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[liberationtech] Images of Blocking in Different Countries?

Paul Hyland paulehyland at gmail.com
Wed Aug 15 06:35:06 PDT 2012


Rebecca MacKinnon would be one to ask about Internet censorship in China - she studied it at the University of Hong Kong a few years ago, and is on the board of Global Voices Online. She's now a fellow at the New America Foundation. 

Bio/contact info: http://newamerica.net/user/303

On Aug 15, 2012, at 2:46 AM, "Eric S Johnson" <crates at oneotaslopes.org> wrote:

> As far as I can tell, China doesn't "keyword-filter" in the sense most people think of that phrase. That is, the Great Firewall isn't inspecting all the text which flows through it, failing to deliver any web pages which have offending words. The filtering is of two main types:
> 1)      any of thousands of domains or specific URLs are on a static blacklist, and
> 2)      there is a small list of words which, if present in a URL, will dynamically result in blocking.
> The blocking is generally manifested as a “connection reset” page which looks to most users like “page not found.” China also poisons the DNS for some of the domains it blocks, but this is (as far as I can tell) redundant because of “1” above. (I guess it trips up some users whose VPN fails to tunnel DNS requests.)
>                Sometimes (inconsistently), an attempt to see blocked content results not only in the content not being delivered, but also a “punishment” meted out to the offending user: all attempts to access servers outside China fail for a period of between 5 and 10 minutes.
>                It’s “2” above which can be used to censor searches, since unencrypted access to Google from inside China (or to Baidu from outside China) puts the search terms into the URL. This censorship can easily be neutralised by accessing Google via HTTPS.
>                There are persistent reports that China’s cybercensorship can sometimes vary (a little) by ISP, but I’ve never seen this (I’ve only been to ~13 of the 34 PRC-defined provinces), and Alkasir hasn’t ever detected any such variations. (The internet in 3 of those provinces isn’t filtered: Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Of course, even if the PRC thinks Taiwan’s a province, Taiwan doesn’t think that.)
>  
> Best,
> Eric
>  
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu [mailto:liberationtech-
> > bounces at lists.stanford.edu] On Behalf Of Philipp Winter
> > Sent: Monday, 13 August 2012 16:15
> > To: Stanford tech list
> > Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Images of Blocking in Different Countries?
> >
> > On Sun, Aug 12, 2012 at 09:14:48PM -0700, Adam Fisk wrote:
> > > My understanding is that China just shows a blank page. Is that correct?
> >
> > That depends on the type of filtering. The keyword filtering infrastructure
> > forcefully terminates connections and depending on the browser you will get an
> > error message saying something like "The connection was reset".
> >
> > You can actually test it yourself by going to baidu.com and searching for
> > "falun".
> >
> > Philipp
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