Hacking the Great Firewall

In Who Controls the Internet Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu describe the Internet in China as a “national intranet, ” an internal network with carefully-monitored connectivity to the rest of the world. Chinese refer to it these controls as the “Great Firewall of China” and, as described in this story, are starting to rebel. Opposition to government censorship is manifested in lawsuits–the article mentions a breach of contract suit against China Telecom “because of the service provider’s unacknowledged restrictions on Web content–, technological work-arounds, and a growing network of activists who share tips on evading network controls, oppose censorship policies, and support one another’s protests. In the predictable never-ending escalation of tactics between censors and hackers the Chinese government is trying to ratchet up its control but according to activist Yuan Mingli “[t]hat’s impossible, fundamentally, because people’s hearts have changed . . . [the system will] “eventually break down precisely because China cannot be completely disconnected to the outside world anymore.”

5 thoughts on “Hacking the Great Firewall”

  1. On a side note, there was a Wall Street article today about Google’s attempt to penetrate further into China’s internet industry by joining with a Chinese music company to offer free, licensed music downloads. The country’s 162 million internet users will have access to over 100 global record labels–another possible crack in the Great Firewall of China. But it’s interesting how China upholds a reputation for strict censorship but seems to overlook the consequences of piracy on intellectual property. It’s basically a joke for music record companies do to business in China, nearly 90% of China’s internet users download illegal music everyday.

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