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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
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    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    4.
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Anti-censorship’ Category

Anti-censorship software, news

Chinese Censorship Worsens in 2010

Posted by Author on January 1, 2011


Retired Party officials and press-freedoms monitoring groups call for an end to strict media controls.

Press freedoms came under greater attack in China this year amid increased government censorship and attacks on individual journalists, according to media experts and rights monitoring groups. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anti-censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, News, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

Time to reboot our push for global Internet freedom (esp. in Country such as China)

Posted by Author on October 25, 2010


By Jackson Diehl, Via The Washington Post, Monday, October 25, 2010 –

Last Tuesday 215,646 Internet users in Iran evaded their regime to visit sites such as Facebook, Twitter and RadioFarda.com, the U.S.-funded Persian-language news service. In Syria, 14,886 people freely surfed; in Vietnam, 10,612; in Saudi Arabia, 14,691; in China, 18,000.

I know this because I saw the internal logs of a company called UltraReach, which created and manages a firewall-breaching system that is allowing as many as half a million people a day to visit Web sites banned by their governments, and circumvent or avoid detection. To watch the traffic stream through the company’s servers is to see a parade of the world’s most oppressed people. In the few minutes I watched I also saw Cubans, Burmese, Uzbeks, Belarusians, Algerians, Cambodians and Libyans traveling via an Internet link to Northern California, where they were able to visit any non-pornographic site without being blocked or identified. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anti-censorship, China, GIFC, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Social, Software, Technology, USA, World | Comments Off on Time to reboot our push for global Internet freedom (esp. in Country such as China)

The Mystery of Falun Gong

Posted by Author on May 13, 2010


By David Matas, International human rights lawyer, via The Washington Post, May. 12, 2010-

Last year, as millions of Iranians flocked online to tell stories of political repression and police violence, the world was introduced to an unlikely champion in the fight for freedom of information online: the spiritual practice Falun Gong. American practitioners of Falun Gong, it turned out, had spent nearly a decade developing and refining the most effective and widely used anti-censorship software in the world — software that has been instrumental in the free flow of information to and from closed societies.

Who are Falun Gong and what drove them to build anti-censorship software?

The Government of China recognizes five beliefs and bans all others, including Falun Gong. Falun Gong is a modern update and blending of two religions China does recognize – Taoism and Buddhism, combined with a simple set of exercises. Of all the banned beliefs, none is treated worse than Falun Gong, banned in July 1999.

Practitioners of Falun Gong represent two-thirds of the Chinese torture victims and half the people in detention in re-education through labour camps. The documented yearly arbitrary killings and disappearances of Falun Gong exceed by far the totals for any other victim group. According to research that David Kilgour and I have done, set out in our book Bloody Harvest, practitioners have been killed in the tens of thousands since 2001 so that their organs could be sold to patients in need of transplants.

The extremes of language the Chinese regime uses against Falun Gong are unparalleled. The Government of China has imposed a censorship blackout on independent information about Falun Gong. Chinese internet police block any mention of Falun Gong – other than their own propaganda – on websites, blogs, e-mails and search engines.

Why is this happening? One answer is the numbers. The practice of Falun Gong went from a standing start in 1992 to numbers greater than the membership of the Party within the space of seven years, spreading rapidly throughout China immediately after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of Communist Party control in Central Asia and Eastern and Central Europe.

The Party took fright at seeing Chinese nationals in the tens of millions engaging publicly in a form of exercise which had an underlying belief system completely divorced from Communism. Falun Gong is not an organization. The exercises can be done anywhere at any time, as little or as often as the practitioner wants. They can be done singly or in groups, indoors or outdoors. The amorphous nature meant that it was impossible to control.

The early stages of propaganda and repression against the practice of Falun Gong by elements of the Party pushing to have the Party ban the practice led to petitions and protests by practitioners, generated through cell phone and internet coordination. The mobilization of Falun Gong practitioners alarmed and frightened the Communist Party.

For the Communists, victimizing the Falun Gong is a crime which is easier to get away with than victimizing other, better known groups. Falun Gong victims are often people without Western connections or Western languages.

The incitement to hatred against the Falun Gong, like all incitement to bigotry, has an impact. The Chinese Communist Party noise about the practice of Falun Gong confuses and obscures.

The Falun Gong are an outgrowth from ancient Chinese traditions. To the Chinese Communist Party, Falun Gong was a regression back to where China was before the Communist Party took over.

The problem for the Communists was not just that Falun Gong is so authentically Chinese; it is also that Communism is so patently foreign.

Communism is a Western ideological import into China. Communists saw a widespread, popular Chinese-based ideology as cutting out from under them the very ground on which they stood.

Tolerating the Falun Gong would not have meant the collapse of the current regime. But it would have meant the disappearance of whatever ideological presence the Communist Party had in the hearts and minds of the Chinese people.

Jiang Zemin, in a leaked memorandum sent to the standing members of the Political Bureau of Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in April 1999, wrote: “Can’t the Marxism our Communists have, the materialism, atheism we believe in really win over that suit of stuff aired by Falun Gong?”

The answer to that question, it seems, is no. Left alone, Falun Gong would have won. So the Party repressed it with a viciousness beyond compare.

David Matas, co-author of “Bloody Harvest: Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China,” is an international human rights lawyer based in Winnipeg, Canada, and a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Washington Post

Posted in Anti-censorship, China, Freedom of Belief, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Software, Technology, World | Comments Off on The Mystery of Falun Gong

Why the State Department refused to spend the funds to “expand access and information in closed societies” such as Iran and China

Posted by Author on May 3, 2010


By L. GORDON CROVITZ, via The Wall Street Journal, May.2, 2010-

When a government department refuses to spend money that Congress has allocated, there’s usually a telling backstory. This is doubly so when the funds are for a purpose as uncontroversial as making the Internet freer.

So why has the State Department refused to spend $45 million in appropriations since 2008 to “expand access and information in closed societies”? The technology to circumvent national restrictions is being provided by volunteers who believe that with funding they can bring Web access to many more people, from Iran to China.

A bipartisan group in Congress intended to pay for tests aimed at expanding the use of software that brings Internet access to “large numbers of users living in closed societies that have acutely hostile Internet environments.” The most successful of these services is provided by a group called the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, whose programs include Freegate and Ultrasurf.

When Iranian demonstrators last year organized themselves through Twitter posts and brought news of the crackdown to the outside world, they got past the censors chiefly by using Freegate to get access to outside sites.

The team behind these circumvention programs understands how subversive their efforts can be. As Shiyu Zhou, deputy director of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, told Congress last year, “The Internet censorship firewalls have become 21st-century versions of Berlin Walls that isolate and dispirit the citizens of closed-society dictatorships.”

Repressive governments rightly regard the Internet as an existential threat, giving people powerful ways to communicate and organize. These governments also use the Web as a tool of repression, monitoring emails and other traffic. Recall that Google left China in part because of hacking of human-rights activists’ Gmail accounts.

To counter government monitors and censors, these programs give online users encrypted connections to secure proxy servers around the world. A group of volunteers constantly switches the Internet Protocol addresses of the servers—up to 10,000 times an hour. The group has been active since 2000, and repressive governments haven’t figured out how to catch up. More than one million Iranians used the system last June to post videos and photos showing the government crackdown.

Mr. Zhou tells me his group would use any additional money to add equipment and to hire full-time technical staff to support the volunteers. For $50 million, he estimates the service could accommodate 5% of Chinese Internet users and 10% in other closed societies—triple the current capacity.

So why won’t the State Department fund this group to expand its reach, or at least test how scalable the solution could be? There are a couple of explanations.

The first is that the Global Internet Freedom Consortium was founded by Chinese-American engineers who practice Falun Gong, the spiritual movement suppressed by Beijing. Perhaps not the favorites of U.S. diplomats, but what other group has volunteers engaged enough to keep such a service going? As with the Jewish refuseniks who battled the Soviet Union, sometimes it takes a persecuted minority to stand up to a totalitarian regime.

The second explanation is a split among technologists—between those who support circumvention programs built on proprietary systems and others whose faith is on more open sources of code. A study last year by the Berkman Center at Harvard gave more points to open-source efforts, citing “a well-established contentious debate among software developers about whether secrecy about implementation details is a robust strategy for security.” But whatever the theoretical objections, the proprietary systems work.

Another likely factor is realpolitik. Despite the tough speech Hillary Clinton gave in January supporting Internet freedom, it’s easy to imagine bureaucrats arguing that the U.S. shouldn’t undermine the censorship efforts of Tehran and Beijing. An earlier generation of bureaucrats tried to edit, as overly aggressive, Ronald Reagan’s 1987 speech in Berlin urging Mikhail Gorbachev: “Tear down this wall.”

It’s true that circumvention doesn’t solve every problem. Internet freedom researcher and advocate Rebecca MacKinnon has made the point that “circumvention is never going to be the silver bullet” in the sense that it can only give people access to the open Web. It can’t help with domestic censorship.

During the Cold War, the West expended huge effort to get books, tapes, fax machines, radio reports and other information, as well as the means to convey it, into closed societies. Circumvention is the digital-age equivalent.

If the State Department refuses to support a free Web, perhaps there’s a private solution. An anonymous poster, “chinese.zhang,” suggested on a Google message board earlier this year that the company should fund the Global Internet Freedom Consortium as part of its defense against Chinese censorship. “I think Google can easily offer more servers to help to break down the Great Firewall,” he wrote.

The Wall Street Journal

Posted in Anti-censorship, Asia, China, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, GIFC, Human Rights, Internet, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Software, Speech, Technology, World | Comments Off on Why the State Department refused to spend the funds to “expand access and information in closed societies” such as Iran and China

Best 5 Anti-censorship Software Tools (proxy, VPN), Free ! (Tutorial Video)

Posted by Author on April 1, 2010


[tweetmeme source=’chinaindepth’ only_single=false]

Looking for the best anti-censorship software tools / methods to get around the repressive regimes such as Mainland China and Iran’ firewall and filtering system? And hopefully free?

Solutions: Yes, it’s possible. The following 5 free anti-censorship client software tools are the most powerful tools and and popular methods used by people esp. Chinese people in the past years, to access the information in the free world from inside the closed society, they are UltraSurf, FreeGate, GTunnel, FirePhoenix and GPass.

  • Users from over 180 countries access UltraSurf’s website at over 800 million hits a day !
  • As of May 2008, Dyanweb has had over 150 million user visits

Best 5 Anti-censorship Software Tools

1. UltraSurf (无界)

Download (下载) software from following official websites:

– English: http://www.ultrareach.com/
– Chinese (中文): http://www.wujie.net/

UltraSurf is one of the most successful anti-censorship software in the world. It’s a flagship anti-censorship product by UltraReach  Internet Corp. (www.ultrareach.com), an Internet technology company founded in 2002 by a group of Silicon Valley technologists (Chinese). It’s is a green software, no installation process is needed and no change in system setting is required.

UltraSurf enables users inside countries with heavy Internet censorship to visit any public web sites in the world safely and freely- just the same as using the regular IE browser– while it automatically searches the fastest proxy servers in the background. It has strong support for load balancing and fault tolerance, and it even employs a decoying mechanism to thwart any tracing effort of its communication with its infrastructure.

UltraSurf is a robust anti-censorship system evolved from the lasting battle between Chinese regime’s Great FireWall (GFW) and UltraReach, which has following features:

  • Protect privacy
    Protect Internet privacy with anonymous surfing and browsing — hide IP addresses and locations, clean browsing history, cookies & more …
  • High security
    Completely transparent data transfer and high level encryption of the content allow you to surf the web with high security.
  • Great freedom
    UltraSurf allows you to overcome the censorship and blockage on the Internet. You can browse any website freely, so as to obtain true information from the free world.

UltraSurf has gained large popularity among the Internet users, which has got:

  • Daily hits over 800 million
  • Daily traffic over 8,000 GB
  • Millions of users
  • Users from over 180 countries

With the support of UltraReach’s dedicated anti-censorship force, service of UltraSurf has been serving the censored people for 7 years !

Following video is a UltraSurf Tutorial produced by Freedom House:

2. FreeGate (自由门)

Download (下载) FreeGate Client software and user guide from following official websites:

– Chinese (中文): http://us.dongtaiwang.com/
– English: http://us.dongtaiwang.com/loc/download_en.php

FreeGate is an anti-censorship software for secure and fast Internet access  developed and maintained by Dynamic Internet Technology Inc. (DIT: www.dit-inc.us), a  pioneer in censorship-circumvention operation, which was founded originally in 2001 to provide email delivery services to China for U.S. government agencies and NGOs.

FreeGate works by tapping into an anti-censorship backbone, DynaWeb, DIT’s P2P-like proxy network system and a web-based anti-censorship portal. Once users point their web browser at one of the DynaWeb URLs, a web page will be presented similar to the one at us.dongtaiwang.com, with most blocked websites as links. In addition, a user can type in any URL in the box on this page and DynaWeb will fetch the pages for him/her instantly. No software is needed, nor are any settings tweaked on a user’s computer.

But since the Chinese net police watch DynaWeb’s portal websites closely and block them as soon as they identify them, DynaWeb must indeed be very dynamic. It has hundreds of mirror sites at anytime, and each with a varying IP and DNS domain name, to defeat IP blocking and DNS hijacking. On the backstage, DynaWeb also has mechanisms to proactively monitor the blocking status of each of its mirror sites, and as soon as blocking is detected, it will change the IP and DNS domain name instantly.

There are indications that FreeGate has some capabilities built-in to exploit some zero-day vulnerabilities of Chinese regime’s Great FireWall (GFW).

Following video is a FreeGate  Tutorial produced by Freedom House:

3. GTunnel (花园)

Download (下载) GTunnel Software and user guide  from following official websites:

– English: http://gardennetworks.org/
– Chinese (中文): http://gardennetworks.com/

GTunnel is a Windows application that works as a local HTTP or SOCKS proxy server, developed by non-profit organization Garden Networks (http://gardennetworks.org/), which was made  for people to access Internet content blocked by totalitarian countries such as China and to protect Internet users’ online privacy and security.

After proxy set to GTunnel in web browser (like IE)  or other Internet applications, the traffic will go through GTunnel and Garden Networks’ server farm before it reaches its original destination.

GTunnel protects Internet users’ privacy and freedom of speech in these ways:

  • User’s IP address is hidden and user’s Internet privacy protected. The destination servers see GTunnel server addresses instead.
  • Traffic content is encrypted with industry-strength algorithms between the user’s PC and GTunnel servers so the local filtering/censorship systems will not see the content in clear-text format.
  • Blockade of target servers circumvented.

4. FirePhoenix (火凤凰)

Download (下载) the current FirePhoenix Software and user guide from following official websites:

– English: http://firephoenix.edoors.com/
– Chinese (中文): http://firephoenix.edoors.com/index-cn.html

FirePhoenix (FP) is the first virtual private network (VPN) based anti-censorship tool which is dramatically different from other existing tools. It offers the most powerful protection so far to users working under censorship.

It’s regarded as an all-protocol, automatic, secure and dynamic proxy system that not only encrypts web (http) traffic, but also encrypts emails, online games, instant messages (MSN, Yahoo Messenger, AOL IM, etc.) and streaming medias (videos, etc).

After FirePhoenix installed, to a user, it is just as if his/her computers were directly connected to a wide open network overseas, and the firewall and filter system becomes nonexistent.

FirePhoenix is released in the summer of 2006 by The World’s Gate Inc. (WG), an upcoming organization focusing on building an extensive and trustworthy Internet platform, Edoors (www.edoors.com),  for users from repressive regimes to freely and securely access and publish information such as emails, blogs, forums and social networks.

5. GPass (世界通)

Download (下载) GPass for free from following official websites:

– English: http://gpass1.com/
– Chinese (中文): http://www.gpass1.com/index_cn.php

Gpass is an Internet anti-jamming product widely used in China to overcome Internet censorship, released by World’s Gate, Inc. in the summer of 2006.

Compared with traditional online privacy and anti-jamming products, GPass’s innovative design allows it to

  • support Internet access mechanisms such as Web2.0 websites,
  • online multimedia streaming (e.g. MMS protocol), file transfer (e.g. FTP), and
  • communication tools such as email and instant messengers as well as web surfing (e.g. HTTP).

GPass (and FirePhoenix) sets the trend of multi-protocol protection. Currently most anti-censorship tools only offer protection to web traffic, which means a user’s privacy and safety are only protected when he/she visits those specific websites, but other applications with non-web protocols, such as emails, instant messaging, and audio/video streaming, are still subject to censorship.


Summary 总结

To fight the Goliath of repressive Internet censorship, the above leading companies and grassroots organizations on the front line, formed an alliance, the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIFC). The Consortium brings together a veritable “dream team” of talent and experience combined with dedication and determination.

Dreams,  can become true, with the help of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium – GIFC.

Download (下载)

You can download the up-to-date GIFC  Anti-Censorship Tools Bundle which includes all above 5 popular client software packages from following official website:

English: http://www.internetfreedom.org/

Enjoy !

[tweetmeme source=’chinaindepth’ only_single=false]

Related news:

Why the State Department refused to spend the funds to “expand access and information in closed societies” such as Iran and China, via The Wall Street Journal, May.2, 2010
Iranian Internet lifeline– Chinese Falun Gong’s Software, The New York Time, June 17, 2009
GIF resumes anti-censorship services to Iran due to election crisis, Global Internet Freedom Consortium, June 17, 2009
Editorial: The US congress can help fend off authoritarian censorship in Burma, Iran and China, The Washington Post, July 7, 2009

Posted in Anti-censorship, break net-block, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Life, News, Software, Technology, World | 21 Comments »

Chinese rights advocates ask US for funds to break China ‘firewall’

Posted by Author on February 24, 2010


AFP, Feb. 23, 2010-

WASHINGTON — A coalition of human rights campaigners on Tuesday urged the US government to fund efforts led by the Falungong spiritual movement to circumvent Internet censorship in China and other nations.

Congress approved 30 million dollars in the 2010 budget to combat cyber censorship in China, Iran and elsewhere. But lawmakers have voiced concern that the funding since 2008 has been used ineffectively.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, rights advocates — most from China — urged that money go to the Global Internet Freedom (GIF) Consortium, originally set up to evade China’s Internet “firewall.”

“By taking the right steps, the United States can make a historic contribution to its own security and to the advancement of democracy by rapidly tearing down the information firewalls of the world’s closed societies,” it said.

The letter was signed by exiled leaders of the 1989 democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square including Chai Ling, Wu’er Kaixi and Xiong Yan, along with figures behind the landmark Charter 08 petition for greater freedoms in China.

Other signatories included Rebiya Kadeer, the leader of exiles from China’s Uighur minority, along with activists campaigning for greater openness in Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea and Syria.

GIF software was designed by the Falungong, which was banned by China in 1999 and branded an “evil cult” following a silent mass gathering in Beijing by its members.

But the technology was also put to use last year by Iranians who circumvented censorship to organize protests against clerical hardliners via Twitter and other websites.

The letter said that GIF servers, which nearly crashed after the Iranian elections, could be upgraded to allow 50 million unique users a day, up from 1.5 million now.

Five senators — Democrats Robert Casey, Edward Kaufman and Arlen Specter, along with Republicans Sam Brownback and Jon Kyl — wrote a letter to Clinton last month voicing concern that the grant money was going to waste.

They faulted the State Department for restricting grants to groups working inside a country, countering that “the most successful censorship circumvention tools are operated remotely.”

Clinton, who testifies before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday, last month urged China to conduct a thorough probe into cyberattacks on Google and pressed technology firms to resist censorship.

AFP

Posted in Activist, Anti-censorship, break net-block, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, News, People, Social, Software, Technology, USA, World | Comments Off on Chinese rights advocates ask US for funds to break China ‘firewall’

Promote Internet Freedom in China By Supporting GIF

Posted by Author on January 21, 2010


By Caylan Ford, Via Washington Post, Wednesday, January 20, 2010-

Google announced last week that it is no longer willing to censor its Chinese searches and may soon be closing its offices in China, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be rolling out a new policy initiative concerning internet freedom on Thursday.

But if the State Department and internet giants really want to promote free access to the Internet worldwide, the most effective thing they could do is to support the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIF).

GIF is a small outlet run by a group of Chinese-American computer scientists. Over the last ten years, they have developed a suite of censorship-circumvention software that allows users to safely evade internet firewalls and surveillance. They have no offices or funding. Their scientists work day jobs and pay for their operations out of their own pockets. Yet in spite of their obvious limitation, they are responsible for approximately 90 percent of all anti-censorship internet traffic in China and Iran.

When protests erupted in Burma in 2007 and its military junta moved to violently suppress demonstrations, it was GIF software that activists used to relay images, video and information to the rest of the world. When riots erupted in Tibet in 2008, GIF’s traffic from the region rose by 300 percent. And when Iranians took to the streets to demonstrate against suspected election fraud in 2009, over 1 million Iranians per day were using GIF software to communicate with the outside world. Without GIF, there could have been no “Twitter revolution.

But GIF servers, which can currently support only 1.5 million unique users per day, nearly crashed in the aftermath of the Iranian election. With a small amount of funding or with private donations of server bandwidth, GIF could increase its capacity to support 50 million users. …… (more details)

Posted in Anti-censorship, break net-block, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Software, Technology, USA, World | Comments Off on Promote Internet Freedom in China By Supporting GIF

U.S. government slow-walks congressional initiatives of supporting Internet freedom in countries such as China

Posted by Author on November 22, 2009


The Washington Post, Saturday, November 21, 2009 –

THE MOST interesting question President Obama fielded in China came over the Internet, via the U.S. Embassy, from a Chinese citizen who asked, “Do you know of the firewall? Should we be able to use Twitter freely?” In response, Mr. Obama, speaking at a town hall in Shanghai, did not directly address China’s massive Internet censorship operation — “the firewall” — and he confessed that he does not use Twitter. But he said, “I’m a big supporter of not restricting Internet use, Internet access, other information technologies like Twitter.”

No doubt that’s correct. And, just as likely, Mr. Obama is not aware that his State Department not only is doing next to nothing to support Internet freedom in countries such as China, but that it also has been slow-walking congressional initiatives to do so.

For two years Congress has appropriated funds to support groups that are developing ways to circumvent the Chinese firewall and those erected in Iran, Burma, Cuba and other repressive countries. The most prominent of the groups, the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, says it has the capacity to host 1.5 million users daily. Its technology works: Shiyu Zhou, the deputy director of the consortium, testified to the U.S. Helsinki Commission last month that at the height of opposition protests on June 20, more than 1 million Iranians used the system. He said that with $30 million of additional funding, capacity could be increased to 50 million users a day, making it “prohibitively expensive for any repressive government to counter our efforts.”

A bipartisan coalition that includes Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) has been trying to channel the necessary funding. A total of $20 million has been included in the past two State Department budgets, and $30 million more is pending in the Senate’s version of the 2010 budget. But State hasn’t passed the money on to the firewall-busters. Instead it gave the lion’s share of its 2008 appropriation to a group that specializes in conducting media studies and training journalists, and it has failed to distribute the 2009 funds, even though the fiscal year ended nearly three weeks ago. The department says it is increasing the staff dedicated to working on Internet freedom issues and that it is funding some “implementing partners” that it won’t identify.

Still, no money is going to the one organization with a proven record of overcoming firewalls. The group’s advocates suspect that that’s because the Global Internet Freedom Consortium is identified with China’s banned Falun Gong movement — and State is fearful of Beijing’s reaction to any U.S. support for it. The Obama administration has already done plenty to appease the Chinese regime. The least it can do is act on the president’s own words about the value of free information — and help give Chinese their chance to Twitter.

The Washington Post

Posted in Anti-censorship, break net-block, China, Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Internet, News, People, Politics, Software, Technology, USA, World | 1 Comment »

Editorial: The US congress can help fend off authoritarian censorship in Burma, Iran and China

Posted by Author on July 7, 2009


Editorials, The Washington Post, July 7, 2009 –

FROM TWITTERERS in Tehran to bloggers in Burma, citizens living under authoritarian regimes depend upon free access to the Internet for information, coordination and the ability to make themselves heard. That’s why oppressive governments devote so much effort to online censorship: They, too, recognize the power of information to promote freedom. But some independent groups are pushing back against their control.

The indelible images and powerful stories that have emerged from Iran in recent weeks have been made possible by the efforts of a few volunteer experts running a makeshift system of patchwork servers. The Global Internet Freedom Consortium, a small, non-governmental organization, provides access to almost 1 million users daily and, according to recent statistics, to more than 90 percent of anti-censorship traffic from China and Iran. Its software allows users to evade online censors by connecting to a remote server that switches IP addresses nearly once a second to avoid being traced. But increased demand for the Internet amid recent turmoil has been overloading the consortium’s servers just when access is most needed. For the peaceful online revolution to continue, congressional support is necessary.

Before the Senate Appropriations Committee is a bill that could provide access to 100 million distinct users every day. Dedicating $50 million in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill to Internet freedom could allow millions who live in autocratic societies access to the Internet. Internet freedom has long been a stated congressional priority — the 2008 appropriations bill included a commitment to provide “anti-censorship tools and services for the advancement of information freedom in closed societies.” Now is the time for Congress to put its money behind its words.

For every dollar the United States spends to guarantee access, oppressive regimes must spend thousands to put up walls and barriers. Once enough there are enough holes in a firewall, it crumbles. The technology for this exists. What is needed is more capacity.

The Washington Post

Posted in all Hot Topic, Anti-censorship, break net-block, China, Commentary, Firewall, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, GIFC, Human Rights, Internet, News, Opinion, Social, Software, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on Editorial: The US congress can help fend off authoritarian censorship in Burma, Iran and China

GIF resumes anti-censorship services to Iran due to election crisis

Posted by Author on June 18, 2009


Press Release, Global Internet Freedom Consortium, June 17, 2009 –

ATLANTA, June 17, 2009 – In response to increased attempts from Iranian web surfers to use its anti-censorship services, Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIF) has resumed them to Iran. This step has been greeted by an extraordinary traffic spike.

Amidst the political tumult, web surfers in Iran have literally rushed to utilize GIF’s protocols in order to obtain secure and censorship-immune channels of communication.

“Due to the dynamic situation in Iran caused by the election and its protest aftermath, the number of daily ‘hits’ from Iran has tripled during the past week,” said Dr. Shiyu Zhou, Deputy Director of GIF.

Considering the special circumstances in Iran, GIF temporarily reopened its anti-censorship services to Iranian web surfers on June 13. More than 120 million web ‘hits’ to GIF immediately followed on the next day, up from less than 60 million before the reopening. On June 16, GIF protocols logged more than 200 million daily ‘hits,’ or 400,000 estimated unique users, from Iran.

Unfortunately, server crashes caused by overload have been reported from GIF data centers.

Iran had been GIF’s second largest user base, only trailing China, until the end of 2008. The growing, word-of-mouth popularity of GIF tools, including FreeGate and UltraSurf, raised late 2008 demand to the level of overloading the capacity of GIF’s servers.

Given the risk of worldwide GIF system crashes, major cutbacks of GIF’s “lifeline” services to Iran and elsewhere had to be put into effect in early 2009, resulting in a sharp drop in Iran-originated traffic and user outcries.

“Our technology is highly scalable, and we really want to provide our services to everyone in repressive regimes,” said Dr. Zhou. “However, with our very limited resources we cannot now afford infrastructure large enough to do that. Our current service enhancement for the Iranian users will therefore be temporary unless we can find the support to sustain the operation.”

Global Internet Freedom Consortium

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Iranian Internet lifeline– Chinese Falun Gong’s Software

Posted by Author on June 17, 2009


By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, The New York Times, June 17, 2009 –

The unrest unfolding in Iran is the quintessential 21st-century conflict. On one side are government thugs firing bullets. On the other side are young protesters firing “tweets.”

The protesters’ arsenal, such as those tweets on Twitter.com, depends on the Internet or other communications channels. So the Iranian government is blocking certain Web sites and evicting foreign reporters or keeping them away from the action.

The push to remove witnesses may be the prelude to a Tehran Tiananmen. Yet a secret Internet lifeline remains, and it’s a tribute to the crazy, globalized world we live in. The lifeline was designed by Chinese computer engineers in America to evade Communist Party censorship of a repressed Chinese spiritual group, the Falun Gong.

Today, it is these Chinese supporters of Falun Gong who are the best hope for Iranians trying to reach blocked sites.

“We don’t have the heart to cut off the Iranians,” said Shiyu Zhou, a computer scientist and leader in the Chinese effort, called the Global Internet Freedom Consortium. “But if our servers overload too much, we may have to cut down the traffic.”

Mr. Zhou said that usage of the consortium’s software has tripled in the last week. It set a record on Wednesday of more than 200 million hits from Iran, representing more than 400,000 people.

If President Obama wants to support democratic movements on a shoestring, he should support an “Internet freedom initiative” pending in Congress. This would include $50 million in the appropriations bill for these censorship-evasion technologies. The 21st-century equivalent of the Berlin wall is a cyberbarrier, and we can help puncture it.

Mr. Zhou, the son of a Chinese army general, said that he and his colleagues began to develop such software after the 1999 Chinese government crackdown on Falun Gong (which the authorities denounce as a cult). One result was a free software called Freegate, small enough to carry on a flash drive. It takes a surfer to an overseas server that changes I.P. addresses every second or so, too quickly for a government to block it, and then from there to a banned site.

Freegate amounts to a dissident’s cyberkit. E-mails sent with it can be encrypted. And after a session is complete, a press of a button eliminates any sign that it was used on that computer.

The consortium also makes available variants of the software, such as Ultrasurf, and other software to evade censors is available from Tor Project and the University of Toronto.

Originally, Freegate was available only in Chinese and English, but a growing number of people have been using it in other countries, such as Myanmar. Responding to the growing use of Freegate in Iran, the consortium introduced a Farsi-language version last July — and usage there skyrocketed.

Soon almost as many Iranians were using it as Chinese, straining server capacity (many Chinese are wary of Freegate because of its links to Falun Gong, which even ordinary citizens often distrust). The engineers in the consortium, worrying that the Iran traffic would crash their servers, dropped access in Iran in January but restored it before the Iran election.

“We know the pain of people in closed societies, and we do want to accommodate them,” Mr. Zhou said……. (more from the New York Times)

Posted in Anti-censorship, Asia, break net-block, censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, GIFC, Human Rights, Internet, News, Overseas Chinese, People, Politics, Social, Software, Speech, Spiritual, Technology, World | Comments Off on Iranian Internet lifeline– Chinese Falun Gong’s Software

Green Tsunami Released to Burst China’s Green Dam Censorship

Posted by Author on June 17, 2009


Press Release, Global Internet Freedom, June 16, 2009 –

ATLANTA, June 16, 2009 – A few days after China announced the mandatory installation of censorship software on every PC sold in China, a leading anti-censorship organization has released software to defeat it.

Global Internet Freedom (GIF; http://www.internetfreedom.org), a consortium formed by several technology companies specialized in circumventing political censorship on the internet by repressive regimes, announced today its release of “Green Tsunami,” software designed for Chinese users to detect, disable or remove “Green Dam.”

Green Tsunami gives users options to temporarily disable the monitoring of “Green Dam,” or to completely purge it from their computers.

The censorship software, Green Dam, is developed with the support of the Chinese government, which then announced the mandatory installation program for the alleged purpose of blocking pornography and other “harmful” content, and protecting the youth.

GIF’s analysis of the software reveals, however, that Green Dam is designed to filter a much wider range of content than pornography, based on long blacklists including keywords such as “Anti-China Congressmen,” “Falun Gong,” and even “Argentina.”

In addition, Green Dam has built-in functions designed specifically to cripple FreeGate and UltraSurf, two of the most popular anti-censorship software tools developed and supported by GIF. Chinese users have used both to circumvent the filtering and blocking by the Chinese national gateways, the so-called “Great Firewall.” The censorship software is also engineered to be very difficult for average users to uninstall it.

GIF has developed counter-measures to evade and defeat Green Dam, and is releasing Green Tsunami with either FreeGate or UltraSurf built in, so GIF’s anti-censorship software users will largely be unaffected by China’s new move.

“One of the great privileges of my life has been to watch the GIF developers play an instrumental role in causing Chinese regime to move from efforts at national gateway monitoring and censorship to their recent, desperate resort to an overtly Big Brother system requiring the installation of bugs on every computer in China,” said Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D. C. and advisor to GIF.

“The disabling of the regime’s ‘Green Dam’ bug system represents an important step towards shattering the internet firewalls which 21st century dictatorships must maintain in order to stay in power. Today’s ‘Green Tsunami’ development is of as much importance to the people of Iran, Burma, Cuba, Vietnam, and Syria as it is to the people of China.” Mr. Horowitz said.

Green Tsunami-enabled FreeGate and UltraSurf are available for download, free of charge, at http://www.dongtaiwang.com and http://www.wujie.net/download.htm, respectively.

Global Internet Freedom

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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)

Posted in Anti-censorship, Asia, break net-block, China, Falun Gong, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, News, People, Politics, Social, Software, Technology, World | 4 Comments »