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[liberationtech] Research on illegal satellite receivers?

Brian Conley brianc at
Sat Jan 21 16:33:22 PST 2012

Hi Ben,

Thanks this is very helpful, so to your knowledge there is no jamming of illegal services?

Also any information on how illegal dishes are located, is it just by routine inspections or is there a technological means being employed?



Sent from my iPad

On Jan 20, 2012, at 18:35, Hu Ben <ben.hugh at> wrote:

> Hi, Brian
>    ​at least In mainland China, its a vibrant industry to set up illegal dishes to receive foreign broadcasting.  you will have brochures on your doorstep advertising for " free, up to date Hongkong/taiwan/japan tv shows" and if you call  them, there will be some guy coming to your home, offer you a "menu" to choose different stations, and he will figure out which satelites he need to point at and decoders and everything, set it up in 2 hours. for about 200 dollars you can get BBC,DW, CNN and everything. at least that's how much I payed. 
>       Government do crack down upon these dishes, from time to time you will hear that Chinese Radio Frequency Authority drive through neighborhood to spot ilegal dishes, and fine the owner, or raid local "electrical market" to shut down these business. it can drive the price up a little bit,  but that's it. this is capitalism with Chinese characteristics. 
>    according to my experience in Vietnam, government control on illegal dishes is much more loose compare to China, every little family-runed hotel in Hanoi, or Saigon all have access to CNN, BBC, so on. you can also notice more dishes hanging outside of windows.
>    I think the tricky part is, most Chinese who set up their dishes are just for HongKong/Taiwan entertainment tv shows. the problem in hand would be, do people really want to watch un-censored news.  and of course, don't even bother if these news are not in their native language, Vietnamese or Chinese. 
> 胡贲  Hu Ben
> 南方周末 Southern Weekend
> 斯坦福大学耐特学者  Knight Fellow '2012 at Stanford
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> On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm wondering if anyone knows of research into illegal satellite dishes,
> particularly where there is a state broadcaster and other services are
> tightly controlled or outright illegal. I'm doing some research into the
> feasibility of broadcasting satellite news into such countries, but
> wondering how practical it really is to expect locals to modify dishes or
> purchase illegal decoders.
> Thanks as always!
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