(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
blocked, china, encryption, https

Companies:
bbc



BBC Migrates Everything To HTTPS, Immediately Finds Itself Blocked By The Chinese Government

from the weird-freedom-of-not-giving-a-damn-how-much-it-sucks-for-your-constituents dept

Move to HTTPS; lose the Chinese. That's the revised internet maxim. China's Great Firewall has gradually reduced the number of foreign sites accessible by Chinese citizens... "gradually" only in the sense that it's been a continuous rollout steadily decreasing web access. The government blocked an entire content delivery network at one point, so even this gradual rollout has seen its share of spikes.

As is being collaboratively reported at WikiTribune, the BBC says the move to HTTPS for all of it properties has resulted in Chinese citizens being unable to access their contents.

"In accordance with internet industry good practice, the BBC is currently changing the format of internet sites from HTTP to HTTPS. This means content is less vulnerable to tampering and specific pages on our websites can no longer be blocked. Recently the BBC Chinese language site has changed to this new format," a BBC spokesperson told WikiTribune on Wednesday.

The spokesperson added that the corporation’s online audience in China has had no access to any of the BBC’s websites for "around a week."

The BBC recommends a VPN to bypass Chinese web filtering, but that suggestion only goes so far in country where VPN use has been banned for the most part. Businesses still rely on VPNs for securing their communications and content, so the capitalist heart of the authoritarian government has granted exceptions. But the exceptions are limited to VPNs registered with the government, which presumably contain government backdoors.

Government-approved VPNs won't be much use to citizens looking to read news the government has already expressed an interest in blocking. And citizens looking to keep their Citizen Scores™ from dropping will be better off seeking out approved news sources using the heavily-regulated web the government provides.


Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    inblue, 6 Aug 2018 @ 2:06pm

    Minor typo

    in country

    Don't you mean "in a country?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2018 @ 2:21pm

    Yay BBC!

    The Chinese government has used it's Great Cannon at least once. By using HTTPS, the BBC limits the damage governments can do if they decide to use such a tool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    carlb, 6 Aug 2018 @ 2:36pm

    CDN

    "The government blocked an entire content delivery network at one point..."

    Just one? I've had many complaints from users over the years that mainland China is blocking Cloudflare, breaking every site hosted under it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Christenson, 6 Aug 2018 @ 2:54pm

      Re: CDN

      We can’t have *EVERYONE* reading the same thing all at once, now can we? <\sarc>That might start a revolution or something!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2018 @ 4:54pm

    Quite frankly I'm surprised the BBC wasn't blocked in China to already.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2018 @ 5:09pm

    People in China can use Tor network bridges to bypass censorship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Aug 2018 @ 5:09pm

    Truth is antithetical to our cause

    Truth hurts, not allowed here.

    1,415,603,613 people will only sit around for this for a certain amount of time. Then...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    freedomfan (profile), 6 Aug 2018 @ 7:23pm

    the capitalist heart of the authoritarian government

    That's an... interesting take.

    Dickering aside, this is yet more evidence that authoritarian regimes consistently fear an informed populace.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2018 @ 12:10am

      Re:

      Including the Techdirt Authoritarian Regime. Witness the number of comments blocked from sight. Fear, no doubt.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2018 @ 1:10am

        Re: Re:

        You haven't been keeping up with Trump's talking points, have you Hamilton? Trump likes China. Trump is a fan of the authoritarian regime they have over there.

        If you think Techdirt has an authoritarian regime, according to Trump, that means you support Techdirt as is.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve, 7 Aug 2018 @ 6:34am

    We get the same problem in many corporate environments. HTTP is allowed unless blocked, but as the waf cannot scan https (without screwing around with certs), so HTTPS is blocked unless allowed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 7 Aug 2018 @ 6:49am

    I don't know but it feels that if you can tap into Chinese market as information services or anything that deals with data (ie: BBC, Apple etc) you already failed at security and generally at Human Rights.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thad, 7 Aug 2018 @ 6:54am

    Toads!

    Read my blog.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 7 Aug 2018 @ 11:05am

    wait till Christopher Robin hears about this.

    BBC: we are folliwing Internet standards and switching to HTTPS.

    China: oh bother.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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