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Internet Censorship, the Great Firewall of China

With the arrival of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, it seems that this would be an appropriate time to focus in the Great Firewall of China, or the Golden Shield Project (as officially known). The Golden Shield is a censorship and surveillance program run by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Service. While the Chinese government has been using the Great Firewall of censoring and block websites in China since 2003, many of us do not have a complete knowledge of the Golden Shield Project and its complexities. This article does not intend to start a revolution against the Chinese government to reduce the great firewall, but a means to gain a better understanding of something that many Americans and Europeans have little knowledge about – Internet censorship under the GSP.

While most Americans and Europeans have the right to choose which sites to visit and surf the Internet freely (again the keyword is "most"), citizens of other countries are stifled by government censorship of the Internet. In China any site expressing opposing views or states a negative view of government is prohibited. Not only the place to be prohibited, but authors may face criminal charges and a lengthy prison sentence. While many sites have recently been unblocked by the Chinese government for the Olympic Games in Beijing, many other sites including democracy advocates, the Taiwanese government sites and the media and the blog is prohibited. The idea of ​​having the right to privacy or any type of Internet privacy is a concept that many Chinese citizens have little understanding of.

The concept of the Great Wall began in 1998 and began operations in 2003. The need for the SPG is derived from the communist regimes for fear that the Chinese Democracy Party would be to develop an extensive network and wide-ranging that could be controlled. The GSP acts as a firewall (hence the nickname) and blocks IP addresses based content and a massive database of prohibited sites web. IP addresses are banned and prevented from accessing blocked content, basically, through a reverse proxy server you use (think: reverse proxy). Any IP address that comes from a Chinese server is immediately denied access. The GSP also combines IP filtering with DNS poisoning to maintain control over Internet in China.

Together with IP blocking, URL, Absolute, and packet filtering, the GSP has a unique feature: not only ban sites based on these methods, but also the prohibition of web sites based on content. Internet Privacy PrivacyView Software Security Blog and was banned immediately, as it shows the methods of access to "forbidden sites." In addition, any content that is deemed subversive government be subject to expulsion, including pro-democracy, pro-Tibet and pro-anything else that the Chinese government is against. Advanced technology GSP blocks food web, specifically with rss, feed, and blog in the URL. Even with sophisticated technology, 28% of sites should be prohibited slip through the cracks, this system of Internet censorship has been working well for China. With the number of China's Internet cops arriving to 30,000 the permanent lifting of websites banned in China does not seem to be a plan for the near future.

Now, self-censorship is practiced by many Chinese. While sites that should be banned slip through the cracks, that Chinese citizens end up practicing self-censorship and do not visit these sites anyway. It makes perfect sense: The fact that the site has not been banned, however, is still well in sight? Why take that risk and end up in jail like many Chinese bloggers? The idea that you are being watched by the Golden Shield Project, although the site is allowed on the network, is a powerful force … people tend to act differently when their bosses, or the authorities are paying attention.

Despite China's Golden Shield project has recently allowed an unprecedented amount of traffic web to pass through servers in China, is only a matter of time before bans website are in place and the Chinese government has gone to the police Internet. Before returning to China and a ban on the Internet and I nternet China censorship program takes full effect again is important to know the different methods to circumvent and evade the restrictions. Chinese officials lifted its ban on certain websites after journalists were upset that many of the sites that need to access was not available due to the GSP, but once the final medal awarded and put an end to the closing ceremony probably not have much time before China is back to the prohibition of so much content as possible, so it is important to know how to bypass the Great Firewall and maintain online privacy.

The following methods may seem familiar, because they are used for navigation anonymous, but actually work well enough to avoid the GSP and access to forbidden sites.

Anonymous proxy servers: anonymous proxy servers based outside China can be used to access blocked content. The sites are blocked only to Chinese citizens and therefore if you sailing with a U.S. – Or a proxy server based in Europe, then you can access restricted sites. The website will be the IP address and give you permission to view this site. At the same time, the server hide your IP for anyone to spy connection is a person from Tulsa, OK surf the Internet. As an added bonus a good proxy server also encrypts the data being transmitted so that anyone can spy not see the information sent over the connection.

Foreign companies can apply for a local website hosted in China. Although this method does not apply to an individual user trying to access a site forbidden, is a method to avoid "Great Firewall since the content of the company does not have to go through the Great Firewall. The company has to apply for a license PCI Local is not guaranteed. ICP license is basically a permit that allows a site hosted Chinese operations. Without a license ICP sites to the risk of being blocked by the ISP as government orders.

Using secure tunnels as a virtual private network (VPN). GSP can not filter traffic that is sure communicating and therefore secure tunnels provide a way for users to access content and create sites that would otherwise be prohibited. VPN is a method for connecting a computer to a network server without physical cables. Instead, the team and the host are linked via the Internet through a tunnel sure that only allows access to the connected parts.

Onion routing networks such as Tor can be used as required computer network and mask to encrypt your information. This method is, in essence, very similar to an anonymous proxy server, the only real difference is that users allow their computers and connections to be used as nodes. A person (in this case a Chinese citizen trying to do a blog) will be connected through a network of nodes is hosted encrypt the data transmitted and hide IP address. The major drawback is that I do not know Tor who created the anonymous connection is passing through. You really have no idea to configure the connection and therefore anyone can invade your privacy through this network of trust.

While the temporary lifting of certain web sites banned pleased the International Olympic Committee, and prevented that China is seen as a restrictive governance, the keyword is of course "temporary." With a record of freedom of the countdown is important to know ultimately, these methods of passing through the Great Firewall allows Internet users to choose whether or not to visit blogs and other sites of restricted URLs.

About the Author

President and founder of PrivacyView Software, LLC. PrivacyView is a privately held company headquartered in Tampa, Florida. Founded in 2003, the company creates and markets privacy software for consumers. The company and its products have won numerous technology awards. Click here for more information about Internet Privacy or Anonymous Surfing

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