Chinese Filters Not Stopping Political Discussions
from the maybe-you-can't-control-the-internet dept
When the internet was first catching on, there was all this talk about how it would be this revolutionary platform that was impossible to censor and would “route around” any attempts. More recently, though, people have been pointing to the examples of government online censorship in places like China and Saudi Arabia to suggest that’s not true – and it is possible to censor the internet. Well, now maybe we need to swing back to the original thesis, as a new study in China suggests that the filters are largely ineffective and plenty of political speech is getting around them. For example, many who know that the text of what they’re trying to say would be banned, are instead putting that information into image form where it’s tougher for the government to track down. Meanwhile, many realize that they have much greater access to information online and, while they know that the government is trying to block some of it, with a little searching they can find info about almost anything (which probably explains why China tried to ban Google for a while). In fact, it sounds like the only real impact the filters are having on Chinese surfers is that it slows their internet connections down.