The Great Firewall of China

 

Free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

“The Great Firewall of China” refers to China’s internet censorship program. Vast swaths of the internet are restricted from the average Chinese internet user, sort of like at Bob Jones University or your average Fortune 500 company. Only in addition to filtering things like pornography, violent content, and Homestar Runner, the Great Firewall of China blocks things like the BBC and references to the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Of course, there are ways around any kind of censorship on the internet, such as the Tor Anonymity Network or a secure VPN connection.

Today I discovered a site that tests if any site is behind the Firewall. It’s running really slowly right now, because it’s been discovered by a number of popular websites today, but it works. It turns out that you can access this site from China, for now.

So, to my friends who may be enduring the oppression of internet censorship: In case you cannot access Tor’s homepage at http://tor.eff.org, I have saved a list of sites that you can download Tor software from at http://www.jdharper.com/tor/. Install it, and see what your authorities have been hiding from you.

Let freedom reign.

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