If you’re not familiar with the Great Firewall of China, you should know that it is essentially a filter against all the bad the western world brings to the internet. The internet can bring bad stuff? Indeed, it can and China is really concerned about it. In a new report from the Wall Street Journal, we find out that China has increased the limits of the Great Firewall even more in the past few days. The newly unveiled internet filter is designed to keep Chinese users out of the evil western world of Google and Facebook, most likely.
Can you imagine a government that disapproves of freely available information, social media and ultimately freedom of speech in the online medium? You don’t need to, as China is exactly that, subjectively speaking. The new upgrade to the Great Firewall of China brings new filters against virtual private networks (VPN), which means that it will be even more difficult to access U.S. services like Google and Facebook within the country.
The level of control China has over its internet service and service providers is increasing and we are expecting a new round of riots trying to combat the new measures. While the updates to the Great Firewall of China aren’t meant to censor, per se, they actually do just that. The updates aim to filter out content critical of China and the Chinese government, as well as protect the country’s own services in the face of strong competition overseas. If that’s not monopolizing the country’s internet, I don’t know what is. Did you know that China wants U.S. companies to allow security inspections from the country? Indeed, it does.
Now, the Great Firewall of China is blocking known VPNs, as well as connections that “might be” VPNs. The improvements to the firewall make the filtering process much more automated and remote, so it will be harder to by-pass the new restrictions. Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and more are now basically unavailable to Chinese citizens. The issue is gaining momentum in China and people are getting annoyed by how hard it is to correlate much-needed information from the rest of the world with their own. The restriction of VPNs by the Great Firewall of China means that technology, science, education and entertainment have a lot to loose and miss out on. Nicely done, China.
P.S. Even though journalism should be objective, restricting public access to widely available information worldwide hits a sensitive chord with me, personally so I cannot help being critical and find criticism necessary in this case.