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April 20, 2006


Boris Anthony

according to this explanation, the text filter is built into the TOM-Skype client, which resides on the user's machine. this means it should be discoverable and circumventable. which is beside the point of course, but of possible technical interest.

Anybody up for some TOM-Skype client hacking to extract the list?


China cannot be a superpower when the inhibit freedoms of expression. The top levels of economic growth depend on innovation and entrepreneurship, and China will hit a brick wall unless it frees things up.


Someone long ago, perhaps one of the technical leaders of Internet development, said that the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it. I think that's true in general. People are clever and word gets around, especially when large groups of people are trying hard to accomplish some forbidden task. So you can't use the word "democracy" but you can play tricks to get around it. backward->ycarcomed


Apparently, the old "if it bleeds, it leads" trope has morphed into "if it's got China and can be interpreted as some form of censorship, it leads."
I use Skype voice-chat every day to talk to someone in China. We have talked about everything under the sun and nary a hint of censorship.

Perhaps the difference is between text chat and voice chat?
I'd say talk to Chinese people and see what they think, first.

Laika's Last Woof

Maybe l33tsp33k can actually do some good for once.

R3m3mb3r +!@/\/m@n skw@r3. d3m0kracy n0w!

If they filter that I can come up with some more ways to spell "Tianmen Square". Maybe Mandarin doesn't lend itself to 733+sp33k -- so just use 3ng1!5h then.


Laika, FINALLY a good use for that annoying stuff!

On the original topic: I think it was a very polite, very well written note.

_IF_ this is a case of "China" == "bad" publicity, the response is easy enough. If it's a real problem the note proposes solutions.

Well done!


I am a big fan of Skype in general, and I use it heavily. But the way Skype chooses to treat its Chinese users will ultimately impact the extent to which I as a user can trust Skype anywhere, in general.

It's easy to throw out a quick phrase saying "I'm disturbed", but ultimately, if you continue to use Skype heavily, your disapproval has no impact.


There's really no need to use the Tom client when you can download plain old Skype -- in simplified Chinese -- directly from the site. It's clear enough how to download it even for non-English speakers.

Laika's Last Woof

>Laika, FINALLY a good use for that annoying stuff!

Did you know that bypassing software filters was the original purpose of l33tsp34k?

BBS admins were trying to filter out pirated software and pornography and the hackers were trying to outsmart the filters. Leetspeak began with "warez" and "pr0n" and quickly expanded.

Now it's |]-/\/\0kr4-z herself that seeks to pass the filter. G0|]5p33|} her on her way.


I live in China now, and I've to say that often chinese authorities are absolutely a bounch od idiots: in this case they learnt how to use a chat, so they ask to ban some words... but there practically NO WAY to ban a voice communication over ip, unless you want to block entirely. If a chinese really want to talk about forbidden stuff it often means he knows what's going about censorship, which means he knows how to bypass the stuff (even a idiot can install Tor-Vidalia and use it as sock, running any blocked software from any computer).

Believe me, the most stupid monkey can organize a secret militia in this country using the software available, over internet. The problems are not about free communication, but free speech. First it means that people talk too much, second that i cannot run a website recruiting people for my cause. Beside this, especially in big cities, we are not controlled as it seems from outside this country, just people are too busy in getting rich than to some human rights: they don't care (for now).

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