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.

Filed Under: censorship, china, hong kong, internet, internet blockade, isps, protestors, protests


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 Aug 2019 @ 7:20am

    '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...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 7:32am

    Hong Kong ISP CEOs disappear in 3, 2, 1, ...

    Newly "elected" CEOs are suddenly very pro-China.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 8:40am

    So much for "One China".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 9:39am

    Start fleeing now

    There is a 100% chance that China will kill the goose that lays the (financial) golden egg (Hong Kong). Businesses should start migrating to new lands outside of China's influence now, while they still can.

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 30 Aug 2019 @ 3:44pm

    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:

    A Bigger China,
    CCP Services,
    OneBelt,
    Partynet,
    Spynet,

    and of course, perennial favourites;

    Democracy+,
    Freedom+ and
    Patriot

    • +Terms and conditions apply

    ChristopherRobin and Co is currently in the approvals process

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    jon mark (profile), 31 Aug 2019 @ 12:39am

    Basketball Federation Auatralia training

    Basketball Federation Auatralia training

    About the courts
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla mauris dolor, gravida a varius blandit, auctor eget purus. Phasellus scelerisque sapien sit amet mauris laoreet, eget scelerisque nunc cursus. Duis ultricies malesuada leo vel aliquet. Curabitur rutrum porta dui eget mollis. Nullam lacinia dictum auctor. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculu.

    services@basketball.org.au
    Office (02) 80034381
    Basketball Court 0466441879

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Dianne Feinsteins dried up Vagina, 31 Aug 2019 @ 8:48am

    Tianenmen(kou)

    For the sake of free discourse, ifvyou eanna rape on and on about that, 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.

    Or, STFU.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2019 @ 11:16am

      Re: Tianenmen(kou)

      Or, you know, go fuck yourself with your fake calls for "free discourse" and shit typing skills.

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

      • identicon
        Dianne Feinsteins dried up Vagina, 3 Sep 2019 @ 12:05am

        Re: Re: Tianenmen(kou)

        Yeah, you posting as an AC is a great indicator of exactly how “free” American discourse is.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 6:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, you posting as an AC is a great indicator of exactly how “free” American discourse is.

          Actually, it is. Non-free countries that don't allow free discourse universally frown on and/or ban all anonymous speech.

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

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 1 Sep 2019 @ 5:39am

      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.

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

      • identicon
        Dianne Feinsteins dried up Vagina, 3 Sep 2019 @ 12:00am

        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.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 6:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

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

          Pffft! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

          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.

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 2 Sep 2019 @ 7:57am

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Dianne Feinsteins dried up Vagina, 3 Sep 2019 @ 12:03am

      Re:

      Mostly just tear gas and a few rubber bullets after the nice protesters lobbed molatov cocktails, and huge bamboo spears.

      It looks just like antifa v. altRight, but the military presence and provocateurs arent as obvious, cuz, few white people.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Xanax UK (profile), 2 Sep 2019 @ 11:34am

    Understand Anxiety Symptoms to Live Quality Lifestyle

    Choose our registered online pharmacy to buy Alprazolam online in the UK, the USA and other worldwide locations at reasonable prices. Unregistered online pharmacies deliver counterfeit medications that cause serious side-effects and health problems. For more https://www.xanaxuk.com/buy-alprazolam-online-uk-to-deal-with-anxiety/

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.