Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cracks in the Great Firewall

According to a recent study, China's system of Internet filtering, dubbed the Great Firewall, is far from 100% effective. The BBC has the details:

Carried out by US researchers outside China, it found that the firewall often failed to block what the Chinese government finds objectionable.

The firewall was least effective when lots of Chinese web users were online.

Often, said the study, the idea of the firewall was more effective than the technology at discouraging talk about banned subjects.

This is just one example of how even China's thoroughgoing system of online censorship has its weaknesses. Nir Boms hinted at this in an interesting August 21 piece for the Jerusalem Post:

But the forces of freedom are also making their way on the Internet and, on occasion, one can glimpse interesting examples of a world that may yet be.

In a rare statement on the issue, a Chinese official admitted recently that his country is beginning to lose its tight control over its own virtual space. Wang Guoqing, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Information, was quoted by the state-run China Daily newspaper as saying that "it has been repeatedly proved that information blocking is like walking into a dead end."

CHINA, WHICH is a leading developer and provider of an Internet filtering system - with a respectable client list such as Iran and Syria - appears to admit that there is even a limit to what a powerful government may seek to hide.

Ultimately, the Great Firewall, like all forms of censorship, is bound to fail. The sooner this happens, the better off the world will be.


Post a Comment

<< Home