Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Somebody in China tracking my blog and surfing habits!

Yes. That seems to be the case. Otherwise, how can they suddenly block Anonymouse out of the blue? I use this wonderful site called Anonymouse to get access to the sites that are blocked in China. It can also be used for anonymous surfing, which makes me feel much safer. I frequently use this site to view my own blog (yes, I can’t access it directly!)

When I tried to access Anonymouse this morning, “Page not Found” was the last page in the internet I expected. But that was to be the case. I have trying to access many times, tweaking around with my browser settings, but nothing seems to be working.

And with it also goes my access to Google News, which is intermittently blocked. Its almost 4 in the afternoon and I haven’t read today’s headlines yet. Aaargghhhh….


At April 26, 2005 2:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know if you saw this...fyi.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Study finds Chinese Internet filters sophisticated

By Anick Jesdanun / AP Internet Writer

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NEW YORK -- The Chinese government's Internet controls have kept pace with rapid changes in technology and are buttressed by self-censorship, university researchers said in a study Thursday.

One of the study's principal investigators, John Palfrey, warned that the sophistication of China's controls raises the prospect of a broken Internet and could show other closed states that censorship can be effective.

"Do we want to have multiple Internets, a China Wide Web, a U.S. Wide Web, a Saudi Wide Web, or do we want the whole World Wide Web?" asked Palfrey, who is executive director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

China's filters can block specific references to Tibetan independence without blocking all references to Tibet, according to the report by the OpenNet Initiative.

Likewise, the government limits discussions about Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama, Tiananmen Square and other topics deemed sensitive, the study finds.

Numerous government agencies and thousands of public and private employees are involved in censorship at all levels, from the main pipelines, or backbones, hauling data over long distances to the cybercafes where many citizens access the Internet.

That breadth allows filtering tools to adapt to emerging forms of communications, such as Web journals, or blogs, the study finds.

Because Chinese filtering methods constantly change, the government manages to keep its users off-balance, Palfrey said.

China is more successful than other countries in keeping the extent of its censorship efforts secret, he said. Elsewhere, visitors trying to access a banned site generally get a message saying it has been blocked. In China, content often is simply removed rather than replaced with a notice.

Google Inc. has acknowledged its Chinese-language news service, which was introduced on a test basis last fall, leaves out results from government-banned sites. The company says this is done so users won't grow frustrated clicking on dead links.

China, with the second-largest population of Internet users behind the United States, promotes Internet use for business and education, while trying to curb access to political dissent, pornography and other topics the communist government deems sensitive. Many users find ways around the controls -- for instance, using "proxy" servers that mask a site's true origin.

It is through similar proxy servers and long-distance calls that researchers outside China managed to test what users inside China see. The researchers also employed volunteers inside the country to conduct more extensive testing.

They deployed software and physical equipment called packet sniffers to monitor traffic and try to gauge where content gets dropped. Many Internet systems have security flaws through which outsiders can sneak in software, Palfrey said, refusing to elaborate on the researchers' techniques.

Funded by George Soros' Open Society Institute, the OpenNet Initiative is a collaboration of researchers at Harvard, the University of Cambridge and the University of Toronto working on issues of Internet censorship and surveillance.

Their testing determined that:

--Though some dissidents complain that e-mail newsletters sent in bulk are sometimes blocked, individual messages tend not to get filtered.

--Much of the filtering occurs at the backbone, but individual Internet service providers sometimes deploy additional blocking. Cybercafes and operators of discussion boards also control content proactively under threat of penalties.

--Filtering tends to be triggered by the appearance of certain keywords, rather than a visit to a specific domain name or numeric Internet address. The keyword-based filters also allow blogs to keep people from completing posts containing banned topics.

"You can filter much more precisely at a keyword level," Palfrey said.

On the Net:


At April 26, 2005 9:07 AM, Blogger Oriental Desi said...

I did miss out on that! Thanks for the article!


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