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[liberationtech] VPN now illegal in China

Martin Johnson greatfire at greatfire.org
Wed Jan 23 23:38:10 PST 2013


Thanks Bert for discussing this topic. I think your description of the
Great Firewall of China as the "21st century version of the Berlin Wall of
the Cold War" is spot on. I would be very happy to see more of the talented
people subscribing to Liberation Tech discussing how to deal with online
censorship in China.

I am the founder of GreatFire.org, a website that monitors what is censored
on the Chinese Internet and how. I have also started FreeWeibo.com, an
uncensored and anonymous alternative to the official Sina Weibo search, and
Unblock.cn.com, a service that can unblock websites currently blocked in
China. All of these projects are run by a small team of volunteers and we
have no external funding. Contributions, either in terms of money or
developer time, are much needed and appreciated. Bizarrely, several
organizations that fund projects like ours explicitly do not fund anything
China-related.

I don't have any evidence that “the Chinese are exporting the GFW". If
somebody can provide it, it would be interesting. Chinese censorship is
affecting users outside of China, for example if they use Skype and the
other user is using the Tom version of Skype (often unknowingly) or if they
use the now fast-growing WeChat app.

But regardless of how many users outside of China are affected, obviously
everybody inside China is - "22% of the world" as Bert said. A lot of work
is required to change this. Every initiative is welcome.

That's the big picture. I also have some detailed questions/comments
regarding Berts message:

   - You seem to be using Gmail. If so, the GFW can't stop the delivery of
   individual emails. The traffic is all encrypted. If Google says the email
   has been sent, it has been sent in the same sense as if you had accessed it
   from the US. If LibTech doesn't receive it properly, something else is to
   blame (not that I don't like to blame the GFW, I do, a lot).
   - There was indeed news recently that VPNs in China could be illegal.
   But as far as I've understood it, it refers to the companies providing VPN
   services, not individual users. See
   http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/750158.shtml. It was quite an absurd
   idea. Now, whether or not using a VPN is legal doesn't determine that much.
   It's still very possible for individual VPN users to be harassed. China
   doesn't have rule of law.
   - On the development of corporate vs private Internet users, with
   different kinds of access, I think it's worth noting that many universities
   already provide connections that are even more restricted than the general
   ones.
   - Bert, when you say that you are "one of many foreigners that have been
   harassed and checked via the Internet", I'd be very interested to know in
   what way. You may not want to share this info, of course. Or you can email
   me privately if that's more suitable.


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 Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 3:32 PM, pacificboy <pacificboy at gmail.com> wrote:

> Brain,
> Not sure, but if we dig more the smoking gun will be shown.
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On Jan 24, 2013, at 3:27 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv>
> wrote:
>
> Aha interesting so the speculation is that GFW tech is being exported to
> Cuba Zimbabwe and Belarus? What is the evidence??
> On Jan 23, 2013 11:25 PM, "pacificboy" <pacificboy at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Brian
>> sorry for the poor typo just typing fast on iphone will have errors. i am
>> latino but born in the States. To answer you question according to
>> reporters without borders, "suspects that regimes such as Cuba, Zimbabwe
>> and Belarus have obtained surveillance technology from the People's
>> Republic of China" from report entitled "Going online in Cuba: Internet
>> under surveillance dated 2006.
>>
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>
>> On Jan 24, 2013, at 3:13 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv>
>> wrote:
>>
>> Ben says "imports" Ben do you mean china gets their tech from other
>> countries (imports) or sends their tech TO other countries (exports)
>>
>> B
>>
>> PS if another language is easier for you please use it! Si un otra lengua
>> yes mejor para tu, por favor usarlo! Lo siento mi espanol es muy mal, pero
>> por que su nombre esta arroyo yo creo habla espanol.
>> On Jan 23, 2013 10:17 PM, "pacificboy" <pacificboy at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> In the news it has been mentioned and recently the authorizes came to my
>>> friends work place and order them to stop using vpn at their offices. Also
>>> if you google on you tube vpn illegal in china you see videos discussing
>>> this issue. example illegal vpn china weekly hagout dated one month ago by
>>> fons tuinstra or chinese security cracks down on VPN.
>>>
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>
>>> On Jan 24, 2013, at 1:40 PM, "Eric S Johnson" <crates at oneotaslopes.org>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>> Bert raises an interesting question—where cybercensorship technology
>>> comes from.****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>
>>> We know Huawei and/or ZTE make routers and switches to compete with
>>> Cisco, and almost by definition, that’s the level on which cybercensorship
>>> takes place. But I know of no cases where “the Chinese have exported the
>>> Great Firewall.” I’ve been to almost all of the major cybercensoring
>>> countries of the world, and their systems all seem to differ substantially
>>> enough from the Chinese one (and/or we have some information about how
>>> their cybercensorship works and/or where it came from). Not to mention that
>>> building a cybercensorship system isn’t really terribly complicated.****
>>>
>>>                Does anyone have any *evidence* that “the Chinese are
>>> exporting the [hardware or software behind the] GFW” (beyond hearsay,
>>> supposition, unfounded allegations, etc.)? (I’m not talking about the
>>> reports of planned re-export of US communications equipment to IR.) ****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>
>>> Cybersurveillance … that’s a different ball (or even kettle) of wax.
>>> (For instance, we do have a lot of evidence of the export of Russian
>>> cybersurveillance systems.)****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>
>>> Thoughts?****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>
>>> Best,****
>>>
>>> Eric****
>>>
>>> PGP<http://keyserver.pgp.com/vkd/DownloadKey.event?keyid=0xE0F58E0F1AF7E6F2>
>>> ****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>
>>> *From:* liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu [mailto:
>>> liberationtech-bounces at lists.stanford.edu] *On Behalf Of *Bert Arroyo
>>> *Sent:* 24 January 2013 12.00
>>> *To:* liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
>>> *Subject:* [liberationtech] VPN now illegal in China****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>
>>> Most of the discussion ion the Libtech forum, if I may states, forgot
>>> one important thing, China imports its tech to other countries that censor
>>> their citizen by using Chinese censorship software and their infamous Great
>>> Firewall. ****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>
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