Software rams great firewall of China
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  1. #1
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
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    Software rams great firewall of China

    The source: http://news.com.com/2100-1028-997101.html?tag=fd_top

    By Paul Festa
    Staff Writer, CNET News.com
    April 16, 2003, 7:24 AM PT

    The news and propaganda wing behind the U.S. government's Voice of America broadcasts has commissioned software that lets Chinese Web surfers sneak around the boundaries set by their government.

    The software enables PC users running Microsoft's Windows XP or 2000 operating systems to set up a simple version of what's known as a circumvention Web server, or a computer that essentially digs a tunnel under a firewall set up by a government, corporation, school or other organization.

    In this case, the United States is eyeing the millions of Chinese Web surfers stuck behind their government's firewall--as well as other people around the world who are prevented from downloading American news and propaganda.

    "The news is highly censored," said Ken Berman, program manager for Internet anticensorship at the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), which puts out the Voice of America radio and Internet transmissions, along with other international programs. "The Chinese government jams all of our radio broadcasts and blocks access by their people to our Web site. We want to allow the people there to have the tools to be able to have a look at it."

    China keeps a particularly strong lock on the Internet. The government has blocked popular search engines and prevailed on Western companies such as Yahoo to voluntarily restrict their Web content in China. In one U.S. study, China was found to be blocking 19,000 Web sites including those providing news, health information, political coverage and entertainment.

    In November, Amnesty International named 33 companies including Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Cisco Systems that it said were providing the Chinese with technology to achieve its Internet censorship aims.

    The idea behind the U.S.-backed software is to allow someone trying to evade a firewall to tunnel under it via a third-party computer not blocked by the firewall. The software, which uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), lets the person who installs it set up a miniature Web site through which a firewall-restricted surfer can access the rest of the Web.

    In addition to circumventing firewalls, the software also creates anonymity by covering the Web surfer's tracks and leaving no record of what sites he or she visited beyond the miniature Web site.

    The software being tested grew out of a December roundtable in which participants raised the possibility of skirting the Chinese information blockade. In response, the IBB commissioned anticensorship activist Bennett Haselton for an undisclosed sum to craft a user-friendly circumvention server.

    Haselton on Wednesday posted instructions on how to use the software on his Peacefire Web site.

    Similar software already exists but without sufficient ease of use that it could achieve widespread international distribution.

    The IBB hasn't figured out exactly how it will distribute the software, or how it will solve the chicken-and-egg conundrum of getting the word out to people who are prevented from hearing the IBB's message in the first place. One possible solution is to tap dissident expatriate communities that maintain ties to their homeland.

    According to an unscientific survey conducted last year, the Chinese make up the second largest national group surfing the Web, after Americans.

    The pairing of the U.S. government and Haselton--who is noted for opposing efforts in public libraries and schools to install filtering software on government-funded computers--makes something of an odd couple.

    In fact, the IBB's research and development dollars could ultimately wind up undermining U.S.-supported efforts to restrict Web surfing and blocking software--not to mention content filters that are in use in other contexts.

    What, for example, if the repressive regime turns out to be a curious teenager's parents?

    "We're trying to get people to run circumventor software," the IBB's Berman said. "Once it's running, does 13-year-old Joey find it? We like to call our program a portal to democracy. Whether the same tools are used by teenagers here--it's difficult to try to put controls on that."

    For his own part, Haselton cheerfully acknowledged the potential domestic application of his circumvention.

    "It also apparently works to get around most blocking software proxies and client programs used in the U.S., although there are ways that blocking software companies could counteract it," according to Haselton. "But until they do implement the countermeasures and convince everybody to upgrade, it will work to defeat a lot of the home and school blocking software programs as well."

  2. #2
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    I believe Hacktivismo has a program that accomplish's this but it's for linux. It can be found on the main page here: http://hacktivismo.com/ It's called 6/4

    Great find by the way
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  3. #3
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
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    Ya the program its self isn't to amazing its the fact that is government sponsored.
    Its not software piracy. Iím just making multiple off site backups.

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    Whoa!

    Government sponsored Whoa!

    It probably is really goodd and the DoD will get it, until they can break it.

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    Interesting post....

    Just wondering, if it helps users inside tunnel out under firewalls and they distribute this software en masse..... Then would it also work vice versa and help people tunnel in? Kinda makes the firewall a bit redundant, if you ask me...

    That would be an awful lot of tunnels considering china is the second largest Internet user ...

    Can of worms anyone?
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    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    So here's a question for you: if the site in question is in Michigan or one of the other Super DMCA states, is this software breaking the law since the intent is to deliberately hide?
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    HAHA THAT's FUNNY try .www.123.net

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    This is some what old news, a few years back Amnesty International commissioned two hackers to knock the fire wall down (it turns out it was running IP chains on Linux) which they proceeded to do...didn't do much good as only x% of people have access to the net in china where x is a stupidly small number.

    The fire wall tunnel will not get any new anti-china converts as anyone who listens to radio America is already anti-china, what it dose is put government funding on a project that is going to come back and bit all of us security admins in the end. I spend a lot of time making sure users can't get to Bear Share and what not if they get an easy to use way to circumvent my blocking my bandwidth will go to hell.

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    seems to me that Oblivious and bballad are in disagreement on how many of the chinese people can access the I-net.... so which is it? IS china the 2nd largest i-net user, or do they not have many net users???
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  10. #10
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    Originally posted here by cross
    seems to me that Oblivious and bballad are in disagreement on how many of the chinese people can access the I-net.... so which is it? IS china the 2nd largest i-net user, or do they not have many net users???
    Last I heard India was number two, not sure who Number three was...Considering the lack of facilities to the rural districts in China I would be very suprised if they where number 3

    EDIT: well it looks like we where both right...with 45 million net users China is number two on the net (behind the US with 150 million). With 1.3 Billion people 45 million isn't even a drop in the Chinese bucket (the per capita net user number is stupid small) so for the web world there is a lot of them...in China its not a significant number of people. (Lies damm lies and statistics as they say)
    here is a link
    http://cyberatlas.internet.com/big_p...151151,00.html

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