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[liberationtech] Google Bows Down To Chinese Government On Censorship

Martin Johnson greatfire at greatfire.org
Sat Jan 12 22:38:19 PST 2013


"All you are doing is pointing out obvious flaws in the Wired report."

Yes. Since you used it as a source it seems relevant to point out its flaws.

"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."

Examples of search terms blocked on Google by the GFW (sexy in the
west?): 中共 (The Chinese Communist Party), 习 (to "study", also the last name
of the current Party leader), 五毛 (50 cents), 吴 and 周 (common surnames), 太子
(crown prince), 广场 (square), 日记 (diary) and thousands more (
https://en.greatfire.org/search/google-searches). Any search containing any
of these terms makes the connection reset and Google Search to be unusable
for about a minute. This is clearly a bad user experience affecting a lot
of users, including those not searching for "revolutionary movements".

"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)."

Please provide any form of evidence suggesting this to be true. I have
provided a copy of Google Search when accessed from China, as of early
December, demonstrating that the function was working at that point.

"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."

Yes, it took us a month to report on it and we are surprised as well that
nobody else reported on it prior to that.

Martin Johnson
Founder
https://GreatFire.org - Monitoring Online Censorship In China.
https://FreeWeibo.com - Uncensored, Anonymous Sina Weibo Search.
https://Unblock.cn.com - We Can Unblock Your Website In China.


On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 5:58 PM, Maxim Kammerer <mk at dee.su> wrote:

> On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 1:14 AM, Hal Roberts
> <hroberts at cyber.law.harvard.edu> 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: http://dee.su/liberte
> --
> Unsubscribe, change to digest, or change password at:
> https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/liberationtech
>
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