Google Blogoscoped


Let's Break the Great Firewall!

Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

Monday, January 30, 2006
16 years ago

How about if Google invested the same amount of money they are sinking into strengthening the Great Firewall, into BREAKING the Great Firewall?
Can't we use technology to free people instead of to find new ways to enslave them?
It's not hard to think up ways to have a search engine use encryption, tunneling, Napster-type networks, or other technologies to deliver uncensored news and links past the Great Firewall.
But if Google's assets are at risk of seizure by the butchers in Beijing, it will never happen at their hands.
One day, if un-courageous people continue to aid dictators just for the money, this same technology will eventually be used against us.
Google, will you accept this challenge? To break the Great Firewall, not be a willing part of it?
P.S. Let's not wait for Google! Can YOU help crack the Great Firewall? If many computer/firewall-smart people each tackle the problem, we can help deliver freedom of speech to the Chinese! Try it! Maybe this website can become a coordinating place for such efforts. Pass this on to your lists too and see what happens!

Garett Rogers [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I'm sick of this censorship thing...

Google is doing the right thing by at least bringing reliable search (be it censored or not) to the Chinese... Their long term mission is to build a relationship with China so in the future they can bring more services and maybe even uncensored search capabilities.

Google cannot simply waltz into China and "break the firewall" because people in this country think it would be "the right thing to do"... It's like China trying to "bring communism" to the US...

When in Rome my friends...

I agree [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

This is the link to Google's China censorship apology. In effect, it says it's ok if the only search results the Chinese people get concerning Tienanmen Square is about the pretty flowers there, not what really happened on June 4, 1989--as long as the search service is available reliably 100% of the time. Quality of service, not quality of truth!

Those who don't remember history... [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Yup, the Nazis appreciated American businesses willing to "build a relationship" with them too.

It was IBM Hollerith punch-card 'computers' which were used in the censuses and across the Third Reich.

The Nazis sorted the cards and knew exactly where to hunt down the Jews, it was made easy thanks to American technology. They were even installed and serviced in concentration camps, no doubt IBM hoped to be able to deliver more services in the future as well!,black,33412,1.html

IBM's technology did not free the Germans, and Google's obediently adding bricks to the 'great firewall' won't free the Chinese.

Garett Rogers [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Google is simply giving Chinese people the same information that they always had access to, but making it faster and more reliable.

Google isn't "adding bricks to the 'great firewall'"... they have just moved inside of it! Even if they didn't choose to censor the results, users still couldn't access the content of their searches. The firewall will continue to exist regardless of what Google does.

That is an interesting article though...

Humour [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Google joins "i Repress"

Ways to influence Google [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Good ways to influence Google if you are not a programmer who can directly help crack the Great Firewall of China

Google hack [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Good people are already working to help!

"Chinese web users can see full, uncensored results for their Google search by replacing "&meta=" with "&meta=cr%3DcountryBR" in the URL. Once the string is replaced, the censorship will not affect the results."

Try other country codes as well if Google's censors get wise to this hack.

mis-spell? [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Chinese Google filter only works if you can spell

Hactivism [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

"Hactivist" links

Matthew Knowlton [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

It's not that bad. I tried the chinese words, for the so called 'censored words' they worked fine.
But I agree, Let's break the censorship wall.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

has anyone asked why cisco sold all those ids/pix506 and firewall hardware/software to the chinese regime ?? after all, THE FIREWALL comes from those technologies!!

a suggestion to Google [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

What if Google funded thousands of proxy servers?

I really wanted to suggest something in hopes that some decision maker at Google, MSN, or Yahoo may consider it if they have not already. Google and the other search engines have the infrastructure and capability to create, setup, and maintain massive amounts of proxy servers. If they really wanted to make a significant contribution to the goal of providing free and uncensored information to Chinese citizens, they could do it. Simply create proxy servers accessible by those in China that could then relay http traffic anonymously. Shit, throw a couple million at it and make it a freakin huge proxy network that rotates through different IP ranges every couple weeks so that Chinese government agencies can't keep up with them.

That is, if they really wanted to not be evil.

If they wanted to be creative with it, they could take one of their services, Google Talk for example, and provide a feature in the client that would allow one to browse to a site via their proxy servers. One idea would be to place an input field in a panel used to enter in a friends user name that you would like to connect to, but if you inputted a url, it would still relay the request to their proxy servers. Of course that would be in violation of the clients EULA, but then they could just leave the capability their and never get around to "patching" it.

Its just an idea, but I wish that they used their incredibly gifted employees to do something really great.

MSN Spaces Hack [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #


Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Here's an idea, maybe it's been tried, but perhaps it'll work:

Make webpages using text which is so hideously pro-Beijing that the page is guaranteed to rank high in Make it sound like a propaganda department masterpiece.

BUT the real news is delivered in text in images. img tags and titles also praise Beijing.

Thus: html text says in Chinese: "Glorious Worker's Collective Visits Tiananmen Square to Honor Party Leaders"

Gif images carry all the text of the REAL news. News can be updated daily or as needed by creating new images.

Perhaps the easiest way to do it is to take digital photos of pro-human-rights Chinese language newspapers, or screen captures of such websites.

Searches on for "Tiananmen" will include the site, and by chance many people will click on the link and learn the facts.

Create and host these outside of the People's Repression of China to avoid risking lives.

The key is lots and lots of people making these pages, so as fast as Google's loyal (to whom?) employees discover a page and censor it, many more appear to take their place.

Pretty soon, Chinese looking for the real news will learn how to search for these sites: enter vomitously pro-Beijing keywords, and sift through the list of genuine CCP sites for our "fakes".

Perhaps the idea will work for a few months or even a few years. Any and all efforts will be nails in the coffin of tyranny.

Perhaps the Great Firewall will have to censor all websites which praise the Communist Party (what a pity) to stop the threat!

Wanna try? Be a freedom fighter armed with truthful Gifs? Go for it!

Please forward this idea widely, especially to anyone who can write Chinese and has basic web authoring skills.

Don't Be Evil--Ignored [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

I tried this string--who knows, it could have been a hidden feature.

Still got the Commie Lovers Buffet of truth-free pictures.

Try, try again!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

SupportFreedom, I think whatever approach you have for making good things rank high in Google... chances are, the Communist Party will now also check Google results for certain "sensitive" searches, and simply update Google Inc with a new blacklist. Google didn't tell us yet how they aim to fight new inclusions into the blacklist. Just last week, a new print magazine has been banned in China because someone in it critized the CP.

I couldn't find an English link, only this Chinese version:

Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I understand.

1. I don't believe Google has ANY plan to fight the blacklist. We can dream, but the way the deal works, Google is welcome in China as long as they pro-actively censor. Their investment is effectively held hostage for good behaviour. They are reportedly only given guidelines, not just a specific list, of what to censor; and all early evidence shows a great over-reaching in order to be a Loyal Party Member.

Jokes, dating and other non-"sensitive" subjects are reported as being banned in addition to human rights news just so they don't leave anything which could jeopardize their relationship with Beijing. Over-censorship is the result of this method. It's why Yahoo turned in the journalist and Microsoft shut down the blog.

The regime is scared to death of citizens communicating together or learning about human rights or even bird flu. They are deadly serious about suppressing at any cost a possible revolution, all demands for human rights, or anything which would prevent them from their plans to slaughter freedom in Taiwan. They would take drastic action should one of their invited partners like Google decide to cheat. Such a company would have to be prepared to lose everything if it tried, and with Google's market loss, they are desperate to make money, any way they can. Maybe if ALL the American companies in China banded together, Beijing would have to give in. Some talk in Congress of passing such a law, it would need a lot of citizen pressure to win.

2. The idea is to make websites which contain no keywords for the Great Firewall to spot. All the html text would be CCP-friendly propaganda or non-political stuff: "Agricultural History of Canton", etc.

But when you look at the images, it is the images which have the real news: snapshots of text from human rights websites, photos of articles in un-censored newspapers and even the banned print magazine. The names of the gif files and their img tags would be innocent-sounding. A human would have to actually look at the images to spot something different; everything would look "politically correct" to Google's "Red" Spider or to censor's searches for banned words. The searches can't read a gif or jpg, that's the key.

Chinese would stumble upon the pages by accident: a student researching the Ming dynasty might click on a link with text about Ming history, only to find the pages full of photos of human rights magazine articles. So we may reach an entirely random selection of people, not necessarily people searching for "human rights" or the name of the latest village massacre; however we will have educated many people before the wrong person spots the page and sends it to Google's 'Memory Hole' (Orwell term). Some people would spread the link, attracting many visitors. And it would be safer for people to email a link to a friend if the only html text on the page was "politically correct", thus not triggering an email-scan alarm.

That's the main concept!

Dont Use Google [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Searches specifically for those words which Google censors. Awesome!

PC Doc [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

[moved from "Is Google sick?"]

Google's kowtowing to Beijing is unfortunate because millions would miss the chance to browse overseas Web portals, let alone join our conversations. What needs to be done about this? We ought to help the silenced surfers in China...

Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I invite anyone with ideas, hacks, etc. to post them here and anywhere else to get the message out.

Hackers/Hactivists: How would you get content to the Chinese safely and widely?

Solutions could include searches which can bypass the Great Firewall; the ability to create webpages, blogs, and sending emails without being intercepted by the Firewall or even monitors at internet cafes. It could include all manner of techniques including encryption, proxy servers, etc.

The future of 1.3 billion Chinese depends on their being able to hear their own Martin Luther Kings and Rosa Parks!

Human rights. Should be a feature, not a problem.

Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

It's easy to get used to things, and to forget yesterday's news.

Just to keep the subject in perspective...

Food for thought for those considering accepting Google's excuses, or those who don't care: If it's OK to join in on censoring the Chinese people to make a buck, why not censor in America too?

Are we somehow "better"? More "deserving" of free speech and democracy? What makes us so special that we should be exempt from wearing the chains we build for others?
Chinese people get killed and jailed for free speech. The Chinese dictators are deadly serious about crushing even the slightest spark of freedom or truth. This is a link to story about a Chinese news editor beaten to death by 50 police for reporting about minor corruption involving bicycle licenses:

By becoming part of the Chinese censorship police, Google is an accomplice to China's human rights crimes in the same way as the driver of the get-away car is found equally guilty of robbing the bank.

IBM had a similar relationship with the Nazis. We must learn from history. Read in this link how the number tattooed on Jews in concentration camps was actually the IBM "Hollerith" tabulator's tracking number:,black,39111,1.html

Today, it's the IP number that Yahoo used to track down Chinese reporter Shi Tao, for imprisonment by China for sending an email--different era and technology, same effect:

The Shi Tao story:

Where does this end? Only at U.S. shores? That seems to be Google's "Evil Scale" decision--Censor freedom in China, but don't turn over to the U.S. government the search information they want.

And what makes us so sure that the chains we build for others won't be used on us too?

Let's learn from history. Just say NO to Evil. Everywhere.

terribly sad [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

All of you people make me sad....I really can't help but cry at your stupidity and think that humanity desrves what it gets.

Come on, do you really think that that fighting cenosring is going to change the world for the better?

Take a good look around you, at all the stuff you bought. Notice where it's made. How much stuff you own that is "made in china/vietnam/etc"? Made by people working in slave conditions for slave wages? For making more and more outrageous profits for American compaines, while at the same time rising uneployemnt in US?

So what do you do about it?
Really, what do YOU DO about it?

Do you stop buying Nike's? Levi's?

Hey, it's you who wanted to help the poor people in China/wherever who are opressed.
Why dont you help them? It's within your reach....

What does it matter that you can find information in the "free world" when no one cares enough to look for it?

Most Americans have no idea about history, and they are just fine with it...

Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Just when it gets discouraging, good people create tools to help free the Chinese--and bypass the enslaving efforts of Google, Yahoo (how many people DID you turn in?), Cisco, Microsoft, etc.

Spread the word to anyone you know in China and other tyrannies--Tor may help bypass the Chinese censors.

And thank the good people who created Tor and other ideas!
Tor: An anonymous Internet communication system.
Tor is a toolset for a wide range of organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet. Using Tor can help you anonymize web browsing and publishing, instant messaging, IRC, SSH, and other applications that use the TCP protocol. Tor also provides a platform on which software developers can build new applications with built-in anonymity, safety, and privacy features.

justin flavin [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

actually, i think google did the RIGHT thing in a clever sort of way.
if they said to China , "no thanks" , and pulled out of the Chinese market, it would be forgotten about in a week.

But by agreeing to the Chinese governments filtering rules, the story has blown up into a far bigger news item – and it throwing a light on the censoring that goes on in China, and the totalitarian nature of the Chinese government.

In my view, the Chinese CP has scored an own goal.

daphantomextreme [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

how to break a fire wall

Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Justin, you've got an excellent point. Google in my opinion had no intention of doing anything more than making money from China, following Beijing's dictates in order to profit from it. They likely expected a ripple of news about it, such as happened when Yahoo went to China, and then the world would forget and they would have gotten away with it.

But this hit a nerve! They violated basic public relations concepts with the blatent contradiction to their "Do no evil" motto. You can't loudly say "we're good" and then do something so clearly bad. They had it all rationalized, the excuses were on their website; but the public didn't buy it for a minute. Politicians do this all the time: "trust me", and then their hand is caught where it shouldn't be...

So unwillingly they may have become the straw that broke the camel's back, and in hindsight that could be a good thing for the Chinese. Not that Google wanted to do more than make a lot of money with their eyes shut to the effects.

Their contradictory actions provided the spark that shined the glare of the world's attention on China's tyrannical censorship and the companies that profit from building the machines of slavery in China and elsewhere.

With luck, and especially with the continued actions by many; perhaps Good will win over Evil, and a year or five from now we can point back to this moment and say "that's when China's tyranny started to crumble", just as we point to November 9, 1989 when people danced on the Berlin Wall, and the Soviet empire was buried in the scrap heap of history only months later.

Support Freedom! [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

A horrific reminder of what we're fighting to stop forever. 16 years of prison and torture for minor participation in the Tiananmen Square protests...

Protester in Mao portrait attack freed after 16 years

It is shocking to imagine spending 16 years in jail for throwing eggshells full of paint at a portrait of a dead political figure, but if that leader is Chairman Mao Zedong and the portrait is the focus of China's Communist Party iconography, prepare for serious repercussions. Yu Dongyue, 38, a former arts journalist, left prison a broken, deranged man yesterday after serving a sentence for throwing the paint bombs at the Mao portrait on Tiananmen Square during the 1989 Tiananmen protests.

Mr Yu's mind is gone from his long period in jail, during which time he was tortured, rights activists say. His brother had to take him to his parents' house in Shegang in the southern province of Hunan, which is a seven-hour drive. During his incarceration in Hunan province's No1 Prison, he spent two years in solitary confinement, he was given electric shocks, beaten and tortured in other ways.


Mr Me [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

You think china is the only place being censored by Google.

clover [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

I like the idea that Google BREAKING the Great Firewall, and I can say it would bring a great success to Google. To access the website been censored by China, many chinese people use a few free software tools, like Gpass (, deveped by small group of technicians. Although the software is small, but it's effective. Google can do much better on it.

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