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[liberationtech] Google Bows Down To Chinese Government On Censorship

Maxim Kammerer mk at
Sat Jan 12 01:58:37 PST 2013

On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 1:14 AM, Hal Roberts
<hroberts at> wrote:
> I'd like to back this up.  I haven't done any research on circumvention
> usage for a couple of years, but it doesn't pass the sniff test to claim
> that a majority of the 500 million Chinese Internet users are on VPNs. Such
> widespread VPN usage would have large, obvious impacts on the basic
> structure of the Internet.

All you are doing is pointing out obvious flaws in the Wired report. I
can just the same present the obvious counter-argument that regular
non-VPN users very rarely search for terms related to whatever
revolutionary movements are currently considered sexy in the West. I
have only quoted Wired and TechCrunch as two sources that did a bit
more than rewriting GreatFire's blog post. This says nothing about
user experiences. It is certainly possible that Google pulling out the
censored words warning was due to something done by the Chinese in the
days prior to that, where that something resulted in user experience
being worse (e.g.: users being blocked despite using synonyms, or
presented with unusable results that will get them blocked anyway). I
don't see any reason to trust GreatFire's judgement on the matter,
because it took them a month to notice the change, which goes contrary
to claims about user experience getting worse.

Maxim Kammerer
Liberté Linux:

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