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January 14, 2009



Wow, this is really something. Is there any discussion on this matter in Chinese?


Though FBI get Chinese users' data it doesn't matter.
It really matters is that Chinese govt get users' personal information,that is much more dangerous.

Rebecca MacKinnon

Hi there Portnoy, no I haven't seen any discussion of this in Chinese anywhere. Please feel to translate, repost, or whatever you like... it's cc-licensed anyway :)


Great post.

I use Freegate for a long time.(CoDeen sometimes, how about that?) Besides their poorly-designed webpage and one-sided webjournalism, this product proves to be the best free webbreaking tool.(though i wonder exactly how many people are using it as they feel the need to charge)

So it's going to be: you pay for your local ISP and the people behind GFW to get a normal internet life, or you pay more for the people behind GFW-breaking tools to get an abnormal internet life if you are in China.

i feel so abnormal here.

no free lunch

1. Who guards the guardian?
2. There is a market for everything.

Not surprised at all.

BTW, FLG is a legitimate subject for debates. But most Western media's coverage/description of it is so one-sided, just as Chinese media's coverage of it is.


Thinking that you are not being monitored when you are is far, far worse than knowing that you are being monitored. Giving people the expectation that they are not being monitored when they could be is also a bad, bad idea.

Also collecting any sort of log is a bad, bad idea. All it take is the Chinese government to arrest one dissident based on a log (maybe from an unsecured server or from a sleeper agent) and at that point its game over. Once there is a log, you not only have to trust that the people with access to the logs not only don't purposely give them over to the FBI, but that have the ability to keep that information safe from accidental disclosure.

All of this makes Chinese censorship quite effective. Yes, you can get around the censorship if you are a computer security expert, but most people aren't computer security experts. There is no need for the Chinese government to achieve 100% blockage to have effective censorship. All that it has to do is to have people think twice before posting at which point self-censorship kicks in. If you have to think about computer security before you post an article, then they have already won.

Something else that really bothers me is that looking over the moves and counter-moves is that I really get the sense that the Chinese government understands internet technology and security and what can and can't be done, more deeply than the people that are trying to get around the blocks.


I used to use Tor but found it too slow to bear with. Now I am using Hotspot Shield. It works fine for me. The only annoyance is the ads, but I'd rather bear with the ads than the slow speed of Tor. Do you have any information as to whether Hotspot Shield is reliable? One unexpected nuisance of using such circumvention tools that has just occured to me was that I accidentally logged onto my paypal account while I was browsing banned webpages using Hotspot Shield and that made paypal think that my account had been illegally accessed and therefore suspended it. It was quite some trouble to have it restored...


Hotspot shield is owned by an advertising marketing company called Anchor Free. Their own words in press releases indicate that they are monitoring your data for the purpose of selling the information. This is likely the worst choice as they pretty much admit your data is being monitored and sold. Below is a quote from one of their press releases.

AnchorFree provides an innovative media channel that allows advertisers to ncrease user engagement and brand interaction by
delivering unobtrusive, banner-like advertisements precisely targeted to users' particular interests, behavior and location. AnchorFree's broadband network guarantees 100% accurate location-based targeting, allowing marketers to reach and interact with out-of-home mobile consumers over the course of their entire online experience.


I use one of the GIFC proxies such as UltraSurf, on top of HotSpot Shield. The former don't know my IP, and the latter don't know what site I'm visiting.

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