Beat China's 'Great Firewall' By Ignoring It
from the just-like-that dept
A lot has been made about the so-called “Great Firewall of China” and how the country actually manages to restrict content on such an enormous level. Now a new paper is claiming that it’s improper to think of it as a big wall surrounding the perimeter, and that the real censorship system is far less robust. Instead of actually blocking illicit packets from entering the country, China has set up devices that deliver reset requests to both ends of the connection. According the researchers, if people’s computers were just told to ignore these requests, the system would be impotent to block the material. For China to set up a new system in response, based on stronger restrictions on the perimeter, might actually be a difficult technical challenge. So if this entry or the paper itself makes its way past the firewall, they’ll learn, like everyone else, that online filters don’t work. Update: Ed Felten is writing on this subject as well, and noting that as the system works it could violate US computer fraud law by basically launching a denial of service attack on both ends of the connection. Of course, it’s not clear how that matters directly, since China breaking a US law doesn’t matter much. However, it could raise additional questions about the US companies who supply the hardware and software for the firewall.