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China's Battle to Police the Web

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the losing-battle dept.

Censorship 171

What_the_deuce writes "For the first time in years, internet browsers are able to visit the BBC's website. In turn, the BBC turns a lens on the Chinese web-browsing experience, exploring one of the government's strongest methods of controlling the communication and information accessible to the public. 'China does not block content or web pages in this way. Instead the technology deployed by the Chinese government, called Golden Shield, scans data flowing across its section of the net for banned words or web addresses. There are five gateways which connect China to the internet and the filtering happens as data is passed through those ports. When the filtering system spots a banned term it sends instructions to the source server and destination PC to stop the flow of data.'"

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Internet browsers? (-1, Troll)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885764)

I didn't expect anything more literate from the BBC anyway...

Re:Internet browsers? (1)

hawkeye_82 (845771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885846)

This is editorialising. The BBC article does not have the term "Internet Browsers" in it. Nice trolling, by the way.

SSL? Freenet? (3, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885766)

I'm pretty impressed that they have the ability to scan the data in the first place. That must not be cheap, or easy.

However, if it is only scanning for keywords why aren't people bypassing it with encrypted websites, Freenet, etc?

I think if we were talking to some average Chinese students on the street we would get the real 411 on just how effective this "Golden Shield" really is.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (4, Informative)

lamarguy91 (1101967) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885836)

Did you not read the full article? They already are.

But there have been well-documented ways to by-pass China's firewall. One method involves connecting to a friendly computer outside China and using it as a proxy, to access websites that are banned.
China cannot block every computer outside its borders so this method has proved popular with citizens wanting unfettered access to the net.


I would like to know what else they are using. I might learn a thing or two from it.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (2, Interesting)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886006)

Well, they could get a server in a datacentre in the US and either RDP or VNC to it. Since the only thing being transmitted then becomes images, the Shield wouldn't be able to do anything useful with it.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (2, Funny)

IkeTo (27776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886636)

My understanding is that those the Chinese government really afraid of are those "naive" users. So if you display that you are not in this (major, at least that's what they'd think) set of users, say by using encryption, they no longer bother.

the US does the same thing (3, Interesting)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885860)

on much more data, they just don't block people.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885930)

However, if it is only scanning for keywords why aren't people bypassing it with encrypted websites, Freenet, etc?

The expats I've met in China use Firefox with the Tor extension. It slows things down, so they just normally browse, and then active Tor when they want to go to a banned site.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (4, Interesting)

wbean (222522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885954)

Well,yes, you can do that. But I have a friend who lives in Beijing and he tells me that if you use a vpn and have too much traffic across it they will shut it down. So the firewall is aware of the presence of the vpn and can measure the traffic. Furthermore, too much use of a vpn may cast suspicion on you.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886460)

And in many places in the world, suspicion can be all it takes to ruin your life ( or even end it ), even if you are innocent.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886368)

I'm pretty impressed that they have the ability to scan the data in the first place. That must not be cheap, or easy.

Good old American knowhow always gets you through the day.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (2, Interesting)

Jekler (626699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886416)

Oppressing an entire population is never cheap. However, when that same population is scoured for the resources to oppress them the method pays for itself. Keeping the Chinese population ignorant of their government's workings keeps the wheels turning.

Imagine keeping a worker in a basement turning a wheel that powers your house. If you use the energy he generates to power a lock on the door, and use a portion of that power to keep him from getting any information on how to quit working, the system pays for itself.

The Chinese people make incredible innovations, their labors lead to powerful technological developments. Those technologies are then used to keep the Chinese people from escaping their societal prison.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (4, Interesting)

Sigismundo (192183) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886490)

A Chinese colleague of mine explained a simpler way that some Chinese have used to get past the censors. For instance, the character fa [mdbg.net] of "Falun Gong" gets split into two characters. The left part (the three dots) represents water, so shui [mdbg.net] is used instead. Without the three dots, fa becomes qu [mdbg.net] . So rather than write Falun Gong, a message board poster might write Shui-qu-lun Gong. This could be figured out by a person reading it, but wouldn't be found by computer search.

This was a while ago, and I assume that such a simple substitution would get figured out pretty quickly, but I thought it was neat.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886872)

Interesting.

Kind of like saying "Its Five-Oh" and "The Fuzz".

It could be a lot harder to filter "street slang" when that begins to filter out legitimate terms used in everyday circumstances.

Re:SSL? Freenet? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886962)

C001. Ch1n33s l33t !!!

Re:SSL? Freenet? (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887338)

Actually christian missionaries in China use similar methods of communication. If you send an e-mail to someone inside of China (or vice-versa) and include the word "Jesus" it'll show up blank. So you have to use other non-religious words to get your point across. That was a few years ago that I experienced that first hand. At the time I was surprised by the level of filtering. Now I just take it for granted :-/

Re:SSL? Freenet? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22886604)

That must not be cheap, or easy.

How dare they destroy Chinese culture!

encryption? (-1, Redundant)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885772)

the great thing about the internet is you really can't censor it. just ask the riaa. the methods mentioned here can be surmounted with encryption. yes, a wide open web can be destroyed by authoritarian governments. but communication can still occur, with a little extra effort

Re:encryption? (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886094)

Unfortunately there are a few orders of magnitude in the difference of power between the Chinese government and the RIAA.

Re:encryption? (4, Funny)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886944)

Unfortunately there are a few orders of magnitude in the difference of power between the Chinese government and the RIAA.
That may be true at the moment, but the Chinese are catching up pretty quickly.

Censorship (3, Insightful)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885776)

But of course, that's nothing compared to the terrible censorship we endure in America!!

(I'm just tired of people complaining about this place becoming a police state)

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22885826)

Stop whinning... :)

Re:Censorship (2, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885984)

I know you are sarcastic, but really although China has a ton of censorship, the US though says it doesn't have censorship and for the most part people believe that, China on the other hand most people know that it censors and will find ways around it. For the US most are blissfully unaware....

Re:Censorship (1)

lostokie (1229804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886180)

What is being censored and who is censoring it?

Re:Censorship (3, Interesting)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886236)

I'm gonna have to say you are blissfully full of crap. What is censored in the US that you can access outside of it?

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22886862)

Re:Censorship (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887068)

Yes, it was so censored that I just loaded that webpage. :ROLLSEYES:

Re:Censorship (2, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887016)

There are different forms of censorship, and you're only focusing on one of them.

One form is not allowing people access to content by blocking it. That's what China does.

Another way to censor is to fine people who display unwanted content. The US uses this to keep "bad language", images of a sexual nature, etc. off of non-premium television stations.

Another form of censorship involves controlling the media. The current administration does this primarily by blacklisting reporters who don't play nicely. Ask a question that's not on the list of safe topics, and good luck interviewing anyone in the government again.

Banning demonstrations are also a form of censorship, and another form that the US engages in. Search for "free speech zones" for a better understanding.

Re:Censorship (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887208)

The Internet is one big free speach zone. That's my point. I'm not going to broaden this discussion to include all kinds of censorship like self-censorship (which you and I do all the time by the way, it prevents me from calling you and asshole and it prevents you from calling me a tosser) or propaganda or even playing nice. My point was that our Internet access is not censored. If I wanted to go on the most anti-US website out there I could and as long as I didn't make a threat on someones life or threaten the security of the nation by posting a plan for an attack on the government then I would be fine.

Re:Censorship (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887246)

That's fair, I guess, though I don't think that it's reasonable to only discuss one facet of life if you're concerned about a police state (which the original poster explicitly mentioned.)

Re:Censorship (1)

all5n (1239664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887526)

"Another form of censorship involves controlling the media. The current administration does this primarily by blacklisting reporters who don't play nicely."

When the question itself is biased, I wouldnt either. Many of the questions start with a false supposition.

Reporter: It is Well Known(tm) that American Troops are killing all the Iraqi babies they can find, why would the Administration say that they have ordered these killings?
Bush: No order has been given to kill babies.
Reporter: So how many Dead Babies is enough for the Administration?
Bush: No order has been given to kill babies. ...
ad infinitum

Re:Censorship (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886468)

For the US most are blissfully unaware....

I don't disagree with you. Certainly the US has the capacity to censor as much as they want but thus far the main culprit has been self-censorship of various forms.

Most Americans never reach beyond news.yahoo.com or time.com. Clicking on a link that takes them to The Register may be as far afield as they are likely to get. As distilled as these news sources already are, they are getting worse as the economics of the news business forces newspapers and press agencies to layoff and close more and more foreign bureaus.

There are many foreign sites (with English versions) that provide excellent coverage of the world that, even if you don't always agree with them, at least provide alternative viewpoints. Of course, who knows what bells ring in Ft. Meade when you visit them.

Re:Censorship (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886556)

The lesson here is to know when you need to look beyond Main Stream Media (MSM) for information. For one thing Slashdot agregates news from a wide variety of sources. Many times I learn about news a day or two before the MSM start coverage of it. In addition you have to be willing to view blogs from time to time while taking what they say with a grain of salt until the story is confirmed. I pride myself on my ability to search out the facts on any given news story because of my willingness to look at all kinds of sources for that information. It doesn't really have to do with News agencies inside the US or outside of it. Plenty of small news sources don't self censor or are so extreme that they would never post a watered down story. You just need to look around a little harder.

Re:Censorship (5, Interesting)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887114)

Being a Brit, I love comparing US news sources to others around the world, including those of our "enemies", and I regularly find that news sources from the USA are very introverted compared not only to the BBC [bbc.co.uk] , but even Al Jazeera [aljazeera.net] and Chineese State news [cctv.com] are more outward looking (even if somewhat biased). It's not just the news of our enemies either I look at other allies [france24.com] news, they too are less introverted than their US [foxnews.com] equivilents [msn.com] . And it's not that you can't produce quality news from around the world, compare the versions of CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/ [cnn.com]
http://edition.cnn.com/ [cnn.com]

But who would think to put "edition" at the beginning of a URL?

Re:Censorship (1)

AlecLyons (767385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887546)

No one...you automatically get redirected to it if you access www.cnn.com from outside the US (or from the UK at any rate)

Too bad (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22886620)

(I'm just tired of people complaining about this place becoming a police state)

Some things may not be *as bad* in America as they are in China, but they can still be *bad*.

In fact, we are seeing a slow but stead erosion of various civil liberties.

Yes, things could be worse, but that is no reason to avoid making them better now.

some guy broke into a house (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22885804)

what about stuff that doesn't cross those barriers? like crap that goes between chinese computers only

Can get out with VPN (2, Informative)

Big Frank (921537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885816)

Lived in Shanghai for two years until last month. I could always VPN out through the Great Firewall of China to a server outside China (in Japan). It was slow but reliable.

Freedom! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22885828)

And a billion Chinese looked at the BBC website, and asked: "What does it say? I can't read English."

Re:Freedom! (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886356)

Many Chinese do read English.

Way to go BBC (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885840)

It is not clear why China's net population, the world's largest, is suddenly able to view the BBC News website after years of being blocked. Nor is it clear how long the access will continue.
I believe they may have just answered that question with this article.

China sucks. (1)

Portland Homes (1263430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885862)

This is just sad. I cant believe this type of censorship is still going on during this time in history.

Re:China sucks. (1)

hallucinogen (1263152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887214)

Is it really any different to self censorship? No wait, what's the difference again? The other takes place in the East and the other in the West?

How to frustrate the censors: a simple proposal (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22885876)

The Chinese censorship works by picking out key terms. So here's a simple way for you webmasters to really frustrate the censors. Everybody who's a webmaster for scientific and engineering and technical sites-- the ones that the Chinese really want their people to access-- here's what you need to do. Drop a couple of the forbidden terms in-- say "Free Tibet" and "Dalai Lama" and "Falun Gong" and "June 4 1989"-- at the end of your site. It can even be in white text on white screen; it doesn't matter if the humans can read it, as long as the robots can.

Now the censors are rapidly going to discover that the firewall isn't working, because suddenly it's blocking all the stuff they want their people to be able to get to!

Re:How to frustrate the censors: a simple proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22886902)

Darn-- what a pity; I get +5 Karma on a comment I can't post under my real name!

Re:How to frustrate the censors: a simple proposal (3, Interesting)

popmaker (570147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887628)

An interesting idea. This might seem a sily question, bu humor me... Is there anything on the internet the Chinese government WANTS their people to be able to get to or or anything that they would be worried about that people might not being able to get to? In other words, who would actually get hurt by this?

A practical example (1)

ihatewinXP (638000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887694)

Im trying to bang this out quickly before Chinese class (I live in Beijing) so forgive the hurry:

There is some site about Things White People Like on wordpress - and the whole site is blocked. Now using a proxy like StupidCensorship I can access the site - but somehow even through that there is something written on the TWPL: Asian Girls page that still gets blocked even through a proxy here!

That and wikipedia is always blocked but answers.com (which 99% of the time HAS the wiki article within) is not blocked.

Odd. That said its a wonderful place to live - the culture of being harassed by bored cops that exists in America is nonexistant out here. Just dont protest for Tibet and no one is going to mess with you generally....

Remind me again, why does China have MFN status? (5, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885878)

I don't get why China gets as many breaks as they do, including Most Favored Nation status (permanently!). The 2008 Olympics are looking more and more like the 1936 edition.

Re:Remind me again, why does China have MFN status (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885948)

China manufactures nearly all consumer electronics. And their domestic market is exploding. We need them more than they will soon need us.

Re:Remind me again, why does China have MFN status (3, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886312)

It's time to sever that tie. Chinese products even for consumer electronics are typically low quality, full of lead, and made by slave (by US standards) labor. Why companies get away with exporting all of their manufacturing over there when they get crap (literaly) in return is beyond comprehension. I don't mind stuff manufactured in Taiwan. At least that stuff doesn't break in a week. I'd like it even better if high tech manufacturing was done in the US but with equipment effecient enought to make it economical even when compared to China. I know it can be done. We just need some forward looking companies to jump on the bandwagon.

Re:Remind me again, why does China have MFN status (2, Informative)

lostokie (1229804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886324)

Wouldn't other countries pick up the slack if China lost most favored nation status and had to compete more fairly with other industrializing nations? Maybe even some of those jobs would move back to the US. China's advantage is lots of low cost manpower, and an extremely high tolerance for environmental damage. Many other countries have the same advantages. And US corporations may really want to get in on the ground floor of the newly growing markets in China, but currently the Chinese market doesn't matter for crap to the US economy. China is paying for a genocide in Sudan and committing one in Tibet. The US policy of promoting commerce in China in order to cool off Communist mass murder has utterly failed.

Re:Remind me again, why does China have MFN status (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886812)

You forgot that the United States owes China a LOT of money. It's like one of those old sitcoms where one of the characters owes another character a debt they can't repay so they just make them into their slave. Then they have them do silly things like give them foot massages, or paint their house, or look the other way on blatant human rights violations. Stuff like that.

More than just corporations selling us out, also (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886428)

Producing your own quality products in the US with US workers(or even a worker-friendly country) are 2 cardinal sins according to them.
  What's needed is someone who doesnt mind screwing over the (globalization happy)business community. We came close to having someone like that with Spitzer, and Strickland of Ohio fills that role here quite nicely. We already had the means and the know-how to do it quite well in-house. Bringing it back does not mean raking workers over the coals.

We do not need them, for they only make junk.

Re:More than just corporations selling us out, als (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22886882)

"We do not need them, for they only make junk."

Sounds a lot like my old man, 40 years ago... talking about Japan.

Re:30 years+ of junk and continuing (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887026)

While Japan went out of that, China hasn't.

Re:30 years+ of junk and continuing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22887122)

The Chinese made junk are so welcomed in Walmart and Kmart, average Americans just love Chinese junks, the price is cheap, the quality is good. The working families can not live without Chinese junks.

Re:More than just corporations selling us out, als (2, Interesting)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887184)

Producing your own quality products in the US with US workers(or even a worker-friendly country) are 2 cardinal sins according to them.
Well...duh. The US has much stricter environmental laws than China, so any industrial plants are going to have problems over here. They're going to be more expensive, if they're even feasible, meaning the costs of producing the goods goes up, and the prices that they must sell for in order to make a profit also go up. That computer you're typing on? You probably couldn't afford it if all of the parts had been made in the USA.

Then there's the workers. In China, a person working in a factory for a full day will make less than an American working on American soil does in one hour (given minimum wage plus benefits mandated by law.) Now that money that they make goes a lot further over there, so even if they're being underpaid, it's not by the margin that most people reading this would immediately expect. Nonetheless, it's another cost of doing business that would skyrocket if it was handled over here.

Re:Remind me again, why does China have MFN status (5, Insightful)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886520)

I don't get why China gets as many breaks as they do

Because they hold over $1.4 trillion dollars in US debt? Because they could crush our economy by unloading that paper [telegraph.co.uk] and their dollar reserves on the open market? Because the US is still going to China to beg for handouts because we can't balance our budget? Because their population of men available for military service exceeds that of the entire United States? And possibly, because our leadership, world famous as staunch defenders of civil rights themselves, really doesn't give a shit about Chinese human rights abuses?

But what do I know? I'm just guessing here...

Re:Remind me again, why does China have MFN status (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887394)

I don't get why China gets as many breaks as they do

Because they hold over $1.4 trillion dollars in US debt? Because they could crush our economy by unloading that paper [telegraph.co.uk] and their dollar reserves on the open market? Because the US is still going to China to beg for handouts because we can't balance our budget? Because their population of men available for military service exceeds that of the entire United States? And possibly, because our leadership, world famous as staunch defenders of civil rights themselves, really doesn't give a shit about Chinese human rights abuses?

But what do I know? I'm just guessing here...

Ah we have yet another person who does not understand M.A.D. Mutually Assured Destruction. If China destroyed our economy, they would also be destroying their own, we are after all by far their largest market. If China stops giving us loans, we will be forced to stop spending so much, which would destroy their economy (but would only be a temporary setback for ours). If China was to militarily attack the United State and was caught doing so, the entire country would be black ash within 2 hours, unfortunately so would we.

They succeed only by giving us a free ride, their economy will have to have a fairly large middle class with significant spending power before they will be able to stop trading with the United States. Even if they were to have a large middle class with immense spending power the wealth that the United States has amassed by basically screwing the rest of the world would be far to much to resist.

quick fix (1)

DanMelks (1108493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885880)

Just write a patch around this, source and destination see the firewall, don't accept stop requests from this source.

But of course this would be a small shell in the back and forth of any battle.

Re:quick fix (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885990)

Yeah, but you don't control the gateway, which would forcibly terminate the connection anyway.

Comcast??? (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885894)

When the filtering system spots a banned term it sends instructions to the source server and destination PC to stop the flow of data.'

Comcast has service in China???

Just Like (0, Redundant)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885910)

Gee, the Chinese are just like Comcast.

Re:Just Like (2, Insightful)

ashridah (72567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886054)

Actually, given that china's been doing this for a lot longer.... Comcast is just like China, I'd say.

Borrowed Time (3, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885912)

I believe (perhaps naively) that this 'Golden Shield' will ultimately prove to be a failure, current methods to circumvent it notwithstanding.

More than ever, information is becoming the lifeblood of a people. Without access to the full volume of information freely available to the rest of the world, China will fall behind in crucial ways. The filtering solution won't block out everything important, but it will block out some. Maybe someone mentions Tibet in his chemistry thesis and it's filtered for China, or whatever. There's a piece of information the rest of the world gets for free that a researcher in China might well miss.

Ultimately I think China will decide it's in its best interest to allow the free flow of information into the country, and that in turn will help drive their country ever more towards modern democracy.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. Maybe the future will end up like Red Dawn.

Let's speed up this process (1, Redundant)

evil agent (918566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886066)

My suggestion is to sabotage their filtering. Everyone should put key words and phrases like "Free Tibet" on every page on every site, regardless of the content. Then nothing will get through! That'll show'em...

Re:Let's speed up this process (1)

CowboyNealOption (1262194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886138)

Though one must wonder if the government pays a visit to people who go to sites that have terms like that in them? It would be pretty sad if by hiding these phrases I was the reason some guy went to prison.

Re:Let's speed up this process (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887254)

Won't work because your average English web pages are not blocked at all -- not even coverages of Tibet/FLG/Taiwan from CNN/NYT/WSJ. They don't care about English content much -- read some other comments I have posted. they blocked mpstly Chinese contents. Those who know English are the better-off class and not against their government.

Re:Borrowed Time (-1, Troll)

vsage3 (718267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886228)

Without access to the full volume of information freely available to the rest of the world, China will fall behind in crucial ways.
OTOH, their ignorance of Youtube comments might serve them for the better!


A girl died in 1933 by a homicidal murderer. He buried her in the ground when she was still alive. The murdered chanted, "Toma sota balcu" as he buried her. Now that you have read the chant, you will meet this little girl. In the middle of the night she will be on your ceiling. She will suffocate you like she was suffocated. If you post this, she will not bother you. Your kindness will be rewarded.

Re:Borrowed Time (1)

Jeff Carr (684298) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886530)

Of course, I could be completely wrong. Maybe the future will end up like Red Dawn.
Which part? The Russians invading Michigan or C. Thomas Howell being a tough guy?

Re:Borrowed Time (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887030)

Both.

Re:Borrowed Time (2)

fredericd (1263480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886900)

I don't think It's in the current Chinese government to let china become a democracy....

RE:China Sucks (1)

MomaSaid (1261420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885966)

They just don't want their citizens to know they ripped everyone's technology off and that they send baby toys to the US covered in lead. Call it national pride.

only 5 gateways? (1)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22885968)

i'm pretty shocked that all of China is served through only 5 gateways.

Re:only 5 gateways? (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886212)

in communist china the internet routes you?

slashdot it! (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886354)

Anyone have their IP? I wonder if they could handle a slashdotting...

Comcast (0, Redundant)

alta (1263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886004)

Is comcast acting as a consultant company for China? This sounds familiar.

Re:Comcast (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886464)

No, China is Comcast's consultant.

Can be? (1)

Apoorv Khatreja (1263418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886036)

A good way to bypass this system would be to use simple semantics. The government would eventually get fed up of tracking the different encryption techniques, and would probably give up.

And on another note, wasn't the Chinese government going to give this up? How would they specifically allow certain areas to get unfiltered access to the internet if the filtering occurs at the International Backbone level?

"Great Firewall of China" (3, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886052)

Such a system is inherently weak in that even crude encryption techniques render it worthless. Imagine, if you will, a basic anonymizer service using a 128-bit key system. Almost immediately, the robots and spiders would find your communications gibberish. Even the url visited would be garbled and useless. And to attempt to shut down the anonymizing service would be problematic should such a service be switched to a P2P setup, rendering it next to impossible to break.

Absolutely pathetic come to think about it.

Re:"Great Firewall of China" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22886344)

Hahaha. You're a bright one.

They shut off either source, or destination. It's not that difficult to stop the connection when you control the gateway. They won't care what it is, they'll only know they can't SEE what it is, and turn it off.

Re:"Great Firewall of China" (3, Insightful)

glop (181086) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886432)

You are looking at it from a technical standpoint. There is also a human standpoint: people in China know that they are being watched, so they self censor the websites they go to in order to be sure that they stay out of trouble.
It's a bit like when you are at work and you see some headline about the recent security problem at Facebook. You see Paris Hilton mentioned, so you stay clear from the link because you are not sure the article will be purely technical and not embarassing.

No need for a 100% efficient filtering system to frighten people and cause them to self-censor.

Suggestion for China Blocking - MAIL FROM (1)

ThOr101 (515492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886170)

Add that to their outbound filters or SMTP OK.

Anything to reduce the amount of SPAM that comes from those networks.

Re:Suggestion for China Blocking - MAIL FROM (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887216)

Or you could...you know...block all of China's address space from sending you mail. That's effectively what you're doing with this tactic.

Atlantic Monthly article (1)

barryp (31185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886174)

The Atlantic Monthly had an article [theatlantic.com] last month about this, and what I got out of it was that the Chinese government doesn't have to block everything, just make it inconvenient enough so that most citizens don't bother and instead stick with the in-country sites. It was a pretty decent article for a non-techie publication.

Re:Atlantic Monthly article (1)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886562)

Exactly what I was thinking.

There will always be ways for tech savvy people to get around this, and I mean really tech savvy people, not just kids who grew up knowing how to IM and text on their POS phones. For the overwhelming majority, they won't know how, and thus it will be effective enough.

Government not entirely to blame (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886282)

Read the comments by Chinese net users

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7313998.stm [bbc.co.uk]

They don't think that their media is at all biased. They believe "western" media is biased and has an anti-Chinese agenda.
Too much fucking national pride is what it is. When I talk to Chinese people, in China, I often get this weird apologetic "our country is crappy in a socio-economic way", but "our morals and cultural values are superior to your hedonistic, non-family oriented foreign ways".

It's creepy. Take a look at the China-daily forum if you have morbid interest. It's full of the craziest ranting racists I have ever seen...and I visited 4chan once.

Bottom line is, I don't think the government oppressing the people with censorship should be looked at in such a simplistic way. There seems to be a need for the censorship for many people on some level. Like they can't take a single bit of criticism of their precious middle kingdom and it's 5000 (actually 50) year great history.

Re:Government not entirely to blame (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886376)

That sounds a lot like the attitude of most Americans towards their media.

Re:Government not entirely to blame (2, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886388)

And where do they learn this?

From government sponsored schools and press releases.

They are victims of sweet sweet propaganda, so yes, you can blame the government. This is how totalitarianism works. China wants to block the internet to prevent it's people from finding the logical holes in their education.

Drinking contest? (1)

Atari400 (1174925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886446)

Would it be OK to talk about a tea bet?

If I had my way (1)

leereyno (32197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886580)

If I had my way, the individuals within the Chinese government responsible for this censorship would be hanged, drawn, and quartered. I'd release videos of the executions on youtube.

It is so easy for people to forget how fragile their rights and freedoms are. Unless you're willing to fight for them, to the death if necessary, then they are little more than indulgences on the part of the powerful.

R&D on spam and brute force attacks (1)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886660)

Why don't they spent a little time on capping the flow of spam and brute force attacks? Greylisting and RBLs block nearly all the spam, and I've just created netfilters to block all traffic that isn't what I consider "core" (dns, smtp, web) from China due to the huge amount of brute force dictionary login attacks on my systems via ssh and ftp.

Re:R&D on spam and brute force attacks (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887348)

Because China's economy grows when the Chinese make money, which reinforces the current power structure -- even if they're just stealing it from westerners in elaborate (or not-so-elaborate) wire fraud scams. However, when the Chinese people are made aware of the current power's abuses, they are more likely to rebel; this undermines the current power structure.

The powers that be don't care about justice; they just want to remain in power.

Having China stop its own spam... (2, Interesting)

WoodstockJeff (568111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22886930)

Hmm... a list of these banned words and phrases would make a good source of text to use in response to the HELO/EHLO dialog on an SMTP server... Have China block a compromised computer from accessing your server automatically!

I wonder... (1)

EddyPearson (901263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887178)

...what would happen if the list of banned sites, and more importantly the list of banned terms were made public, then the Chinese people would have a list of all the things their government didn't want them to know about. I'm sure they'd discover many things they'd simply never heard of owing to the suppression.

Who wrote the software? Supplied the hardware? (2, Interesting)

NotZed (19455) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887314)


Would you be capable of filtering all of China's net access using off the shelf boxes and some custom software, or would it need some specialised network hardware?

Are Cisco for (an obvious) example, supporting this censorship through hardware and/or software?

Re:Who wrote the software? Supplied the hardware? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22887510)

Are Cisco for (an obvious) example, supporting this censorship through hardware and/or software?
Sadly, yes. As are Microsoft, Nortel, Websense and Sun, among others.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=50A38A55EB758C0C80256C72004773CD [amnestyusa.org]
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