China starts keyword based censorship of phone conversations — Google spends $1 million to develop tools to detect Internet throttling, government censorship

You thought that the tension between China and Google couldn't be higher? Think again. Google is still fighting for freedom and transparency, while China is doing the exact opposite:
(Ars Technica) — Google has awarded $1 million to Georgia Tech researchers so that they can develop simple tools to detect Internet throttling, government censorship, and other "transparency" problems.

That money will cover two years of work at Georgia Tech, with an additional $500,000 extension possible if Google wants an extra year of development. At the end of the project, the Georgia Tech team hopes to provide "a suite of Web-based, Internet-scale measurement tools that any user around the world could access for free. With the help of these tools, users could determine whether their ISPs are providing the kind of service customers are paying for, and whether the data they send and receive over their network connections is being tampered with by governments and/or ISPs."

(NYT) — If anyone wonders whether the Chinese government has tightened its grip on electronic communications since protests began engulfing the Arab world, Shakespeare may prove instructive.

A Beijing entrepreneur, discussing restaurant choices with his fiancée over their cellphones last week, quoted Queen Gertrude’s response to Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The second time he said the word “protest,” her phone cut off.

He spoke English, but another caller, repeating the same phrase on Monday in Chinese over a different phone, was also cut off in midsentence.

A host of evidence over the past several weeks shows that Chinese authorities are more determined than ever to police cellphone calls, electronic messages, e-mail and access to the Internet in order to smother any hint of antigovernment sentiment. In the cat-and-mouse game that characterizes electronic communications here, analysts suggest that the cat is getting bigger, especially since revolts began to ricochet through the Middle East and North Africa, and homegrown efforts to organize protests in China began to circulate on the Internet about a month ago.
There's a lot more in the NYT report.


Dave Narby said...

Sounds to me like the Chinese government is pretty damned worried.

I can't think of any other reason they would do something like that.

It's monumentally stupid IMO... People will catch on, resent the government, and just develop a system of code words, such as substituting words and phrases such as 'protest the government' with 'refinance the loan'.

Hey Wong, are you going to refinance the loan on Saturday? Sure thing Hong, I 'll see you at the loan refinancing then.

Can you imagine?

pej said...

Yes, very good point.

Moreover, it shows that China bulls are getting it wrong. China is a command economy due to collapse.