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Researchers helped provide a rare glimpse into how the great Chinese firewall really works

According to researchers from the University of New Mexico and University of California, Davis, the firewall used by the Chinese government to censor Internet material is not really as secure as the government wants users to believe.  Researchers discovered that much objectionable content could still be viewed, especially if online traffic was high.

Instead of simply blocking all web sites that feature content on a banned subjects, the Chinese government chooses to use a large dragnet that looks for the use of banned words.  If the Chinese system detects any banned words, reset commands are sent to the source and destination of the banned word.  Researchers found that the "'resets' effectively break the connection" so results will not be returned.

This different type of filter ultimately encourages a certain level of self-censorship - since Chinese users know that selected words are taboo, the users may choose to avoid the topics altogether.

"Imagine you want to remove the history of the Wounded Knee massacre from the Library of Congress," said Jed Crandall, University of California, Davis assistant professor of computer science.  "You could remove 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee' and a few other selected books, or you could remove every book in the entire library that contains the word 'massacre.'"

Both universities who took part in the study are now collaborating to work on ConceptDoppler, a tool that is able to give researchers a report if censorship in China changes.

Internet censorship in China runs rampant, with a number of popular web sites not available to traditional Internet users.  The Flickr photo sharing web site successfully loads, but users are greeted with a screen without images.  Several different popular online blogging services also cannot be used by Chinese users.    

The Great Firewall of China web site allows users to test if a specific URL is blocked by the Chinese firewall.


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RE: Communism
By Misty Dingos on 9/18/2007 11:17:14 AM , Rating: 2
While in general people in the US have a negative view of communism I don’t ever remember anyone telling me that they eat their or anybodies babies. I wouldn’t be surprised though. ;)

Speaking for myself when I first studied communism I thought that it did have several redeeming points in its favor. The ones that you covered, including a “level playing field”. But as you pointed out communism does not work in a vacuum of human foibles.

It relies on the benevolent nature of man. Problem there is that not everyone has a benevolent nature. Which is the problem with all utopian ideals; unless everyone has the same mentality and drive they simply do not work.

The red elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about with communism is that eventually someone will come into power that will pursue the goal of power and not stewardship. And what you end up with is a dictator. Communism also only works if people’s freedoms are curtailed at some level. That is usually just enough freedom to function but not enough freedom to cause problems.

Communism also has the unintended consequence of fostering corruption. At first glance it would seem that communism would have the same level of corruption as representational democracies but because communism places so many functions of day to day living in the hands of bureaucracies that low level corruption becomes almost inevitable. Then once the bottom run bureaucrats are corrupted they take that corruption with them as they gain in position.

But since governments like the US coddle the citizens less the ability for the bureaucracy to be tainted is less. The market place being built on profit and profit being maximized by efficient effort places a self correcting mechanism in place to curtail bureaucratic corruption.

While the US has probably more than its fair share of corrupt governmental leaders but for the most part they are at the top of the pyramid, congressmen and such. And while it makes some interesting news casts they on whole don’t affect the running of the day to day operation of the functions of government. The bureaucracies are relatively corruption free and function with the normal level of government efficiency.

Communism also fosters inefficiency. With no incentive other than self motivation bureaucracies will almost always fall behind the private sector in innovation and efficiency. A great example of this is the United States Postal Service (USPS) and United Parcel Service (UPS). Both offer the same function but when asked if you could get a package across the US in a day the USPS said “No Way on earth that can be done.” UPS has made billions doing exactly that.

I would go as far as privatizing all retirement payment plans, health care, primary education (grade school to college). You can enforce laws that require citizens to attend school to a certain level and once employed to set aside a certain portion of their income to a retirement account. I fail to see how the government involving itself in this process improves it in any way. And these are functions of society that could benefit greatly from efficiency and innovation.

Is the playing field level? No and no matter what government you have it never will be because people are not all the same. Fairness is a falsehood. It doesn’t exist anymore than our utopian dreams. To think differently is self deception.


RE: Communism
By Nanobaud on 9/18/2007 12:42:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
communism also only works if people’s freedoms are curtailed at some level. That is usually just enough freedom to function but not enough freedom to cause problems.


as opposed to ???


RE: Communism
By Pythias on 9/18/2007 12:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Communism also has the unintended consequence of fostering corruption. At first glance it would seem that communism would have the same level of corruption as representational democracies but because communism places so many functions of day to day living in the hands of bureaucracies that low level corruption becomes almost inevitable. Then once the bottom run bureaucrats are corrupted they take that corruption with them as they gain in position.


Precisely. Power corrupts and the more agencies we we authorize, the more power government has.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a government agency.

quote:
Is the playing field level? No and no matter what government you have it never will be because people are not all the same. Fairness is a falsehood. It doesn’t exist anymore than our utopian dreams. To think differently is self deception


Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron comes to mind for some reason.


"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton











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