Hong Kong ISPs Refuse To Help China Censor The Internet

from the swimming-upstream dept

China’s no stranger to censorship online, given it runs one of the most sophisticated internet censorship operations on the planet. Like many governments upset with the idea of free expression online, China has also long waged a war against VPNs and proxies that let the public bypass this ham-fisted techno-blockade.

But the repression and censorship China enacts within its core territories have been harder to implement in Hong Kong, where internet traffic isn’t forced through China’s massive censorship firewall. Case in point: when reports began circulating that China was considering censoring access to certain websites and services, the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association (HKISPA) issued a statement saying thanks but no thanks. A core complaint by the ISPs was the fact that the use of encryption and VPNs means that such efforts are largely pointless:

“Technically speaking, given the complexity of the modern Internet including technologies like VPN, cloud and cryptographies, it is impossible to effectively and meaningfully block any services, unless we put the whole Internet of Hong Kong behind large scale surveillance firewall.”

Should China’s government proceed anyway, the ISPs were quick to note that any ham-fisted attempt to cordon off Hong Kong from the rest of the world would only stifle industry in the city:

“By the above token, HKISPA would like to warn that, imposing any insensible restrictions on the open Internet would only result in more restrictions, as the original restrictions wouldn?t be effective, and ultimately the result is putting Hong Kong?s Internet behind a big firewall. Therefore, any such restrictions, however slight originally, would start the end of the open Internet of Hong Kong, and would immediately and permanently deter international businesses from positing their businesses and investments in Hong Kong.”

Telegram is widely being used to help coordinate the ongoing protests. As a result, the company has been facing massive DDOS attacks that are likely being launched by the Chinese government. Regardless, Hong Kong ISPs say they’ll refuse any government demands to censor the platform:

“ISPs in Hong Kong are all law abiding, but they may not circumvent technical and financial constraints of the business which may make executive orders to impose network restrictions not easily implementable. We request that the government consult the industry in resolving these constraints, and consult the society at large before imposing any such restrictions.”

As on other fronts, China’s government is a stumbling and confused mess when it comes to governing a free thinking, successful city, and any efforts to apply tactics used in China’s mainland (most notably the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests) is likely to only make existing tensions worse.

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Comments on “Hong Kong ISPs Refuse To Help China Censor The Internet”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'Great idea, glad you thought of it.'

"Technically speaking, given the complexity of the modern Internet including technologies like VPN, cloud and cryptographies, it is impossible to effectively and meaningfully block any services, unless we put the whole Internet of Hong Kong behind large scale surveillance firewall."

Pretty sure that’s the idea/goal…

Bobvious says:

New ISPs now operating in HK

Along with established players like ABC Net, CEC Services, OneWeb Broadband Satellite, Pacnet Leased Line and So-net Services in Hong-Kong, come a slúag of new players like:

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  • +Terms and conditions apply

ChristopherRobin and Co is currently in the approvals process

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Bobvious says:

Re: Tianenmen(kou)

please draw comparative conclusions between.that event (in a nation of 1.5 billion people) and Kent State, Waco, Philadelphia MOVE, and the US prison.industrial complex.

It’s a free speech open mic, so here’s your chance to draw YOUR comparative conclusions first to get the conversation going.

Dianne Feinsteins dried up Vagina says:

Re: Re: Tianenmen(kou)

Sure, why not:

Jewish-christian zio-society and its delusional/pseudo-historical based narratives targets any/all that challenge its mythological basis, frequently murdering them in highly bizzare events, as noted above.

And, with Americans now subject to constant, chronic surveillance, and political speech policing on a level that rivals any alleged activity by communist nations, as well as political dissidents being murdered/fleeing/suiciding/expatriating in levels unheard of before(those that arent under lockup/rape threat/in Americas Prison Industrial Complex)….yeah, so wut, Tianenmen.

Maybe do some house cleaning starting at your own doorstep.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

political speech policing on a level that rivals any alleged activity by communist nations


Oh man! That’s a good one! Come back when the US government actually locks up and/or kills its citizens for disagreeing with its policies. Then we can talk about how our political speech policing rivals anything done by communist nations.


Ninja (profile) says:

I was following the whole thing a few days ago and there were reports with videos and pictures of the Chinese army assembling at Shenzhen and I thought things were going to get bloody. Well, bloodier than they already are if reports flying are to believe. But they didn’t go full Tianmen. And the population shows no signs of giving up as well. It’s probably the longest time span I’ve seen people keep this level of mobilization. By this level I mean fill up the streets with tons of people every single day relentlessly. It’s interesting to see how things will unfold there and the results may cause cascading effects over the world for the better or the worse. On top of it, it’s interesting to see companies resisting to the authoritarian wave, they usually value money over democracy. Of course I would prefer people weren’t being detained or hurt but the whole thing is fascinating to watch. The world is convulsing.

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