Best of luck with that (2, Interesting)

gunpowda (825571) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523343)

It's a legitimate, functional technology. This is all too reminiscent of the media companies' fear of a threat to their established business models.

Regardless of any efforts to block its use, once people realise the advantages of VOIP, organisations, whether Governments or companies who want to enforce some kind of monopoly, will have to embrace this worthwhile development.

Re:Best of luck with that (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523361)

I'm not sure how you think the Chinese government will 'have to embrace' anything. If they want to block IP telephony they can and will. What does the legitimacy or functionality of the technology have to do with what a dictatorial, repressive government can and will do?

Re:Best of luck with that (2, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523496)

Do you think China Telecom is blocking it to maintain a high profit margin, or do you think that $1/minute reflects the cost of eavesdropping on every conversation? I would imagine China blocking VoIP not due to cost, but because they want to control the information.

It may be a censorship issue (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523346)

If they aren't set up to tap IP telephony, then they'll want to block it until they are.

It's the way of such governments.

Re:It may be a censorship issue (2, Interesting)

Craptastic Weasel (770572) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523379)

Well... I have a good friend who is starting to do business in China, (specifically in the IT business) and from what I have heard, you don't just walk into China and set up shop. Any company that wants to play in China's market has to do it through

1.) The Government,
2.) A Chinese Big Business, or
3.) some nefarious underground type deal, (mafia-ish).
Profit ???

Basically, he has told me that if you try to skip this crucial relational step, they'll pirate, steal and plunder your market share there into oblivion. (Sorry Bill!)

I imagine with such a model market, they're very protective of the ones who play accordingly.

Just my .02 worth

(sig withheld as evidence)

Re:It may be a censorship issue (3, Interesting)

pv2b (231846) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523666)

Hm, interesting that. Skype uses encryption that (supposedly) makes it impossible (or at least very hard) to listen in on Skype calls. Maybe that's why China wants to block it?

Although, this would be no reason for them to block standard SIP, which typically is unencrypted. Although SIP is a generic enough solution to support encryption at some layer, most existing VoIP solutions don't do this. I know that my IP telephony at home doesn't use any encryption, but I'm not that concerned about it, since neither would a standard POTS line if I were to have one of those.

But then again, when you're not raking in $x/minute for phone calls, but instead routing IP traffic at your own expense, your budget for sniffing IP telephone traffic gets that much smaller. Why invest in new technology to eavesdrop on VoIP calls when you can just maintain the status quo by adding some new rules to the Great Firewall of China?

Re:It may be a censorship issue (1)

wheelbarrow (811145) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523735)

Is anyone surprised that a government that crushes their children's heads with tanks [wikipedia.org] is uncomfortable with the private exchange of ideas amongst it's citizens?

Eh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523348)

It's more likely that people call from here there, since it's cheaper from here.
Not that big of a tragedy; only skype loosing some market share.

The cause may lie elsewhere (4, Informative)

A Dafa Disciple (876967) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523363)

Could this have something to do with the fact that China Telecom charges close to $1 per minute for calls to United States and Europe?

As the article stated:
China routinely blocks access to Web sites on politically sensitive subjects such as the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement and the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square

I'd say it has more to do with the fact that people (mainly Falun Gong [falundafa.org] practitioners) like to use services such as Skype to tell Chinese mainlanders, who don't have access to free (as in speech) media, the truth about the persecution [clearwisdom.net] that's going on there.

Re:The cause may lie elsewhere (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523442)

These articles always use the 1989 Tiananmen square event to gain sympathy in the US.

How about using the "1997 Hong Kong handover" event instead. That's communist society gobbling up a capitalist society.

Re:The cause may lie elsewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523529)

News flash: China is about as communist as Ayn Rand's and John Birch's love child.

Re:The cause may lie elsewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523564)

If the Chinese officials really have the balls to stop these religious nutters from spreading their insanity, more power to them.

Re:The cause may lie elsewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523967)

Move to China. Then you can say that without being a complete fucking hypocrite.

Re:The cause may lie elsewhere (1)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523713)

Look. Tianamen was in 1989. It was bad. Democracy activists were killed. Falung Gong has nothing to do with democracy -- it is no different than any other cult -- the leaders are out to make lots of money by tricking the gullible peasants into joining. Crap about the "third eye" is not something anyone with any knowledge of biology is going to fooled by. I also doubt that many people who believe in third eyes are likely to be computer users.

Re:The cause may lie elsewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523754)

Aaand that's reason to murder and torture practitioners?

Sounds good enough to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523901)

I think we aught to round up all the Scientologists and put them in a volcano, then detonate a fusion bomb. That should help with their body thetan problem, no? Two birds with one stone, so to say.

Re:The cause may lie elsewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523898)

I also doubt that many people who believe in third eyes are likely to be computer users

And what exactly is your logic behind this statement?

If a person believes that, upon aligning themselves with the nature of the universe, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forebearance, they can ascend to higher states of being, thus opening up more of the universe for them, this somehow means that they aren't computer users? How are these related?Not to mention, many philosophers [stanford.edu] and scientists [strayreality.com] have been interested in a physically evident seemingly untapped vestigial "third eye."

While you're obsessed with computers and technology and confining yourself to only those pieces of the universe that you can see and feel, people are trying to improve themselves and return to their origin.

Try opening up your heart and your mind and saving yourself from this prison.

Re:The cause may lie elsewhere (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523807)

falun gong is either a CIA-run propaganda machine or a cult like any other but where the cult leader is a disaffected (but now wealthy) Chinese person living in America.

Or both.

Either way, its got nothing to do with democracy or any freedom other than the freedom to send money to some guy in America.

What kind of dumbass question is this? (0, Troll)

sixtyfivebit (884544) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523364)

"Could this have something to do with the fact that China Telecom charges close to $1 per minute for calls to United States and Europe?"

No, it has nothing to do with the fact that China Telecom charges close to $1 per minute for calls to United States and Europe.

does anyone else (1)

834r9394557r011 (878286) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523370)

notice just how 1984esque this is, really?

Re:does anyone else (1)

Snover (469130) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523383)

No, actually, my critical thinking turned off the last time I watched TV news and I still haven't been able to get it working again. Thanks for the tip. ;)

How is it identified for blocking? (3, Interesting)

quadong (52475) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523418)

Anyone have any idea how they are identifying SkypeOut traffic? Skype makes a pretty serious effort to be hard to identify. Do they just block the login server?

Re:How is it identified for blocking? (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523536)

Wow, 2/3rds of the way down the page and I finally get an interesting response. :)

Yeah I'm wondering the same thing too. My guess is that Skype was just caught unaware and was sitting there with its ass in its hands like the original Napster service was. Big centralized login server, easy to block. "Problem" for the Chinese, solved.

VoIP isn't just going to go away, although Skype as a corporation probably will, at least from the Chinese market. But there are lots of ways to disguise an internet phone call -- encrypt it and bury it in HTTP traffic, for instance. You'd have to decentralize the system and probably lose any opportunity to make profit at least in the way Skype does now, but it's not tough to do. I don't think the Chinese would be stupid enough to just block all encrypted data traffic, since it would shut down basically all electronic commerce and banking.

The peer-to-peer file networks basically do the same thing: they provide a directory which you then use to open a direct connection between two computers on the internet, to transfer information. In the U.S., where telephones are ubiquitous and service is cheap, they get used for (mainly contraband) data. But perhaps in China, where you can buy the latest pirated movies on every corner, it's the phone conversations that are the contraband that want to be moved over such a network. The same sort of distributed database which normally holds file names, hashes, and other metadata could contain people's names or aliases and IPs.

I find it interesting and a little ironic that the file sharing networks of the U.S. and Europe could potentially become a disruptive freedom-spreading tool for people living under an oppressive government. Or maybe it's not ironic at all, it's just the degree and type of oppression they're being used against.

Re:How is it identified for blocking? (2, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523813)

Skype knew this was coming: they have enough people with clues who've worked in telephony and web content providing and dealing with the unconstitutional US government restrictions on the RSA encryption at the core of their technology that their lawyers and techas *must* have thought about it.

Avoiding the political censors is a laudable and reasonable goal, but getting clever this way makes it that much tougher to have a real phone policy in a secure environment where you are *not* supposed to have un-logged phone calls.

By the way, the US export encryption regulations were already ruled unconstutional once, but got transferred to another federal department and are wending their way back through the court challenges once again. Those are what blocked a similar quality encryption that was absolutely end-to-end secure almost 20 years with the PGPPhone published for Macintosh modem users.

not because of money (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523423)

Actually, they are blocking because Skype is more or less a peer to peer protocol, and it's very hard to monitor the conversations.

Anyway, this is the day that the great firewall really becomes useful (in a painfully annoying way)

by the way, calls from china to the US are not 1 dollar per minute. nobody uses those services. everyone buys IP cards for maybe 2 cents a minute or so. FYI

How ironic... (1)

Humorously_Inept (777630) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523424)

What I really love about these "Telco_X Blocking VOIP" stories is that Telco_X is already using, or at the very least implementing, this technology to make your calls cheaper for them. The only circuit that still exists is the one between your house and the local Telco_X exchange. Everything else is or will very shortly be packet switched.

I am talking to Shenzhen NOW on skype (4, Informative)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523427)

Are you SURE it's blocked? I have colleagues in Shenzhen and HK and just finished a skype conf call with several of them and didn't have any issues getting through. Granted, it wouldn't surprise me given China's often ham handed attempts to control communications infrastructure. But before we go accusing them of something that wouldn't be so surprising, let's make sure it's actually happening and not some temporary glitch. Cheers,

mod up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523540)

**Mod up? This is a real-life example from the field on this topic, shouldn't that be given at least some credit?**

Re:I am talking to Shenzhen NOW on skype (5, Informative)

wangxiaohu (736032) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523651)

This is true. I have my family in Shenzhen and I study in Canada. We phone each others on Skype frequently and found no problem. BTW, calling from China to Canada is about few cents per minutes, not $1.

Lived in China two years, no surprise to me (4, Insightful)

jjn1056 (85209) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523444)

This is what happens when a fascist oligarchy adopts the worst aspects of capitalism.

Funny, I was in Beijing two months ago and there was a HUGE billboard for Skype, right in the center of the business district.

My guess is that they are just using a heavy hand to pressure skype into two things:

1) handing over some money/bribes.
2) making sure they can listen in on conversations
3) They did something like this to Google a few years back. Even now google experiences outages all the time. I guess this is just the way the chinese gov't is used to doing business.

Skype just has to figure out the right person to bribe and this will all go away.

Re:Lived in China two years, no surprise to me (1)

Toddlerbob (705732) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523698)

My guess is that they are just using a heavy hand to pressure skype into two things:

1) handing over some money/bribes.

2) making sure they can listen in on conversations

3) They did something like this to Google a few years back. Even now google experiences outages all the time. I guess this is just the way the chinese gov't is used to doing business.

I totally agree. I can't help but think that if skype gives them the ability to listen and record conversations, it will no longer be such a big deal. How that would work on a peer-to-peer network, I don't know, but I remember being floored when I first got on the skype to China and realized that they couldn't decode the encryptian on the call, or on the attachments that I sent. I knew it wouldn't last.

In Soviet Russia... (1, Funny)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523473)

...Voice-Over-IP blocks *you*!

Bird Flu? (1)

Narmer_the_King (902532) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523490)

Maybe this is also about cutting off communication ties in a town because the Chinese authorities have something to hide. Shenzhen (and other localities) saw a recent outbreak of a bizzare pig-related illness that killed people over the summer. Some speculate that this was, in fact, a nasty version of Bird Flu (that thankfully seems NOT to have gotten out of hand). Virtually no epidemiologist believes the official line that this was a bacterial outbreak. There have been lots of reports of government cover-ups much like the early days of the SARS outbreak. Maybe Skype is getting the boot to keep the lid on reporting/rumors of ongoing or possible future outbreaks? Here are links about it: http://in.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx? type=worldNews&storyID=2005-08-23T173823Z_01_NOOTR _RTRJONC_0_India-213550-3.xml [reuters.com] http://www.recombinomics.com/News/08170503/Suzhou_ Swine.html [recombinomics.com] http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2005/08/the_glo be_and_m.html [typepad.com]

I have a workaround... (1)

Chocolate Teapot (639869) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523500)

...just get one of these revolutionary Skype-over-PSTN [google.co.uk] devices.

Priorities (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523512)

Having VoIP (which is an unreliable technology mostly just good for cheap low quality unreliable phone calls) banned in China is minor compared to the fact people are TORTURED, IMPRISONED FOR YEARS, and EXECUTED for political crimes.

Re:Priorities (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523739)

Yes, but that would come under the heading of "Your Rights Offline", whereas this is "Your Rights Online".

Now if the would only block (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523543)

WoW.

This is a problem? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523553)

Lets see.. A sovereign state wants to regulate its telecommunications.. What is the problem here?

This is really bad for me... (1)

fonos (847221) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523609)

I might be moving to China because of my dad's job and they flew my family and me out there about 3 weeks ago to see Beijing. The roaming charges are ridiculous and I ended up having to pay for $260 of roaming charges from my dad's cell phone just calling my gf in the states. The last few days I used Skype which was awesome, but now this happens and I'm pissed. This is just bullshit now. Fuck you Chairman Mao.

$1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13523617)

This means US dollar right?

Or does it mean Chinese currency?

Never thought I'd say this (2, Insightful)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523732)

I never thought I'd say this, but China's leaders need to keel over and die due to 'natural causes', with the help of a few allied governments' militaries.

I'm usually all for leaving other countries' governments alone, but I'm starting to feel like there's a certain threshold which you can stifle people's rights, and China is well past that and needs to be dismantled/reshaped.

Btw, I should note, that I don't feel like this solely due to Skype - I could care less about skype.. Watching a country try and make information and self-education disappear is both hillarious and saddening. It is hillarious because they will never succeed in the long run, it is saddening that they have succeded in general for now and succeeded in limiting so much other information.

Re:Never thought I'd say this (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523746)

I'd like to clarify/add to what I said.. It's hillarious because not only is it hard to reconcile against reality, but it's like watching the meth lab down the street burning down and the people running it are trying to put it out with dixie cups filled with water.

Re:Never thought I'd say this (1)

newsblaze (894675) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523960)

Heres a story just out, regarding human right improvements. China, Canada Vow to Improve Human Rights [interestalert.com] . The Chinese will get to it as they are cajoled into business deals. Its not easy to change from where you are to where you are going. There is a lot to be said for stability - but they can be pretty ruthless when they don't get their own way.

Re:Never thought I'd say this (1)

newsblaze (894675) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523900)

The world is evolving. Just because you've had freedom all your life, you can't make another country do what you want. All you can do is push and coax them along. They will get to it or their people will push them into it. The whole world moves in cycles. There are lousy practices here in the US, where other countries are ahead. You don't hear them threatening to do dire things to americans because you are behind them. Calm down a bit, you'll feel better.

Re:Never thought I'd say this (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523930)

You're definately correct, I was expressing a feeling more than a, "phone up your senators" sort of thing ;o)

We SHOULD care (1)

madstork2000 (143169) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523753)

We all know this is bad for the Chinese; however, this does effect us in several indirect ways.

First it makes us more tolerant to abuses here in the USA (sorry non-USA folks out there). For example as the Patriot act erodes our freedom, we can be more tolerent because we see other governments abusing their constiuency even more. So we let the abuses slide since we can always say "at least its not as bad a China).

Second it sets a precedent for the lobbyists to follow. Our telcom industry will say to the congress, "look mwe are lossing $$$$ because of this, and when we loss $$$ your constituents lose jobs." Then they say look at how effectively CHina handled the problem...

Third, the (this might be a stretch, but hear me out), it erodes our belief in one of our most sacred beliefs - Freedom of SPeech - which - really means the freedom to communicate, Communication, be it to the masses via a newspaper, or to your best friend via IM is fundamental to society. Any restriction is wrong. What is going to stop them from blocking email (I know they won't because they like the money SPAM generates), or IM.

Here is a more direct example. I don't know anyone in CHina, but I regularly get calls via Skype from customers in South America, Europe and Austrialia. If those countries take a similar hardline approach, I will likely lose customers.

Anyway, this sucks for the Chinese, and will have an impact on teh rest of us in some fashion.

-MS2k

Guess they'll have to change their motto (1)

ilyanep (823855) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523774)

"Skype -- the entire world, except for China, can talk for free"

mask the packets? (1)

nlh (80031) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523806)

Pardon my ignorance on the subject, but I was under the impression that any type of packet blocking/filtering can be pretty easily overcome by simply masking the packets someway? (i.e. wrapping them in a different protocol via SSH tunnelling or something like that....) Again, I'm unclear on the details, but isn't something like this possible?

 

Off topic (1)

humaniverse (838580) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523852)

Read some replies. Maybe this is off-topic. China becomes hot topic again and again on this site, mostly blamed or sympathized. It's look like joke to me. I'm Chinese, stay in US for years. Tell you what, China has its own means to deal with issues/problems. It's not prefect, but it's always the most practicable approach. That's China/Chinese surviving skill. You guys can NOT stand on Western foot to judge China, no way, never worked, will never work. China has at least 2500 years history with everything documented. She doesn't need to be told what is right or wrong. America has 300 years history is just equivalent to one dynasty in China. It's just too short to tell who is right for American. We saw all kinds of countries rose and gone, we are still here!. In Chinese philosophy, don't be too extreme, choose balanced approach is the way to live, and longer. Central government has to control that. If not, it will be replaced sooner or later either peacefully or brutally. And continue to live in this way. I'm pretty sure China is still there after 1000 years. But I really doubt if America will be there after 200 years with current Western approach (use force) to resolve disputes around the world. Chinese knows very well what they are doing. If you don't get it, don't make rough judgment. Sorry for any inappropriate wording if any. I'm going back to China.

Re:Off topic (0, Troll)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 9 years ago | (#13524021)

Oh, I don't know, that whole force thing worked for Rome 2000 years ago. We're all really just spin-offs of that period. We've survived, too. I suppose you could say its even more important that, after 300 years, we're best buddies with the people we fought for our independence.

The real potential danger for China is that Top-dowm management has worked for them for a couple of millenia, and they figure it'll be good for a few more. Communications, on the other hand, is advancing so quickly that grassroots is taking over. That's the part the the US has learned, and why there is this chasm of disagreement.

Not that grassroots necessarily results in a good thing all the time. Look at all the people who voted for Bush. Before you flame me, most of them were convinced that he was going to be making the decisions. He is probably one of the most handled presidents in modern history. But they voted for him anyway. *shrug* This too, shall pass. In a ground-up system, it's hard to move too far in one direction. Sort of a brownian motion for politics.

China clearly believe they are right. So does the US (well, those who agree with the administration, at least). Just believing doesn't make it so.

Skype vs. China (1)

dlipa (913765) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523855)

Having just returned to the US from a post in a Beijing technology law firm, I can tell you that this move has been coming for a long time and nothing is going to stop it. China's state-owned enterprises are very aware of emerging technologies like VOIP and have the power and motivation to protect the technologies that have supported their bottom line since the '80s. These behemoth companies lack the know-how to scale tech like VOIP to the consumers in the Eastern cities who are actually starting to develop disposable income, so they simply use their government muscle to stonewall and prevent smaller players from introducing fresh products. This is a classic example of regulators being in bed with the corporate goons and the consumer losing out, and is one reason why America's economy will retain an adaptive advantage the forseeable future. This is clearly an enormous obstacle for the American and European entrepreneurs who are, increasingly, betting their reputations on selling slick new technologies to China's 1.3 billion consumers. You just can't brush outdated Chinese corporations aside by marketing a better product. Smart entrepreneurs will find a way to get in bed with the government too.

But, as another poster pointed out, you can still use Skype in Shenzhen -- China's big problem is enforcement. The software dealing with internet searches in China is primitive and random -- searching 'map of Guangzhou' is equally likely to earn you a 1-hour Google ban as searching 'falun Gong resistance movement'. China's government is not large enough to police 360 million Internet users, and their engineers are not as good as America's, so any kind of truly effective enforcement seems farfetched. They face a problem of both scale and skill. In the US we hear all these myths about the repressive internet regime in the PRC, but in reality it's kind of a farce. You really have to consider the size and pace of this country -- Shenzhen is a city larger than New York that was a fishing village in 1995. Who can really keep track of such rapid development? What I think will happen is that people will always be able to use the Skype technology in some capacity, but the company (and its peers) will be on the rocks in terms of expanding in China until they find a way to sell the idea to the government.

Four days ago, Skype signed a joint venture agreement with the Chinese wireless company TOM Online. What I think you are seeing here is that Skype bet on TOM's connections and know-how to protect them from the Chinese government, but in fact TOM's size and political weight are tiny compared to China Telecom's, so they are getting thrown around because China Telecom perceives a threat. What Skype should have done is tried to sell the idea to China Telecom or China Mobile, even if they would have taken a less lucrative contract. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here, but I predict until Skype redefines their strategy and relationship with the government, they will be kept out of the market.

Re:Skype vs. China (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 9 years ago | (#13524029)

This is a classic example of regulators being in bed with the corporate goons and the consumer losing out, and is one reason why America's economy will retain an adaptive advantage the forseeable future.

Please tell me you're not claiming regulators and corporate goons aren't in bed with each other in the U.S...

Overreacting (2, Insightful)

FRiC (416091) | more than 9 years ago | (#13523932)


I think this is just overreaction by Reuter and other slashdotters. Internet based phone is incredibly common in China, you can buy "IP Phone cards" that work with any phone for ridiculously cheap prices. (100 RMB cards selling for 50 RMB, plus buy one get one free.)

Skype has always been somewhat blocked in China since they signed the agreement with tom.com. Sometimes buying credits directly from Skype.com doesn't work unless you're an existing user. Sometimes the entire skype.com site is blocked.

As for popularity, QQ has far more users and is known by even non-computer users...

Hmmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13524000)

"China Telecom Blocking Skype Calls"

Isn't this known in the USA as the Patriot Act? I mean instead of placing fear into the hearts of dissentists or those who are on the extreme end in exercising their freedom of speech, they just tell the companies who own the infrastructure--"don't allow it. period." In China freedom isn't free, you need to pay the companies big buck to persuade the gov't there. Hmmm...

Actually, it sounds more clear cut than an ambiguity of "freedom". And it will bring down costs (i.e. less people YACKING about NOTHING). Also, sure makes any intel firm's job much easier to filter out the chatter.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?