June 01, 2005

"The Net Effect" - On The Great Firewall Of China

The Net Effect

"As China's Internet gets a much-needed makeover, will the new network promote freedom or curtail it? - By Steven Cherry [IEEE Spectrum Online]

Highly recommended. But I'm biased:

How will censorship work with four different companies' products? According to Seth Finkelstein, a Cambridge, Mass., network programmer and an expert on Internet censorship, router-based censorship can and does take place at any point in the network. Each of the routers in the CN2 contract - in all three rings - can be expected to access a database of banned names and words, either within the router itself or in a subsidiary server connected to the router. ...

And in conclusion:

"The Internet is fairly centralized in the United States, too," notes Finkelstein, the Cambridge, Mass., programmer. "Not for political reasons but for economic ones." It turns out that the largest Internet providers push all their packets of data through large regional routers connected to proxy servers that already examine packets for evidence of quality-of-service or other problems.

"Our political system is vastly different from China's," Finkelstein says, "but if we had a national panic, if we felt we had to censor the Internet, it's scary how easily it could be done. There's a famous saying, 'The Internet considers censorship to be damage, and routes around it.' I say, what if censorship is in the router?"

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware , press | on June 01, 2005 08:02 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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