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Anti-Censor Software developed by Chinese Expert helps millions of Iranians

Posted by Author on May 2, 2009

By JOHN MARKOFF, New York Times, USA, April 30, 2009 –

The Iranian government, more than almost any other, censors what citizens can read online, using elaborate technology to block millions of Web sites offering news, commentary, videos, music and, until recently, Facebook and YouTube. Search for “women” in Persian and you’re told, “Dear Subscriber, access to this site is not possible.”

Last July, on popular sites that offer free downloads of various software, an escape hatch appeared. The computer program allowed Iranian Internet users to evade government censorship.

College students discovered the key first, then spread it through e-mail messages and file-sharing. By late autumn more than 400,000 Iranians were surfing the uncensored Web.

The software was created not by Iranians, but by Chinese computer experts volunteering for the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that has beem suppressed by the Chinese government since 1999. They maintain a series of computers in data centers around the world to route Web users’ requests around censors’ firewalls.

The Internet is no longer just an essential channel for commerce, entertainment and information. It has also become a stage for state control — and rebellion against it. Computers are becoming more crucial in global conflicts, not only in spying and military action, but also in determining what information reaches people around the globe.

More than 20 countries now use increasingly sophisticated blocking and filtering systems for Internet content, according to Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based group that encourages freedom of the press.

Although the most aggressive filtering systems have been erected by authoritarian governments like those in Iran, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, some Western democracies are also beginning to filter some content, including child pornography and other sexually oriented material.

In response, a disparate alliance of political and religious activists, civil libertarians, Internet entrepreneurs, diplomats and even military officers and intelligence agents are now challenging growing Internet censorship.

The creators of the software seized upon by Iranians are members of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, based largely in the United States and closely affiliated with Falun Gong. The consortium is one of many small groups developing systems to make it possible for anyone to reach the open Internet. It is the modern equivalent of efforts by organizations like the Voice of America to reach the citizens of closed countries. (more details from New York Times)

4 Responses to “Anti-Censor Software developed by Chinese Expert helps millions of Iranians”

  1. Gedayfedy said

    +1

  2. David Taylor said

    Oh,
    Sorry those comment were intended for the story on missing children. Is there a way for you to divert them to the right place?

  3. David Taylor said

    I left a comment about this story but it is not here. Did I step on someone’s toes?

  4. David Taylor said

    The evil tyrant drinks the blood of its own. That is the nature of the CCP. Too many in the world sit idly by and say nothing. The CCP loves that silence that is so deafening to the innocent victims. Unfortunately, we can’t even get the President of the US to criticize the Chinese government. Gao Zhisheng remains missing and certainly in the hands of the government and most certainly is or has undergone another round of torture. Why should we doubt for even a moment that these children are victims of the communist state just like Gao and all the Falun Gong practitioners who have suffered organ harvesting and all sorts of torture and persecution. Will we wait until the blood thirsty communists are in our back yard more safely before we speak out as a nation?

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