Google Blogoscoped

Wednesday, July 5, 2006


Do you want to kill someone’s access to Yahoo China? It’s easy – just include a hidden Iframe with a search for e.g. falun gong on a website. The user who visits that site will then still be able to access, but not be able to see any search results – including those for non-censored terms – for some amount of time (instead, there will be a message that reads “The connection was reset”).

You can reproduce this by going to, and first search for commercial words like coke (which works), then search for falun gong, then try again to search for coke (which won’t work).

However, this could also be dangerous for Chinese surfers as it would appear as if they’d have searched for something the Chinese gov’t tries to suppress (in fact, it’s quite easy to “plant” a specific search history using hidden Iframes... this works with Google as well). Then again, it’s possible that as soon as a large Chinese website includes such an Iframe, there will be no way for the Chinese internet police to track all users, if they track searches for e.g. “falun gong” in the first place (which seems unlikely as there may be too many).

Is Yahoo aware of this additional problem with their censorship (which, as opposed to what Google is doing, is never disclosed as such)?


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