Melon Farmers Original Version

Internet Censorship in China 2020s


A new decade of Chinese internet censorship


 

Scratch scratched...

China bans website of coding language for kids


Link Here 8th September 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in China 2020s...A new decade of Chinese internet censorship
According to Greatfire.org, a site that monitors internet censorship in China, internet users in China cannot access Scratch's website anymore.

Scratch programming language was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. There are around 60 million kids who use Scratch's interactive programming features to learn how to make games, animated stories, and more. A total of 5.65% or 3 million Scratch users reside in China.

The censorship seems re lated to a Chinese news report about the projects on Scratch on August 21. It claimed that the platform harbored a great deal of humiliating, fake, and libelous content about China, that included placing Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan in a dropdown list of independent countries.

The report says that any service distributing information in China has to comply with the local regulations. It also suggested that Scratch's website and user forum had been banned in the country.

It is unclear whether the ban is temporary or a permanent one. In any case, if the ban is proven permanent then China will probably whip up a home-baked alternative.

 

 

These protocols must be effective then...

Chinese national firewall blocks https when used with TLS 1.3 and Encrypted SNI.


Link Here 9th August 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in China 2020s...A new decade of Chinese internet censorship
The Chinese government has deployed an update to its national firewall, to block encrypted HTTPS connections that are being set up using the latest internet standards for encryption.

The ban has been in place since the end of July, according to a joint report published this week by three organizations tracking Chinese censorship -- iYouPort , the University of Maryland , and the Great Firewall Report.

In particular China is now blocking HTTPS+TLS1.3+ESNI.

TLS 1.3 is the latest encryption standard that can be used to implement https. Server Name Indication is used to specify which website is required when several websites are hosted using the same I address. By default it is unencrypted letting ISPs and snoopers know which website is being accessed even when using https. ESNI (Encrypted Server Name Indication) closes this loophole.

Other HTTPS traffic is still allowed through the Great Firewall, if it uses older versions of the same protocols -- such as TLS 1.1 or 1.2, or SNI (Server Name Indication). This rather suggests that these old encryption standards are now compromised.

Per the findings of the joint report, the Chinese government is currently dropping all HTTPS traffic where TLS 1.3 and ESNI are used, and temporarily banning the IP addresses involved in the connection, for small intervals of time that can vary between two and three minutes.

Note also that this news about Chinese censorship probably informs us about snooping capabilities in the UK. Presumably GCHQ and UK ISPs would be similarly blinded by HTTPS+TLS1.3+ESNI, whilst still being able to block and snoop on older standards.

 

 

China's watching...

Zoom comes to terms with censoring Chinese users so that it can continue to operate in China


Link Here 12th June 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in China 2020s...A new decade of Chinese internet censorship
Video communications platform Zoom has said it is working on technology that will allow the Chinese government to shut out individual users from meetings if they are talking about something that the Communist party does not like.

The news comes after the US firm was criticised for shutting down a number of meetings organised by dissidents last week to commemorate the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Zoom said in a statement that its mistake was shutting down the meetings entirely, rather than being able to identify which users in attendance were based in mainland China.

It added that it is developing technology over the next several days that will enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography -- meaning Zoom will soon be able to remove users at the request of local authorities. The Zoom statement said:

We were notified by the Chinese government about four large, public June 4th commemoration meetings on Zoom that were being publicised on social media... The Chinese government informed us that this activity is illegal in China and demanded that Zoom terminate the meetings and host accounts.

 

 

Offsite Article: No Porn for Chinese Stuck Under Virus Lockdown...


Link Here7th March 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in China 2020s...A new decade of Chinese internet censorship
Internet controls have proved even more restrictive as Chinese life moves online under quarantine. By Celine Sui

See article from foreignpolicy.com

 

 

Prohibiting negative content...

China reformulates its internet censorship rules along the lines of the UK's general Online Harms approach


Link Here 4th January 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in China 2020s...A new decade of Chinese internet censorship
Chinese authorities have approved a new set of comprehensive regulations that expand the scope of online censorship, emphasize the prohibition of 'negative' content and make platforms more liable for content violations.

China previously had very detailed censorship laws laying out exactly what was banned and what part of the internet the rule applied to. The new Provisions on the Governance of the Online Information Content Ecosystem rationalises them into more general rules that apply to the entire internet.

The new rules were approved in mid-December and will take effect in March. They apply to everyone and have noted that anyone who posts anything to the internet si to be considered a content producer.

Jeremy Daum, senior fellow at the Yale Law School's Paul Tsai China Center notes that the new laws for what counts as illegal or now 'negative content' are quite vague. The document lays out what constitutes illegal content in sweeping terms. Content that undermines ethnic unity or undermines the nation's policy on religions is forbidden, as is anything that disseminates rumors that disrupt economic or social order or generally harms the nation's honor and interests, among other rules.

The new regulations then go on to dictate that content producers must employ measures to prevent and resist the making, reproduction or publication of negative information. This includes the following:
  • the use of exaggerated titles, gossip,
  • improper comments on natural disasters, major accidents, or other disasters,
  • anything with sexual innuendo or that is readily associated with sex, gore or horror,
  • or things that would push minors towards behaviors that are unsafe or violate social mores.

Platforms are the ones responsible for policing all these restrictions, the rules say, and should establish mechanisms for everything from reviewing content and comments to real-time inspections to the handling of online rumors. They are to have designate a manager for such activities and improve related staff.




 

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